Wooplaw whoops it up at 25th birthday bash

HUNDREDS celebrated the 25th anniversary of Scotland’s first community woodland at Wooplaw near Stow at the weekend.

Stargazers were disappointed not to see the blue moon on Friday night, but Dark Sky Scotland experts were undaunted, instead showing a film and giving a talk about the galaxy and passing round meteorites for people to see.

The woodland’s Bob Fleet said: “Several hundreds of people came, including the Community Woodland Association (CWA). The highlight was probably the number of people who came and enjoyed it: we’re about two words – ‘Community’ and ‘Woodland’ and it needs them both. There were tents everywhere, from wee domes to teepees – and the weather was good!”

The CWA is so impressed by the wood that it presented the group with a special award at the weekend.

Mr Fleet continued: “We’ve got a wonderful three-sided stone bench at Axehead pond, built by the Dry Stone Walling Association as a lasting legacy, and the WoopLore app is now up and running.”

Stow company LocusFocus designed the Wooplaw app for smartphones, which tells people how the 55-acre woodland came about, along with interviews of some of the wood’s pioneers.

Mr Fleet also said: “The family who originally sold the woods to us 25 years ago came to the talks at the CWA conference on the Saturday morning at St Boswells and to the woods in the afternoon too.”

Also, visitors saw bats and moths with experts on Friday night and learned about bushcraft, eco-diversity, working woodlands, wood-related arts and much more, as well as enjoying camp fires and story-telling in the evenings.