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Dreghorn Woods, Scotland

Scotland's First World War Centenary Wood is right on Edinburgh's doorstep.

A home for birds, bats and badgers

Thanks to your ongoing support and the hands-on help of local schoolchildren, community groups and corporate partners, we have now transformed 23 hectares of land in the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh, into a beautiful new broadleaf wood.

Woodland Trust Scotland has worked in partnership with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation – the MOD’s property and services provider – to create the new wood. Over the next few years we will be making sure the trees at Dreghorn get the best start in life.

Almost half of the 24,000 native trees and five acres of wildflowers were planted by volunteers. Thanks to them, walkers can now enjoy a glorious annual display of colour in the lower fields.

Dreghorn Woods also features a tree-lined avenue (named the ‘Weir Todd Walkway’); a formal commemorative seating area which we’ve named ‘Rest & Reflect’ with beautiful views over Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth; the Quintinshill Grove (an area of approximately 1800 trees planted in April 2015 to commemorate the loss of 216 soldiers from Leith who died in the Quintinshill rail disaster); and groves dedicated by WH Smith and MOTO in the Community.

This flourishing wood of rowan, cherry, birch, hazel, oak and Scots pine is in the process of becoming a haven for local wildlife, including insects, goldfinches, pipistrelle bats and badgers. Site Manager, Russ Jobson, caught this footage of a nocturnal guest using the newly installed badger gates in the deer fence in 2016.

Planted areas link up pockets of existing woodland across the Pentland Hills, creating important wildlife corridors.

To protect the newly planted trees from grazing, deer fencing has been erected in the lower fields. It is working well. A few of the first trees planted in Nov 2014 have already stretched to more than three times the height of the schoolchildren who planted them!

The first tree at Dreghorn Woods was planted in 2014 by Margaret Murison, a Woodland Trust member from West Calder. Margaret’s grandfather William Balmer and his brother John enlisted together in 2nd Battalion The Seaforth Highlanders. Both were sadly killed on the same day during the Battle of Ypres in 1917. Margaret returned to Dreghorn in November 2018 to help plant the final tree with Scotland’s First World War Centenary Wood Ambassador Major General Andrew Mackay (see above photo). The final tree is a 'Verdun  oak' descended from an acorn collected on the battlefield. We think it a fitting end to the project.

Beyond the flagship Dreghorn site, Woodland Trust Scotland has worked with landowners and communities to create 50 First World War Centenary Woods across Scotland covering over 1000ha. 

If you are interested in creating your own woodland in Scotland our outreach team can help you. Please contact andrewcampbell@woodlandtrust.org.uk or call 0343 770 5763.

Thank you for your support.

Help us to maintain and preserve homes for UK wildlife

We have raised £1 million towards creating Dreghorn Woods but we still need your help to manage this inspiring project ongoing.

Your donation will help with the creation and future management of Dreghorn Woods, benefiting people and wildlife for years to come.

Want to donate?

Whatever you choose to give, donating online is secure, quick and cost effective, so more money goes directly to creating this special wood.

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Simply download our offline form and pop it in the post to us, free of charge.