The significant progress made at Gifford community woodland has been welcomed by Martin Whitfield MSP, following a meeting with the group’s Chair, Roo Hardy, and Project Manager, Nev Kilkenny.

The community woodland, which is made up of Speedy and Fawn Woods at the end of Station Road in Gifford extends to 22 hectares (55 acres). They were purchased by Gifford Community Land Company (GCLC) in 2017 on behalf of the local community.

Mr Whitfield had visited the woods in the past but was highly impressed by the extensive developments that have occurred since his last visit. These have included the continued maintenance of the all-access pathways through the woods, further effort to clear rhododendrons, improved drainage, including the establishment of a new pond, and a comprehensive programme of events and activities in the woodland.

Substantial work has also been undertaken to enhance the group’s consultation and engagement with local people on the running and development of the woods for the benefit of the local community. Mr Whitfield was joined on the visit by local ward councillor, Shamin Akhtar.

Speaking after the visit, Martin Whitfield MSP said: 

“I was really pleased to visit Gifford Community Woodland again and catch up on the significant progress has been made on the aim of ensuring the sustainability of the woodland as an important asset for future generations.

“The various activities and improvements that have been made over the last few years are very clear when you visit the woods. The work that has been undertaken has contributed to further cementing the woodland’s crucial place in the village and in wider action on sustainability.

“I’m particularly impressed with the way the project has sought to engage with the community, helping to ensure a high level of support and involvement from local people. I commend Roo, Nev and everyone else involved in the woodland on their collective efforts and wish them continued success.”