Wooden Anniversary Event

Thank you to everyone for helping us celebrate our 5th anniversary!

It was amazing to see people enjoying time in the woods in so many different ways. Thank you to our event partners (the Rev Anikó Schütz​ Bradwell, Forest School Leader Liz Doig, Artist Georgina Bown, Buck & Birch and Richard our ELC bus driver) and to all our fantastic volunteers. Paul produced top-quality artists’ charcoal for the art workshops and our Forest School volunteers led a great range of activities.

The documents referred to at the AGM are now all available on our ‘Documents page (click here), and what an amazing feast Buck & Birch provided!

We’ll be looking at the ideas added to the ‘wishing tree’ and we look forward to sharing these with you at the next Open Woods Meeting on Monday 28th November.

To see just what you missed out on, click here to see some photos on our Facebook page, or read below for more…

Join us on Sunday 28th August 2022 for an afternoon in the woods to celebrate!

In 2016, the local community were offered the chance to secure and develop 55 acres of Plantation on an Ancient Woodland Site (PAWS) and Native Woodland, for their benefit. The woods were previously privately owned.  On April 12th 2017, the community purchase of Speedy and Fawn Woods was completed by Gifford Community Land Company (or GCLC, which was formed in 2006).  The area is now known as Gifford Community Woodland.

We secured funding from the Scottish Land Fund to purchase the woods. Importantly, many local people donated towards matching funds for the purchase and initial project costs.  Months of hard work by a dedicated group of local volunteers, a feasibility study and engagement and fundraising within the community made the public purchase possible.  Now the woods are in communal ownership and are being managed as a resource for all living, or visiting, locally to appreciate and help to sustain.  

As 5th anniversaries are traditionally associated with wood, we’re inviting you, our community, to a ‘woodland celebration’ on Sunday 28th August, 3.30pm – 6.30pm.  At the last Open Woods Meeting, we talked about how much has been achieved over the past 5 years and an idea emerged to celebrate 5 years with activities based around 5 of our biggest successes.  Following the activities, we will come together for our AGM and then people can enjoy some food prepared by our friends at Buck & Birch. The themes that you suggested to us are all closely linked, which perfectly represents the way woodland brings together the many different parts of our community.  Keep reading to find out just what we have planned…

Map for the day:

What’s on?

  1. From Rhododendron to Charcoal: We’ve worked incredibly hard to remove the rhododendron from the woods, improving accessibility and biodiversity. With the help of our volunteers, we created a charcoal kiln to give us a sustainable method of turning cleared rhododendron into BBQ charcoal.  This led to the production of artists’ charcoal using small willow sticks.  Our volunteer Paul is going to manage a charcoal burn on the day, so you can see what’s involved in the process.  There will also be Charcoal Drawing Workshops for children and adults with award winning artist Georgina Bown, as well as a display of charcoal art in the marquee. 
  2. Forest Schools: This year has seen the successful launch of our Forest School programme.  Working with Forest School Leader, Liz Doig, we have invited children from Yester Primary School to come to the woods to enjoy outdoor activities that build confidence, curiosity, resilience, independence and a connection to the natural world.  Liz has agreed to lead some forest school activities at our community event.  
  3. Improving accessibility for the benefit of the community: The core path network around the woods has opened up access for people to enjoy the woods in so many different ways.  We are delighted that the Rev Anikó Schütz Bradwell is inviting people to join her for a Forest Church activity in Fawn Wood. The woodland service will involve a walk so Anikó recommends good footwear, and weather appropriate clothing.  Please contact Aniko directly if you would like to help with the Forest Church activities.
  4. Volunteering: We have an amazing team of volunteers who help us in so many ways. As well as woodland maintenance, volunteers have helped to run Christmas and Easter decoration events, Forest School sessions, the teas for the Gifford Flower Show, and a stall at the recent Church Fete.  In addition to our wonderful local volunteers, we also get help from the Lothian Conservation Volunteers (LCV) who have dedicated many hours to clearing rhododendron and digging drainage ditches.  LCV will be on site in the afternoon, so people can either find out a bit about what’s involved or they can bring some gloves and join in!
  5. Woodland Biodiversity and Produce: Over the past few months, we have welcomed a number of experts to our woodland to help us learn about the local plant and animal life.  To help us all to understand the incredible Biodiversity of the woodlands, Buck & Birch will be leading two foraging walks through Speedy Wood.  They will also be serving some foraged food for everyone to enjoy after the AGM. [Documents are available online for our AGM, please click here to see a list and then click to download / read.]

