January 2016: Broad Support for McPhillimy Report on Castle Woods

HCWG has today published a summary of the comments received from a number of locally-knowledgeable experts on the independent report it commissioned from Donald McPhillimy B. Ecol. Sci. (Hons. Forestry) M.I.C.For. These can be downloaded here. [92KB PDF]

Among these comments, the Biodiversity Officer for Argyll & Bute Council stated that “Mr. McPhillimy has produced an insightful report with sensible recommendations.” The local Operations Officer for Scottish Natural Heritage supported Mr McPhillimy’s recommendation in favour of community ownership of Castle Woods as “the most beneficial option for the local natural heritage interests”, while the local Woodland Officer for Forestry Commission Scotland concluded that the “report accurately reflects the current condition of the woodlands and that the management proposals contained within the plan, including managing invasive non-native species and enrichment planting of trees, would help contribute to sustainable management of the woodland.”

Sandy Kerr from the Helensburgh Tree Conservation Trust felt that “it would be sensible to see the Community Woodland (at Castle Woods) as part of an ecological corridor including Duchess Wood” while Stewart Campbell from the Friends of Duchess Wood pointed out to ecological and historical similarities between the two woodland areas and emphasised that “Having an accessible and managed Castle Wood could help relieve some of this pressure (at Duchess Wood), and enable both woodlands to develop a better balance between access, education, and habitat protection.”

David Adams, HCWG Convenor commented: “The validity of Donald McPhillimy’s analysis and recommendations has been tested and supported by other experts in the field. We cannot allow the current owners of Castle Woods to preside over another ten years of further deterioration in its condition. We shall be pressing Argyll and Bute Council to help us bring the woods into community ownership as soon as possible.”