Exciting updates from the Estate!
Written by: Dr. Peter Bevis
Published: 16th March 2017
“Advice from a tree- stand tall and proud, sink your roots into the earth, be content with your natural beauty, go out on a limb, drink plenty of water, and enjoy the view!”
The first exciting update from the estate is the progress of the poly tunnel- an area behind the cabin and container has now been cleared! The current structure of the poly tunnel is erected on this patch and, once the weather improves, the cover sheet will be fitted. We can then start to germinate our local seeds so they ready for planting.
The seedling process began with our volunteers collecting seeds on the estate from hazel, rowan, holly and oak trees over the autumn period. If we grow trees from our own seeds, it means that the trees are protected against any foreign diseases that may be present from out-sourced plants. Once the seeds were stratified (allowing them to germinate), they were then potted and are now ready to go into the poly tunnel. In total, there are around 500 seedlings, along with a batch of later-stage germinated seeds.
Future plans for our potted trees sees them being planted by landowners, possibly on their plot of this is suitable, or on any other area on either nature reserves. On the Glencoe Estate, an area that currently provides a home for the young trees is the lochan banks.
Trees are the focus for the poly tunnel, but we do see expansion in the form of wildflowers further down the line. Visitors to the reserve will be pleased to know they will able to have a look around the tree nursery, and really see the hard work our volunteers have put into this.
We hope to keep the poly tunnel for many years and continue this fantastic project.
Only 2% of the Caledonian forest remains on our Scottish Woodlands. Of this figure, around 40% of the trees are non-native Sitka Spruce (which we are eager to remove and replace with native trees). Our second project involves the help of the two residents currently on the reserve- the two Ronnie’s! A new designated area on the estate is our pigs’ home for the time being. Ronnie and Ronnie will continue to happily trot along, digging and fertilizing the land as they go so it will be ready for tree planting at the end of the year.
The deer-fenced area will keep the saplings protected- deer’s favorite snack is Scot’s pine, and as they are prominent on the reserve, we will need to keep them away for the time being.
As our regular Facebook followers will know we have a planned, yearly maintenance program to help control Rhododendrons on the Reserve. They are non-native plants which we consider invasive, are poisonous, and pretty useless (in terms of providing food for wildlife. Rhododendrons are also prone to phytophthora ramorum – a fungal disease that doesn’t kill the host plant but can be passed on to trees with fatal results, and a few infected plants have been found along the roadside at the edge of the Reserve at Duror. Because of this, we are currently working with the Forestry Commission to remove these plants and safeguard our trees. Our current maintenance program and preferred method is to cut the plant and burn it; the other option would be to use chemicals, however this puts wildlife and our bees at risk, so the chemical option is not viable for us.
As a corporate member of the Bat Conservation Trust, we are due to conduct a survey on our quiet little friends. Our volunteers will use a ‘bat detector’ to record the frequencies heard over the course of a week, and thus discover the different species that inhabit the estate. Previous recordings have shown four species on the reserve already!
Due to the rising number of visitors, we have installed another lavatory on the Glencoe Wood estate next to the original facilities. We would like you to experience the best visit possible and, by adding this extra item, we are sure it will be most pleasant.
On our other estate, Bumble Bee Haven car park is fully complete with the tarmac in place. The final piece of the puzzle lies in the planning permission we require to allow access onto the road and thus the car park will be fully functional. Watch this space! (Pun not intended).
We welcome you to visit the reserves and see the ongoing projects that are taking place. Find the visitor’s information here.
What project are you most fond of? Is there anything else you would like to see? Please let us know in the comment section!