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Scotland's rewilding champion motivated by woodlands award success

By Tom Ramage

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Wildland Ltd director of conservation Thomas MacDonell and Anders Holch Povlsen were clearly delighted when Killiehuntly Woods was announced as the winner.
Wildland Ltd director of conservation Thomas MacDonell and Anders Holch Povlsen were clearly delighted when Killiehuntly Woods was announced as the winner.

Glenfeshie owner Anders Holch Povlsen made a rare public appearance this past week to celebrate the recognition of Scotland’s most beautiful new native wood.

“We are all pleased about the recognition,” Scotland's richest man told the Strathy, immediately after the Zoomed ceremony staged by Woodland Trust Scotland.

“This motivates us to do more.”

He had appeared on a split screen from his own office to acknowledge the honour, while on the other half of the screen from another office, his director of conservation Thomas MacDonell echoed the delight at seeing the accolade come to Badenoch.

Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards 2021 were forced to the screen by Covid-19 after cancellation altogether in 2020 for the first time in 40 years.

“We have been astonished at both the number and quality of entries,” announced the charity’s executive director Angela Douglas.

“And that has led to some seriously tough competition for our largest ever awards programme, with seven awards categories, 11 competitions and £10,500 of prize money, plus a range of fabulous trophies.”

Awards were given to climate change champions, community woodlands, farm woodlands, quality timber and schools.

“Now to the news you’re waiting for,” said the hostess, as she revealed the winner of the New Native Woodland trophy.

“I am delighted to reveal it’s Anders Holch Povlsen, for the 755 hectares Killiehuntly woodland in the Cairngorms, planted in 2014-15.

“Thomas MacDonell and his Wildland team manage the area, which now forms part of the wider Glenfeshie Estate linking Glenfeshie and Glentromie.

“The judges report that Killiehuntly Estate was purchased in 2011 to deliver a 200-year vision for a landscape-scale habitat restoration including native woodland expansion.

“Working with the wider Cairngorms Connect, Mr Povlsen’s project delivered truly landscape-scale habitat restoration across a vast area.

“The Glenfeshie Estate is now securing the long-term future of the Caledonian Pinewood. It’s now showing the results of hard work, collaboration and absolute determination to succeed.

“It’s a great achievement by the owner, by Thomas MacDonell and his whole Wildland team.”

“It’s absolutely fantastic,” responded the Wildland Ltd conservation director as he raised his hands. “Thank you very much.”

“Yeah and the same for me,” said Mr Povlsen, the largest private landowner in Scotland, but whose heart is firmest set on his cherished Glenfeshie regeneration project.

“We so much appreciate this recognition, and on behalf of everyone of Wildland I am very proud to receive this. It’s great news.”

There was a record entry this year for Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards.

* All the winners and more details on them can be found here

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