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A SELKIRKSHIRE wood has won the top prize in the national Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards.

Annelshope Forest in the Ettrick Valley also won the James Johns Trophy for New Commercial Woods at the Royal Highland Show last Friday.

The judges said of the 400ha (990 acres) commercial woodland: “Implemented with particular sensitivity and attention to detail and reflecting the outcomes of consultation, this well chosen site is likely to be both productive (producing high yield classes) and visually attractive.”

They said the overall quality of both the project and the forestry staff effort in meeting challenges for the plantation, which is next to a public road, made it the winning entry overall and earned it the James Jones Trophy.

Peter Wilson, director of the charity that organises the awards, Scotland’s Finest Woods, said: “These awards seek to identify and reward the very best woodland projects that are managed to the highest standards for the benefit of their long-term sustainability and for the benefits they deliver for our biodiversity, our communities, our people and our economy.

“Through the course of the judges’ visits to each of the projects vying for this year’s awards, it has become increasingly evident that there is a very high level of commitment and dedication to all aspects of forestry in Scotland.

“The efforts of individuals, businesses and communities across the country illustrate why we have a woodland heritage that is the envy of many, and a forestry industry that is robust and thriving.

“This year’s awards were particularly hard to judge because the standard and quality of entries has been higher than ever.”

Dr Jean Balfour, CBE, FICFor and FRSE, presented the winner’s trophy to Annelshope’s John Hartz.

Peter Kershow was highly commended for the Westwater woods near Langholm in the multi-purpose woodlands category.

The Tim Stead Trophy for Community Woodlands, named after the late Borders sculptor and founder of Scotland’s first community woodland, went to woodlands in West Lothian.