News, stories and reports from Forestry Commission Scotland and the National Forest Estate

Breathing new life into Callendar Wood

Scottish Lowlands Forest District are working hard at Callendar Wood, Falkirk, to restore the original character of the woodland and introduce more native broadleaves into the forest. 

callander wood thinning operations

Foresters have a carefully thought out plan for Callendar Woods to restore the busy woodland with native broadleaf species alongside the conifers found there.  In time, the work will improve the views within the woodland, produce better timber, enhance the heritage features found there and improve the overall visitor experience.

James Hand

James Hand, the Forester in charge of the operation at Scottish Lowlands Forest District explains: “Our current thinning work is being carried out by skilled contractors in a very sensitive way and is part of a long-term plan to breathe new life into the forest.

“Over many decades, the plan is to reduce the proportion of conifers and restore this fantastic woodland to its former glory, full of native broadleaves. We have brought a feature back to life too - the ‘Observatory’, a view point on a man-made mound dating to the late 1700s.

“The thinning has removed trees that were blocking the view and there is now an amazing view to the Ochils – you can now see why they put the Observatory there.

“Everything was planned to minimise mess, which given the recent weather has been challenging! We’re taking a variety of approaches to thinning the woodland, based on detailed prescriptions for each part of the woodland.  We are also tidying up windblow throughout the site, thinning conifers and sycamore. The sycamore will eventually be removed from the woodland over time."

“The site is very popular with people so we want to raise awareness that we are improving the woodland, not clear-felling it. We are holding an open day on Saturday 20 February to give local people to chance to find out more about the tree thinning operations, talk to the foresters and witness the specialist machinery in action. Booking for the open day is essential. Please call 0300 067 6700 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information and the meeting point.

callander wood thinning operations 3

The thinning work will be complete by the end of February 2016 and produce will go to local sawmills, including chip wood, pallet wood, fencing materials, logs for construction planks and firewood.