Several donations of trees and shrubs have transformed an area of the Buchan Meadows formerly used for cattle grazing.
The South Park across the road from the current site entrance has seen more than 2,000 trees and shrubs planted in recent weeks by the Community Payback Team supervised by Dave Cox from Aberdeenshire Council.
The planting of the area is just one of the projects that Community Payback have been involved in at the woodland over the winter.
Other major projects have been upgrading the existing site entrance and build an outdoor classroom. Materials for these projects were donated by landscape services at Aden Country Park which supplied logs for the classroom and John Burnett of the Buchan Timber Company who donated wood for the sides of the classroom and bark for the flooring.
Peterhead Academy also provided some of the wood for the classroom.
The teams have also built picnic benches, raised beds built from old tyres and undertaken fence repairs and grass cutting.
Andy Devine, the Community Woodlands Officer, said: “The support from the Community Payback team, volunteers, youth and community groups who have also undertaken projects at the site have been essential in making the improvements to the site that visitors are now enjoying.
“Regular visitors to events at the site have praised the work carried out by the Community Payback teams.”
He continued: “Team members undertaking community service have enjoyed working at the site as they get a chance to see a project from beginning to end. The positive impact of working at Buchan Meadows has seen them visiting the site with family and volunteering at the woodland once their community payback is finished.”
Trees and shrubs have been donated by several organisations and individuals who are supporting the community woodland project. This has led to the creation of a hedge along the south boundary of the site, broad leaf and native conifer plantations, mixed woodlands, a small heath area, native fruit tree orchard and a Pictish birth tree arboretum.
The North East Local Biodiversity Action Plan Partnership (NELBAP) who promote action to conserve important species and habitats for our benefit and for future generations and has provided £1,500 of funding to purchase trees, shrubs and wildflowers as part of the Year of Natural Scotland 2013.
The mixed woodlands will increase the biodiversity on the site and the arboretum will provide an educational resource for tree identification and provide interpretation on cultural heritage and folklore once the trees are established.
The trees for the orchard were donated by Coffee Conscience who distributes Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance beverages.
Billy Miller, managing director with Coffee Conscience, who formerly worked for a charity in the Isle of Bute, said: “The company supports community projects as a means to offset the carbon footprint of the production and transportation of our products. It is important to look after developing communities in the third world and at the same time, to see the good work conducted by community groups, which is why we have donated the fruit trees to Buchan Meadows.”
On a more personal note, 1,000 of the trees planted this Spring were donated by a local resident Ken Batten in memory of his late wife Jane.
Mr Batten said: “We had previously planted in Yorkshire and Callander in memory of our two sons. Janie and I decided to go the same route for ourselves and after research found what we were looking for at Buchan Meadows. In the years ahead, when the area is fully grown, Janie and I would like it to be a small token of the happy years we spent together in the Peterhead area.”
Andy Devine said: “The donations of trees from the Mr Batten, NELBAP, Coffee Conscience and other from Mr Keith of Dens Farm, the Jubilee Pack from the Woodland Trust and the Forestry Commission have seen the most successful planting season at Buchan Meadows yet.
“The plants and the support of our funders and community partners are helping to raise the profile of Buchan Meadows further afield.”
Plans for this year are in development with the Highland cattle being moved to another area of the site to act as organic lawn mowers and crop the area and break up the ground ready for planting in a couple of years.
Other projects include the construction of ponds at the site to provide habitats for reptiles and amphibians, the planting of wildflower areas and the construction of a car park allowing visitors to enjoy this community resource and provide further opportunities for partnership working and volunteering.
If anyone would like to arrange a visit to the woodland or is interested in volunteering at the site contact Andy Devine at the Trading Post on Peterhead’s Broad Street.