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Annual hunt is on for Scotland's finest forests

By Gavin Musgrove

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The annual search to find Scotland’s finest forests and most wonderful woods has begun.

Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards 2020 celebrates the programme’s 35th anniversary and builds on its biggest-ever year in 2019, when Fort Augustus Woodlands won the one-off 1919 Forestry Act Centenary Award.

Angela Douglas, Executive Director of Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards, said: “2019 was a hugely significant year for trees in Scotland, with planting targets surpassed, full devolution of forestry policy and the centenary of the 1919 Act.

“We were delighted to celebrate that by honouring a range of brilliant winners - from a nursery school helping children discover the wonder of trees to Forestry and Land Scotland for their skilled management of Fort Augustus Woodlands over generations.

"The challenge is to find more wonderful winners to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the awards in 2020.”

Lynn and Sandra who impressed the judges last year with their work at their croft by Grantown.
Lynn and Sandra who impressed the judges last year with their work at their croft by Grantown.

The 2019 winners stretched from Michaelswood Public Amenity in Aith, Shetland (winner of the Small Community Woodland Group Award) to Beirhope, near Kelso, in the Scottish Borders - winner of the New Commercial Woodlands Awards.

“The Awards have always had a wide geographical reach, as well as reflecting the huge variety of excellent woods and forests in Scotland and I’m sure that 2020 will be no exception,” Ms Douglas added.

Apart from the one-off Centenary Award, all other prizes are back for 2020, includingtwo Farm Woodland Awards.

The Scottish Woodlands Ltd Trophy for Young People (Farm Woodland Award) was awarded for the first time in 2019 and won by Lynn Cassells and Sandra Baer for Lynbreck Croft, by Grantown.

After they won in 2019, Lynn said: “We tried to achieve full integration of trees and woodsinto the farm business. They are our most valuable asset in terms of shelter for animals and fuel for us, as well as sequestering carbon and biodiversity.”

Local MSP Fergus Ewing MSP, who is Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, has presented the awards for the last three years.
He said: "We are in a golden era for forestry and woods in Scotland and Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards celebrate the huge variety of excellence across the country.

"The winners represent those exceptional individuals and groups who create fantastic spaces to allow us all to enjoy our forests and woods.”

Entries must be submitted by 31st March 2020. For the full list of awards, criteria and entry forms, go to www.sfwa.co.uk

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