Plans for a conifer forest near a small village outside of Jedburgh raises the hackles of some locals

A ‘gateway to the Cheviot Hills’ will be blemished forever if plans for a conifer forest gets the green light, opponents of the proposed project have claimed.

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 1:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 1:01 pm
Proposed tree planting at Whitton Moor. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)
Proposed tree planting at Whitton Moor. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)

Stirling-based Tilhill Forestry is currently in the early stages of consultation with Scottish Forestry over the proposed creation of woodland at Whitton Moor near Hownam, nine miles outside of Jedburgh.

The company say the development would be ecologically and environmentally friendly and would bring economic and employment benefits.

But the plan has raised the hackles of some locals who say the proposed plantation is “unwanted” and would prove a blot on the landscape.

One objector who contacted the Southern, but who did not want to be identified, said: “An outside investor that has bought the land to plant trees on and Tilhill is managing the project.

"This is an unwanted plantation that is possibly going to go-ahead. Everybody that I speak to within the area and outwith the area who visit the area don’t want this parcel of land to be planted on.

"The main objection is that when you go over the hill the area there is called Whitton Moor, it’s like a plateau, a fairly flat area, and you look straight into the Cheviot Hills. I describe it as the ‘gateway to the Cheviot Hills’, with all of the Cheviots in front of you.

"As soon as the trees get planted and grow to any height at all then that will disappear. It will be a blot on the landscape.”

“There are other reasons we object to but that is the main issue at the moment. After a letter regarding the plan was posted on Facebook I think the company was inundated with emails asking them not to do it, but they’re still going ahead.”

Dan Wilson, forest manager with Tilhill Forestry, said the development had long term advantages.

He explained: “The design of the forest is compliant with UK forest standard and would provide variation to the surrounding landscape which is predominantly dedicated to grazing. Creation of riparian areas and designed open ground will improve water quality and habitat for local wildlife.

"Due diligence has been paid to the local environment. Wildlife, vegetation, ecological and archaeological surveys have been carried out and have been factored into the proposed design.

"The proposed forest will complement the local landscape, taking views into account through designed open ground and feature broadleaves.

“It will provide sustainable building materials for the future and a means of carbon capture. The establishment, maintenance and future harvesting of the softwood component will support local jobs and the rural economy. Confor (the Confederation of Forest Industries) published a report in 2014 showing the local employment and economic benefits of productive conifer forests.”