Apart, but together
Size: 51.4ha Conservation Rating: SAC, 3 SSSIs – Newton St Boswells Woods; Lynnwood – Whitlaw Wood and Slitrig; Cragbank and Wolfhopelee. NNR - Cragbank Wood
Many kilometres separate the three Borders Woods in the Core Forest Project. One is beside Newton St Boswells, another (Lynnwood-Whitlaw Wood) close to Hawick and a third (Cragbank and Wolfhopelee) neat the hamlet of Bonchester Bridge. They are linked by their similar tree composition.
What’s special about them?
Together, this trio includes some of the best ‘Tilio-Acerion’ ash-elm ravine woodland in the whole of the UK. In keeping with this woodland type, the floors of the Borders Woods are lush with plants, including hart’s-tongue fern. The attractive flora includes wood avens and Herb-Robert (both widespread in Scotland) and greater burnet and wood stitchwort (both more scarce in the Borders Region)
What was up?
- Lack of formal management plans constraining planning of long-term conservation measures
- Spread of exotic sycamore displacing native trees and shading-out ground flora.
- Butterbur dominant in streamside and valley floor vegetation, limiting regeneration of native streamside trees, such as alder
- Five different owners at Newton St Boswells, so collaboration and liaison necessary to develop shared vision and objectives for site management.
- Limited public awareness of the conservation value of the woods
What’s been done?
- Many community meetings to develop and co-ordinate shared vision and plans
- Sycamore removed from 3 ha
- Exotic shrubs removed from 1ha
- Interpretive panel installed to explain value of SAC
- Public open day
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