£34k BFT funding is tree-mendous

Corehead near Moffat
Corehead near Moffat

Environmental charity Borders Forest Trust (BFT) has won government support for events to be staged over the next three years.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) awarded £34,668 to BFT for its work at Corehead Farm, near Moffat, land on which the famous Devil’s Beef Tub lies.

The money will be used for educational opportunities, volunteering and training activities, including the Natural Connections project, featuring environmental education activities for schools and colleges.

BFT’s Woodland Habitats project manager, Nicola Hunt, said: “This is a great time to get involved with our project at Corehead. Those taking part in our Natural Connections events will be among the first to discover the site after the completion of its planting, and will play a key role in recording the positive impact on biodiversity that the trees and other new habitats will no doubt have.”

SNH’s Barry Dunne said: “We are delighted to be supporting this ambitious project. It’s a great example of how habitats across a landscape can be restored and, in doing so, provide a wide range of benefits for local people. The education, volunteering and recreation opportunities being offered by this project are fantastic and I would encourage anyone who is in the area to contact BFT to get involved or simply go down to Corehead and see it for themselves.”

The Rural Skills Group from Moffat Academy will learn drystane dyking, tree and hedge planting, and tree surveying at Corehead, new skills which contribute towards SVQ qualifications.

A BFT spokesperson said: “Other environmental education activities and guided visits are available to schools to enable young people to learn about the wildlife of the Moffat Hills and how the work at Corehead will help to improve biodiversity through habitat creation and management, whilst retaining the traditional land use of hill farming.”

Some of the money will also go to BFT’s conservation volunteer programme of mroe than 16 sessions per year, including practical conservation work such as tree planting, as well as surveying and monitoring of wildlife at Corehead.

A charity spokesperson said: “The trust is looking for volunteers to participate in the project, including wildlife watchers and photographers. The volunteers will help to determine the populations of wetland and forest birds, butterflies and small mammals, as well as monitor the development of heather moorland, wildflower meadows and newly planted trees.”

Meanwhile, BFT plans to join the River Annan Trust (RAT), a new body aimed at developing and maintaining local river ecosystems from source to sea.

And one of RAT’s projects is developing a wooded strip along the banks of the River Annan from Spout Craig, its source on Corehead, to Moffat.

A BFT spokesperson said: “We will be supporting RAT and working with them with such initiatives. This is an exciting development in the area and will increase the biodiversity of the current landscape.”

The next Tree TLC volunteering session is on December 7 from 10am to 4pm. Transport from Moffat will be provided.

For more information on BFT and opportunities to get involved, visit www.bordersforesttrust.org or contact Corehead manager Phil Roe at phil@bordersforesttrust.org or on 07713566295.