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

News blog

News, stories and reports from Forestry Commission Scotland and the National Forest Estate. You can follow this feed with RSS or Atom, or on Twitter. We also publish press releases.

Vote for us - Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning

Four of our projects have been shortlisted for a Scottish Award for Quality in Planning.

Kirroughtree Visitor Centre, The Lodge, Glentress Masterplan and Nevis Forest Masterplan all made the shortlist for a 'People's Choice' Award which also forms part of the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning.  The award is part of the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. The awards are supported by the Scottish Government and the Festival of Architecture. This gives everyone a chance to get involved and express their ideas for whatever they consider to have been of great innovation, architecture and design in Scottish planning over the last 6 years.  The winner will be the project with the most votes.  You can vote for your favourite project. Here’s a bit more about each project.



Painting a picture of the past

Scotland’s forests are home to a range of historic sites from ancient hillforts and medieval tower-houses to abandoned townships and coastal tank traps. We have been developing our knowledge of archaeological sites, historic structures and cultural landscapes so that we can know how best to protect, conserve and present them. Part of our work also involves helping young people learn about these sites as part of the curriculum.

torr dhuin aerial shot


Helping to kick start a new generation of farmers

We have successfully piloted 7 opportunities on the National Forest Estate for new entrants to farming.

The pilot scheme was designed  to provide “first rung” opportunities – essentially blocks of land only with no houses or farm building to help kick start a new generation of farmers.



Wilderness experience for the Central Belt population

A new trail has been officially opened in the Kilpatrick Hills as part of a project is to increase the number of visitors enjoying the beauty and wilderness of the Kilpatrick Hills.

The 8km route joins the National Forest Estate to the popular John Muir Way which stretches 134 miles between Helensburgh and Dunbar. The John Muir Way is an easy and enjoyable way for the 3 million people who live in the Central Belt to enjoy the outdoors every day by foot, bicycle, and even by horseback in some places. 


Why don’t you tidy that mess up?

If you have ever visited a woodland not long after harvesting machinery has been on site, you’ve probably wondered about the mess that is left behind and why we don’t clean it up. Choosing to leave the 'mess' is actually a deliberate decision as it benefits the forest ecosystem and biodiversity.

Harvesting aftermath


Volunteer Community Champions launches second year of programme

Volunteer Community Champions has launched its second year of the 10 month programme. The woodland programme is designed to train up to 12 community volunteer champions to engage with community groups in Central Scotland, helping to break down barriers to access in local woodlands.

volunteer community champion event


The man in the cab – the life of a harvester

Few jobs are more dangerous than forestry – but it’s more than trees and saws that put workers on edge. 

allan dickie 1 small

“If this was a rifle range, would you come down here?”

The children’s Easter club are here to see machines. They’ve come to watch forestry in action. Allan works the harvester while his son Ross steers the forwarder. Our recreation forester Katie hopes the demo will help the kids 'get' it.

They pass round a sheet of bullet proof glass. Embedded in it is a piece of metal – the jetsam of a forestry harvester mechanical fault shot at lethal velocity. A bullet in disguise.


Woodland mental health programme celebrates helping nearly 1,800 people

Our innovative Branching Out programme recently celebrated a milestone with 200 groups (nearly 1,800 people) having completed the programme since 2007.

branching out          


A day in the life of a Recreation Ranger

Ruari Watt is a Recreation Ranger for Lochaber Forest District. Ruari is passionate about the outdoors and loves to help others get the best experience out of a forest visit. Here he tells us about his work to restore pinewoods, training volunteers in conservation work and mountain tourism, and the best place to visit in the area.

Ruari Grant