150 pupils from Borders primary schools planted almost 700 native trees at Buckholm Farm on Friday, 5th October marking the first stage in the creation of Halkburn Diamond Wood on Torwoodlee Estate near Galashiels in the Scottish Borders.
Halkburn is one of 60 Diamond Woods being created across the UK as part of the Woodland Trust’s Jubilee Woods project; twenty Diamond Woods are being created in Scotland, of which two are in the Borders.The project aims to plant six million trees to celebrate the Queen’s reign and involve millions of people.
The Halkburn tree planters came from Stow and Clovenfords Primaries, from Glendinning Terrace and Balmoral Primaries in Galashiels and from St Mary’s School in Melrose. They were escorted by their teachers and volunteers from Borders Forest Trust and the Council’s Ranger Service as well as Jill Donnachie from Woodland Trust Scotland
James Pringle, the owner of the estate and instigator of the project, said “I was amazed and delighted by the enthusiasm shown by the head teachers when I suggested the schools join in with our exciting project and today I was quite overwhelmed by the sheer delight on the faces of the kids as they told me how many trees they had each planted. They were all a joy to have planting here and they got suitably muddy and I hope learned something about working in the countryside as well. I need to say a big thank you to the teachers and children involved for their input and a huge thank you to Anna Craigen from BFT for all her efforts from the very start. I see this as giving something back – both something to nature and something to today’s youngsters.”
The school groups walked from the farm steading around the shoulder of William Law through a remnant of the Ancient Ettrick Forest and into the 60 acre site which will form the Diamond Wood. After a quick snack they were given a planting demonstration by Anna and then they set to work with lots of energy planting nearly 700 trees between them all. There was also a bug hunt, a tarpaulin challenge and some of the children built a memorial cairn with a time capsule which can be added to on subsequent visits by other groups.
Over the next two years, about 25,000 trees will be planted in this area transforming the landscape and providing new habitats for native species of all sorts as well as enhancing the existing ecosystems.
For more information, contact:
Torwoodlee & Buckholm Estates Co Ltd