Gifford Community Woodland comprises Speedy and Fawn Woods at the end of Station Road in Gifford, East Lothian. They were purchased in 2017 on behalf of the whole community, and we welcome feedback or input - you can contact us at any time on gifford.woodseh41@gmail.com

PARKING - Please note there is NO PARKING AT THE WOODS or nearby. We ask all of our visitors to park in Gifford village centre, which is just a short walk away.
Please do not park anywhere on the track, or nearby roads. These are busy with residents' parking/access and must be kept clear.

BECOME A FRIEND OF GIFFORD WOODS - click here to download a form.

Thursday, 16 September 2021

We need your help to keep our Community Woodland healthy!

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 abilities. 

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! 


Details of upcoming events here: 

  • Saturday 18th September. 9am – 1pm
    • Family Volunteering Day – replacing tree guards and weeding
  • Saturday 9th October, 9am – 1pm
    • Wood fuel and Rhododendron clearance
  • Sunday 31st October, 10am – 4pm
    • Rhododendron clearance with the Lothian Conservation Volunteers (lunch provided)
  • 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 


Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Report from our AGM: Celebrating a fantastic year in the woods

What a great evening! Thanks so much to everyone who joined us for the Gifford Community Woodland AGM last night. It was so lovely to celebrate the success of the past year with you all - not least raising £75k from Heritage Lottery Fund to manage the woodland and engage the community over the next three years. 

This year has been a particularly impressive year thanks to all the epic work of the volunteers involved in Gifford Community Woodland. Thank you to everyone involved!


The AGM began with an upbeat summary of the year’s progress from Chair, Roo Hardy. You can see Roo’s full AGM report here


Key achievements include: 

  • 18 volunteer days

  • Over 400 new trees planted

  • Safety work continues

  • Improved drainage to accessible paths

  • Many individual volunteer efforts

  • Outdoor learning for the school, guides and cubs

  • 144 community members engaged in woods activities (aged 4-80)


We loved hearing your thoughts and ideas! 

Everyone who came along to the AGM was invited to share what they liked and disliked about the woods. Here’s a summary: 


Likes

Dislikes

Good, drained paths x 10

Nettles

Benches - a welcome place to rest 

Litter

Having the small, offshoot paths as well as the main paths

Improvement 


Randomness

Piles of Rhododendrons / Rhododendrons x 5

Community involvement/Being so involved and inclusive of the village and it’s groups (cubs/school/projects) / There is a real energy here tonight including children/Meeting people in the woods - community x 5

Lack of suitable area for educational activities


Good mix of varied woodland types/trees x 2

Pollution of Speedy Burn / slurry pollution x 2


Local facility for outdoor education is definitely a plus / All the projects that have been done e.g. night wildlife and moth count x 2

Icy paths


Learning about what’s in the woods from Nev and other volunteers / Working days in the woods / Volunteer activities / Volunteers x 3

Bad parking / lack of parking for non residents (can be inconvenient for residents) x 3


I am impressed by the amount of work going on

Horses 


Have been part of my life for 40 years and loved the old woods and love the new woods if they stay as they are now

Bikes (will they damage paths, speed vs pedestrians) x 2


Lasting benefits - eats up Carbon Dioxide


No information about species of trees, plants, insects, animals for visitors to access

The magic of Fawn Wood


Ash dieback


No litter

Paths getting a bit overgrown


Changing colours x 2

Drainage still a problem in places


A wonderful, clearly mapped experience


A place to walk the dog


I like that it’s there / love moving here to find a community woodland in the village x 2


Film nights


Peace / Tranquility x 5


Co-operation / The Community Feel x 3


Nev bringing his knowledge and positivity


Donating/planting saplings / New trees growing x 2


The glorious trees / Nature / Beautiful countryside / Wildness / Wildlife / Beautiful area to walk in x 8


An asset for the whole community and beyond


Walking in the snow last winter


A place to run


Safe environment for dogs


Being run with knowledge and sympathy for the wildlife/Development has been sympathetic to the wildlife


Greenery


Access for all very good/ All abilities and all ages can use the woods / Easy walks for all x 5


Signage 


That it is next door to where I live


Wildlife



Things you’d like to see happen in the woods: 

We then asked everyone to suggest ideas for projects or actions that they would like to see happen in the woods. It was wonderful to hear such enthusiastic discussion and incredibly helpful to see what projects community members would like to see happen in the woods. 

