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Friends News

New facilities coming soon...

Cabin 001
Watch this space for some new developments in the Park

Help save Loch Arkaig woodland

WoodlandTrust logoloch arkaig sun tree

The Woodland Trust has launched a campain to purchase the Loch Arkaig Pine Forest.

The Loch Arkaig Pine Forest combines two areas of native Caledonian pine, oak and birch woodland. The 1,200 acre western wood, Coille a Ghuibhais ('the pine forest') and the 1,300 acre eastern wood, An t-Seann Fhrith ('the old deer forest') together comprise one of the largest remaining fragments of ancient Caledonian pinewood in Scotland.

Sadly, the forest has been left degraded, a result of the clear-felling of ancient woodland in the 18th century, the planting of non-native conifers in the 1960s and grazing by sheep and deer. The land also bears the scars of training exercises by the very first commando units during the Second World War.

Visit the Woodland Trust website for more information and see how you can help.

Celebrating Scotland's Walking Champions.

Our regular Monday Health Walks have now finished their fifth season but will return after the winter break.

This year the Plean Health Walk was nominated for a Paths for All award as the Health Walk Group of the Year and our line manager Tricia Cumming of the Stirling Walking Network was nominated as Volunteer Manager of the Year.

Tricia receiving her award

As a satisfying end to our walks for this year we were invited to a reception at the Scottish Parliament "Celebrating Scotland's Walking Champions" on the 4th November.

Although Plean didn't ultimately win the group award we were delighted to be with Tricia to celebrate as she received her award as Volunteer Manager of the Year.

Walking reduces the risk of many diseases including cancer, heart disease and diabetes so we would encourge everyone to go for even a short walk as often as possible.

During the winter months in the park some of the paths can become dangerous as the weather takes it's toll. Great care must be taken on any muddy or icy surfaces particularly if you are out walking on your own.

Keep safe and enjoy the park!

CSV Rhoddie Bash January 2014

Volunteers clearing rhododendronsOn Saturday 11th January the Friends together with the Rangers and other willing volunteers convened in the spruce wood for a spot of rhoddie bashing.

This event replaced the pre-Christmas event which was cancelled because of bad weather.

Luckily the weather was good, the rain stayed off and as a result a considerable area of invasive rhododrons was cleared from under the standing trees.

 Woodland cleared of rhododendrons

The cut material was destroyed by burning, and the resultant bonfire came in very useful for heating the post Christmas mince pies at lunchtime. These were in addition to the very welcome homemade soup and hot rolls kindly funded by CSV.

The picture on the left shows the results of our labours. The wood is now opened up and light can now reach the forest floor encouraging native regeneration.

Hedge Laying

Finished hedge reduced optFollowing on from our successful dry stone dyking course, we were recently able to provide a free training course for hedge laying, again with grant funding from CSGN (Central Scotland Green Network).

Fifteen people were able to learn new skills from champion hedge layer Guy Robbins and together we tackled 65 metres of hedge which is planted along the bottom of the event field.

Laying a hedge encourages the shrubs to regenerate and promote growth to make it bushier which is exactly what our straggly,gappy hedge needed. Hedge laying is a traditional way of managing hedgerows and helps to provide a thicker barrier and a great place for wildlife.

There are many different styles used in various parts of the UK and the one which has been used in Plean Country Park is the Midland style. The stems are cut most of the way through so that they can be bent over. These laid stems are called pleachers and new growth will come from the base of them where the base has been cut.In the Midland style the hedge is strengthened with upright stakes and tied together along the top with binders woven in and out to support the structure.

Click on the gallery below for pictures from the day :

To learn more about the art of hedgelaying check out the NHLS website.