Welcome to our new Administrator

We are delighted to welcome Jill Hyslop to the woodlands team as our new Administrator.

Jill lives next to the woods and loves spending time there. She has lots of admin experience from her previous career in publishing and she is currently Secretary of Gifford Community Council. She’s the perfect person to take over the role from Onie and we’re excited to see what she’ll bring to the role.

We’d like to also give a big thank you to Onie who will be stepping down as Administrator at the end of March. Onie has been an excellent support to the Gifford Community Woodland team these past few months as we developed our Community Engagement Plan for 2022-24 and established efficient working systems behind-the-scenes. Due to the unexpected outcomes of the past two years of lockdowns, Onie is having to leave to focus on her other business commitments. We wish her all the best and look forward to welcoming her in the future as a volunteer when her other work commitments ease.

Onie will be supporting Jill over the next week, as she gets settled in. It’s a busy first week! You can see details of everything that’s happening on our Events page.

So, please give a virtual welcome to Jill. She’s looking forward to meet you at one of our upcoming events and welcoming you to our beautiful community woodland.

Update from the Open Woodland Meeting

Thanks to everyone who joined us on Monday for the quarterly Open Woodland Meeting. It was great to see you all and hear your thoughts on the upcoming plans. Thank you also to the staff at the Bowling Club for hosting the relaxed setting.

We had an efficient, productive and upbeat meeting. Roo gave an update on the outcomes of the previous Trustees meeting and actions from the previous meeting including an update on the creation of the new wildlife pond in the wood. Nev updated everyone on the woods activities such as rhododendron clearance progress, removal of windblown trees and drainage works.

We updated everyone on the exciting links being made with Yester Primary school and Forest Schools. As well as providing updates on all community engagement activities. And we asked everyone to give feedback on which adult learning events they would like us to prioritise when planning for the next quarters.

Some attendees also expressed an interest in helping to host volunteer activities in the woods, support with fundraising events, assist the communcations team in the delivery of the newsletter and promotional work, support Forest School and youth group activities, help out with the community-led fruit trees project, as well as training to become a Gifford Community Woodland Volunteer Leader.

We’d love to hear from the wider members of Gifford community too!

If you have an interest in helping to care for Gifford Community Woodland, please take part in this short survey by 31st March. Thank you!

Take the survey

Browse the documents relating to the February Open Woodland Meeting here:

Minutes of February 2022 Open Woodland Meeting

See Woods Report here

See Community Engagement Summary here

As ever, do get in touch if you’d like to get involved. Thank you!

Come to the next Open Woodland Meeting on 28th February 2022, 7.30-9pm

What would you like to see happen in the woods? Are you keen to get involved in caring for the woods?

Come along to the next Open Woodland Meeting on 28th February from 730-9pm at the Gifford Bowling Club.

This is an informal, friendly meeting where you can hear all about what’s been happening in the woods and have your say about upcoming activities. There’s no pressure on anyone to speak and it’s a lovely way to meet other Gifford residents.

There will be an update on what’s been happening in the woods during the past quarter and plans for the next quarter. Everyone attending will be given the opportunity to suggest and provide feedback on the events and activities we hope to undertake during 2022.

There’s also the option to join the meeting online using the Zoom link below:


Please let us know you are coming by emailing gifford.woodseh41@gmail.com

We hope to see you there!

See Agenda here

See Woods Report here

See Community Engagement Summary here

Spring Volunteering opportunities – join us!

We’d love to welcome you to our upcoming Volunteering opportunities. Keep an eye on our Events Page for details.

Volunteering in the woods

Join Nev for fun, practical sessions helping to care for our woods. No experience is necessary. All ages and abilities are welcome. If you’d like to find out more, or join us for any of the sessions, please contact us.

DateTimeActivityLeaderMeeting point
Sunday 23rd January10am – 3.30pm Lunch/Soup providedRhododendron Clearance with LCVNev KilkennyWelfare Camp at thetop of Station Road
Sunday 6th February1030am – 3.30pm
Lunch/soup provided 
Rhododendron Clearance with LCVGordon SteeleWelfare Camp at the top of Station Road
Sunday 27th February10am – 3.30pm Lunch/soup providedRhododendron Clearance with LCVNev KilkennyWelfare Camp at the top of Station Road
Saturday 12th March9am – 1pm Ditch clearingNev KilkennyWelfare Camp at thetop of Station Road
Saturday 26th March9am – 1pmWood FuelNev KilkennyWelfare Camp at the top of Station Road
Saturday 9th April9am – 1pmWood FuelNev KilkennyWelfare Camp at the top of Station Road

Woods related volunteering activities

We’re hoping to plan more activities for volunteers that help encourage Gifford residents of all ages and abilities to get involved in caring for and enjoying the woodland. This might be through talks and events in the Village Hall, film nights or picnics in the woods.

