Forestry collaboration will see Scott’s vision branching out

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RESPECTED tree enthusiasts are to help Abbotsford trustees develop woodlands believed to have been planted by Sir Walter Scott.

The Royal Scottish Forestry Society (RSFS) visited Scott’s home last Thursday when members planted a Jubilee Tree to mark their patron, the Queen’s 60 years as monarch, and the beginning of the relationship between the RSFS and The Abbotsford Trust.

The trust’s chief executive Jason Dyer said; “We’re extremely grateful the RSFS has offered to help us develop the woodland landscape surrounding Abbotsford. We know this is something that Scott was passionate about and it’s wonderful that this long-established and highly respected organisation has decided to let us draw on their collective wisdom.”

Scott was keen on forestry and the trust owns about 15 hectares of woodland thought to have been established by the novelist.

The RSFS will work with the trust’s new woodland manager Robert Gray to develop a forest plan combining modern forestry management techniques with Scott’s vision for his forestry.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “As well as drawing on the collective knowledge of 43 of its leading members who visited on Thursday, the RSFS will also consult archive material in the Abbotsford collections, the Corson Collection at the University of Edinburgh and Scott’s original designs, which are housed in the Signet Library.”

The organisations chose a Scots Pine as the Jubilee Tree because Scott had written about the species within his works and because the Scots Pine is included in the RSFS logo.

A further link sees the RSFS taking its motto from Scott’s Heart of Midlothian, one of his Waverley novels: “Jock, when ye hae naething else to do, ye may be ay sticking in a tree; it will be growing, Jock, when ye’re sleeping”.

RSFS’s Lothian and Borders region chairman James Hepburne Scott said; “We’re delighted to be working on what is truly a unique project.

“Scott planted many trees in his lifetime, and we hope to draw on a combination of archived plans and our own experience to develop woodlands that are financially self-sustaining and that can be appreciated and enjoyed by visitors for generations to come.”

Abbotsford is undergoing a multi-million pound regeneration with a new visitor centre set to open later in the summer and the main house, currently being refurbished, re-opening in 2013.