Consultation plan for Peebles forest

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FORESTRY chiefs are to consult local groups over the future of land between Peebles and Cardrona.

Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) announced this week that it had bought 120 hectares of woodland and open ground at Castle Hill near Peebles.

The commission’s recreation manager for the Borders, Hugh McKay said: “We are really pleased. The new area will create the last piece in a jigsaw to join up land stretching [alongside the main road] from Glentress right down the valley to Cardrona village.

“Our plan is to manage this new landscape as an exemplar forest for the 21st century with a wide range of tree species and habitats.”

The ground, bought for £732,000, backs on to the new Glentress Peel development and includes a prehistoric fort on the summit of Castle Hill. It links the 16th century tower houses of Cardrona, Nether Horsburgh (where the commission bought land last year) and Shieldgreen.

Aspokesman said the latest purchase was part of FCS’s “re-positioning programme” where surplus acreage is sold to fund buying new land that brings “greater environmental, social and economic benefits”.

He added: “Cardrona and Nether Horsburgh towers have recently been the subject of detailed laser scan surveys, providing a record of the historic buildings and informing future conservation management.”

Over the next few months FCS will consult local stakeholders to ensure the maximum environmental, economic, environmental and social benefits are obtained, said the spokesman.