Shout out to Gifford youths!

Do you have ideas of events you’d like to see happen in the woods? We’d love to encourage more young people to get involved. And importantly, we’d love to hear what you would like us to organise, whether it’s film nights, BBQs, wood skills etc.

Join Nev and Roo at the Lanterne Rouge Cafe on Saturday 29th January at 11am-1230pm to share your ideas.

Easter decorations event on Saturday 2nd April, 10am to 12noon

Following the great success of our Festive decorations event, we are holding an Easter event! Join us in the Village Hall for a morning of creative fun. We’ll be transforming rhododendron off-cuts and other woods resources into beautiful Easter decorations. Help us design the decorations and sell them to fellow residents to raise money for the woods. 

Find out more and have your say – save the date for the Open Woodland Meeting on 28th February

Our Open Woodland Meetings are friendly and informal. You are welcome to come along to listen, have a drink with fellow volunteers and find out more about the plans for the community woodland. At the February meeting, we are really keen for Gifford residents to join us so that you can let us know what events and activities you’d like to see happen in the woods before we start planning seasonal activities for 2022.

Plans are to hold this meeting in the village on Tuesday 28th February at 730-9pm with the option for folk to join online via Zoom. Details will be confirmed nearer the time. All welcome!

If you are interested in joining any of these activities, please contact us. Thanks so much and see you soon!

Should we restore coppicing in our woods?

As part of a recent safety inspection after storms Arwen and Barra, Nev and Paul made an interesting discovery in the community woodland. In an area of around half an acre on the western edge of the woods, next to the road to Broadwoodside, there are a number of hazel coppice stumps (‘stools’) beneath several old well-established oaks.

These stools appear to be very old and are an example of a form of woodland management called ‘coppice with standards’ common throughout Europe for hundreds of years. The large trees can be grown for over 200 years and would have provided high quality timber for house building, ships etc. Whilst the coppice would have been cut on anything from a 4 to 20 year cycle to provide material for such things as wattle and daub, fencing, and charcoal.

This form of management may have existed elsewhere in the wood but this corner is a remarkable example and its position so close to Broadwoodside suggest it may have provided material for the gardens there in times past.

Coppicing has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, not only because of its simplicity and the low cost renewable material it provides, but because the regular cutting floods the woodland floor with light leading to a huge resurgence of flowers and insects.

We have the opportunity to return this corner of the woodland to the traditional model of woodland management; oak standards and hazel coppices. This would mean removing any recent self-sown beech, sycamore and brambles. We would then cut back the hazel stools which would then regenerate new sun shoots each spring. These cuttings could then be used by the community.

What are your views on seeing this interesting little corner of the community woodland being restored for coppicing?

We would love to hear from anyone with stories or information about this part of our woods. Please do contact us. Thank you!

Join us on Monday evening for the Open Woodland Meeting

Find out what’s going on in your Community Woodland, let us know what you’d like to see happen, and discover more about our upcoming volunteering opportunities – both in the woods and behind-the-scenes.

The Open Woodland Meeting will take place on Monday 29th November at 7:30pm. Join us in person at Gifford Bowling Club, or you are welcome to take part online. All Gifford residents are welcome!

Take a look at the documents we’ll be discussing on the night beforehand, simply click on each to take a look: 

We look forward to welcoming you to this relaxed, friendly meeting.

Please email us at gifford.woodseh41@gmail.com if you plan to come in person so we can keep a safe eye on numbers. Thank you.

Volunteer with us this Autumn

We’ve a great programme of Volunteering Activities coming up this Autumn to help protect the woods from damage from squirrels, deer and rabbits and to continue to clear invasive rhododendrons. 

Join Project Manager, Nev Kilkenny, for a rewarding day in the woods – no experience is necessary and all events are suitable for all ages and abilities. 

Join our Autumn Volunteer Days:

  • Saturday 9th October, 9am – 1pm
    • Wood fuel and Rhododendron clearance
  • Sunday 31st October, 10am – 4pm
    • Rhododendron clearance with the Lothian Conservation Volunteers
  • Saturday 13th November, 9am – 4pm
    • Wood fuel and Rhododendron clearance
  • Sunday 21st November, 10am – 4pm
    • Rhododendron clearance with the Lothian Conservation Volunteers 
  • Saturday 4th December, 10am – 4pm
    • Rhododendron clearance with the Lothian Conservation Volunteers 

This is a great way to meet others in the community and learn new skills, whilst enjoying time in our beautiful woods.

If you’d like to get involved, please get in touch at gifford.woodseh41@gmail.com so we can send you more information. We hope to see you soon!