Timings for the day?

(Scroll left/right for more info.)

ActivityTime LocationExtra information
Charcoal Kiln  Kiln to be opened at 4pmSpeedy WoodPaul will have a display board explaining the process.
Charcoal Drawing Workshops for Children with Georgina BownSession 1: 3.30pm
Session 2: 4.30pm
Marquee Sessions for 8 children at a time.  15-minutes of instruction, followed by free drawing time.  Paper, rubber and charcoal supplied.
Charcoal Drawing Workshops for Adults with Georgina Bown4pmCollect materials from marquee. 
Drawing outside.
Paper, rubber, charcoal and drawing board supplied.  Bring your own board if you wish.
Charcoal Art Display3.30pm to 5.30pmMarqueeA display of art by members of Gifford Art Group
Forest School Activities3.30pm to 5.30pmWelfare CampA range of activities will be available.  Numbers will be limited for each activity.
Forest Church4.30pm to 5.30pmFawn Wood. Meet at the entrance to Fawn Wood, beside Station Yard.A woodland service to be led by the Rev. Anikó Schütz​ Bradwell
Foraging Walks with Buck and BirchWalk 1: 3.30pm 
Walk 2: 4.30pm
Speedy Wood.
Meet at the Noticeboard. 
The walks will last 30 minutes each.
Volunteering with Lothian Conservation Volunteers3.30pm to 4pmSpeedy Wood (see map for detail)Feel free to observe the work they do, or bring some gloves and join in.
AGM5.30 to 6pmMarqueeThere will also be a stand all afternoon, where you can chat to some of the team. Click here to see related documents.
Food and Drink6 to 6.30pmBeside the marqueeBuck and Birch will be providing free food after the event. Drinks will be available by donation.

Shuttle Bus for people with mobility issues

To make it easy for people to get to the woods, we are providing a shuttle bus service from the village hall to the entrance to the woods (additional pick up locations within the village may be possible).The bus will be suitable for wheelchair users and people using walking aids. 

To book a space on the bus, either email: gifford.woodseh41@gmail.com or phone our administration number on 07523 749 362. Please book before Sunday 21st August so we can
finalise route and bus size.

Not yet become a Friend of Gifford Woods?  You can join today!

If you share our passion for this amazing resource, will you consider helping us by signing up to become a regular donor as a ‘Friend of Gifford Woods’?

We appreciate finances are tight for many people, so we have a range of flexible donation options to suit all budgets.

And finally, an update on the Fruit Trees Project:

There is agreement from the Trustees that this group can proceed with planting 9 fruit trees in total: 5 apple, 2 plum and 2 pear. Now for the fun part: we need to choose what varieties to plant! We have come up with the shortlist below. Who knew the choice would be so big?! We would love to know people’s opinions. There will be an opportunity to vote at the AGM. Anyone wishing to get involved or comment on the varieties (& won’t be at the AGM) can email cindy.sykes@me.com.

We were successful in our application for a pack of trees called ‘Wild Harvest’ as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative. Planting will be in November or December for both the fruit trees and the hedgerow trees.

Several people have shown interest in the project so far and we are eager to have input from more people, both for comments, expertise and doing the actual work – again email Cindy for more!

  • APPLES: James Grieves; Fiesta; Katy; Ellison’s Orange; Discovery; Scotch Dumpling; Worcester Pearman; Lord Derby; Egremonte Russet; Hawthornden; Lady of Wemyss; Dirleton Red Maiden; East Lothian Pippin; Bloody Ploughman; Melrose; Stobo Castle; Beauty of Moray; Thorpe Pippin.
  • PEARS: Fair Maid of Perth; Maggie.
  • PLUMS: Opal; Victoria; Marjorie’s Seedling; Victoria; Czar; Cambridge Gage; Damson Medlar.