Here’s what you said: 


ACTIONS:

  • Fruit tree idea / More coppice and fruit trees x 2
  • More events
  • Educational chats/walks teaching us about the plants, wildlife and why it’s important to plant native trees etc. Each talk could focus on one topic e.g. trees (what are they/why are they here etc.), bracken (like Nev’s fungi forays but different topics too)
  • More film nights
  • Info on plants
  • Leave nettles, thyme great for butterflies
  • Structure for learning and events
  • I’d like to learn about lichens Shared lunches in the woodland using foraged plants and other shared activities to extend relationships in the local area
  • More outdoor craft activities for adults and children - can also earn money for the woods e.g. willow weaving, birch bark craft, bow and arrow workshop for children
  • Wild cookery classes
  • Explain benefits of piles of rhododendrons
  • Occasional nature club for pre/early school age - separate from schools


Going forward … 

Our intention in the coming year is to consider the actions raised at the AGM. We’ll be updating the website soon and making a renewed effort to blog regularly about all the amazing activities taking place in the woods, and help inform the community about the management practices to keep the wood sustainable. Do sign up to get the newsletter at: http://bit.ly/GWoodsMail 


Community Led Initiatives - have your say!

At the AGM, we heard from Cindy Sykes, one of a group of community members who have developed a proposal to plant several fruit trees in a clearing in the woods. Cindy spoke passionately about the benefits of growing our own food, educational events around the fruit trees and the potential for community events such as apple harvesting days. The fruit trees would be planted in such a way as to conserve the ‘wild’ feeling of the woods and would be managed by volunteers. 


The proposal is being carefully considered by the Trustees to ensure that it fits with the aims of our woods, and has support from the community, and a decision will be made soon. 


If you’d like to suggest a proposal for a community project or an activity in the woods please do get in touch. The starting point is a simple form and conservation with volunteers already involved in looking after the woodland. Contact us at gifford.woodseh41@gmail.com 


Share your thoughts - come to our next meeting

Gifford Community Woodland is YOUR woodland. Going forward, we’d love to encourage more people living in Gifford and the surrounding areas to enjoy the woods and to take part in our volunteer activities and education events. 


Ways to get involved: 

  • Get in touch with us by email or social media

  • Come to an Open Woodland Meeting - next meeting is on 29th November 2021

  • Join a volunteer day

  • Sign up to our e-newsletter

  • Apply to be a Trustee


Thanks to Buck and Birch 

Some of you will know that local wild food and drinks innovators, Buck and Birch, have been working in partnership with the woods. They are just about to launch their Birch Vodka with sap tapped from Gifford Woodland birch trees. In return for their use of the woods, they treated everyone at the AGM to a fantastic feast of delicious canapes made from locally sourced plants. 


Check out Buck and Birch’s website here: https://www.buckandbirch.com/ 


Huge thanks again to all the many volunteers working both in the woods and behind the scenes to support our woodland. We look forward to another year of celebrating the tranquility and beauty of Gifford Community Woods with you all! 

Saturday, 28 August 2021

AGM REMINDER - 7pm, Monday 30th August

 Join us in the woods at 7pm on Monday 30th August. 

Find out more about

🌿 How to get involved

🌳 What we have done lately

🌿 Future plans

🌳 An idea from the local community to plant fruit trees.

It’s our AGM but it will be very informal and short! It‘s mainly a chance to meet friends, old and new, and to enjoy some delicious refreshments from our friends Buck and Birch.

We are meeting in the open area close to our Welfare Camp, on the left-hand side as you head up from Station Road. We’ve got a marquee canopy and some lights to set up so we’ll be good to go whatever the weather!

We look forward to seeing lots of you then!

