Multi-purpose woodland

Elderslie Estates is located near Houston in Renfrewshire on the West coast of Scotland. The estate is made up of 400 hectares of woodland on 1,600 hectares of land, with three tiers of commercial forestry and woodland.

The estate has recently won the notable Scotland’s Finest Woods Award, and was named joint winner in the Quality Timber Category of the awards, and the John Kennedy Trophy for multi-purpose woodland. The estate’s approach to forestry is innovative and forward-thinking or enterprising.

At Elderslie Estate, the long-term plans of environmentally sustainable woodland include, biomass production and log production, re-introduction of first thinning for improved quality, development of eucalyptus species trials, long-term woodcock conservation, deer and squirrel control, and public access to what was once the country’s largest community woodland.

Mark Crichton Maitland, owner of Elderslie Estates, said: “This award is a terrific tribute to everyone who has been involved in the woods at Houston over the decades, in whatever capacity, but particularly Tim Mack, our forestry manager.”

The development of the woodlands has “pushed boundaries” of forestry as well as silvicultural, regulatory and commercial boundaries, according to Maitland. The experimental planting of eucalyptus has opened the door to more ambitious possibilities for forestry in the future in a diverse woodland enterprise. It is this striking initiative that helped Elderslie Estate win the award. With modernisation happening traditional estates have to adapt to the changing times in order to continue to thrive.

Elderslie Estates has been factored by Chris Addison-Scott of Galbraith for more than 30 years. He said: “The estate is fully committed to progressive land use and it has been gratifying to work with people who take a collaborative and thoughtful approach to land management.”

In the woods there is a continuous programme of felling, thinning and replanting, with young trees in need of protection against weeds, deer and squirrels. Conservation and biodiversity are the twin pillars of forestry management and significant time and effort is put in on conservation work for ground nesting birds as well.