Minutes of the 2020 AGM can be found by clicking here.

The Chair's Report for 2021 can be found by click here, or on the image below.



Thursday, 5 August 2021

Summer Newsletter

We have just published our Summer Newsletter, which includes lots of useful updates about our funding, new recruits, tree safety works and more!

To take a look, simply CLICK HERE to view the PDF.

Please also note, that the newsletter includes details about our forthcoming AGM which everyone is invited to.  It will be on:

Monday August 30th at 19:00, meeting at the Outdoor Cinema area of the Woods.

Again, CLICK HERE to read the Newsletter and find out more.

Sunday, 11 July 2021

Insects photographed in Gifford Woods

 In June 2021 we were lucky to have Dorothy Lyle stay near Gifford Woods, and she took many amazing photos of insects she found in the wood.

Here is what Dorothy said in her message, below are just some of her pictures but you can CLICK HERE to view all her fantastic photos.

"I spent 10 days in Gifford recently house and hen sitting for my brother Joe Clark. I spent many happy hours exploring the community wood which is a wonderful resourse and took quite a few photos of insects - my passion - while I was there. I have sent records in to iRecord but I thought you might be interested to see some of the photos I took. I also moth trapped with Katty Baird one night and she will no doubt have let you have any new moth records."

https://photos.app.goo.gl/XnWPbb9o8C21XxCX9



Sunday, 20 June 2021

Join our next Management Meeting

Our next Gifford Woods Management Meeting will be taking place on Monday 21st June at 7.30pm.  As with all our meetings just now this will be held virtually via Zoom, and anyone from the local community is welcome to join us to give their input into how the Woodland is managed day-to-day.

Zoom meeting details can be found below, or if you would prefer to raise a matter for the Committee members to discuss in your absence, please email: gifford.woodseh41@gmail.com.

Thank you, and we hope to see some new faces on Monday evening!

Join Zoom Meeting:


Meeting ID: 856 7931 0756
Passcode: 921131

[If you've not used Zoom before, instructions can be found by clicking here.]

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Gifford Woods launches recruitment for two part-time roles, having secured National Lottery & other financial support

We are today launching the recruitment campaign for two roles, a Project Manager and an Administrator.  Job descriptions, including details on how to apply for each role, can be found on the links below.  Please note the application deadlines vary for each.

Further information about our new funding can be found here:

Gifford Community Woodland, the guardian organisation of Speedy and Fawn Woods on the outskirts of Gifford, East Lothian, has recently received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of just over £75,000. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project focuses on supporting the health and wellbeing of the local community whilst caring for, learning from and sharing Gifford Woods.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund support means the project team will be able to further engage local people with the Woods through new initiatives to protect their beauty and role as part of Gifford’s natural heritage. This grant covers 58% of the overall project costs. It has been supported by other recent successful fundraising activities, including a grant of £25,000 from the Fallago Rig Environment Fund. Donations from local people have been critical too, primarily through the recently launched Friends of Gifford Woods' scheme. So far, over 70 local people have committed to support the woods through regular giving.

The new funding will enable the recruitment of two part-time roles, a Project Manager and an Administrator, meaning the Woods will provide new employment opportunities for local people. Applications are now open for both positions; anyone interested in applying can find further details and full job descriptions above.

Other activities that the funding will support include volunteer days and training; school and nursery educational sessions; youth and adult events to share information about natural heritage plus social and engagement activities for people of all ages, run in conjunction with other community groups.  In addition, the grant will assist with ongoing woodland management to protect and preserve this ancient place, and with initiatives to aid understanding of the wildlife that calls Gifford Woods home – such as a repeat of the mammal survey which became a viral hit back in November when trail camera videos shared online were viewed thousands of times.

Commenting on the award, Chair of Gifford Woods Roo Hardy said: We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players and are excited that not only can we continue to look after the woods for future generations, but that we can also engage local people of all ages in the Woods. Our Gifford Woods play a major role in our natural heritage, but they also aid the physical and mental health of our local community.”

Read the full Press Release by clicking here