Carsphairn Community Woodland’s Apprentice Is Supporting All Aspects Of Forestry Work At Muirdrochwood Forest

The community took ownership of the woodland in March 2021. This change in ownership, enabling the community to reshape the woodland to benefit all, ties into a broader ambition for the woodland to support local jobs and training opportunities. The first training role is underway, with Phoenix Lord part-way through his pre-apprentice position, working on a variety of forestry management tasks around the site.

Phoenix joined Carsphairn Community Woodland in June following a 6-week forestry work experience at the woodland, in conjunction with Tarff Valley and has been working on a whole range of activities through the summer. His contract runs until December 2022.

Phoenix said: “I have enjoyed my experience at Carsphairn Community Woodland. I have learned a lot of valuable skills which is a great advantage for my future as I continue my forestry career.’’

Phoenix is being managed day-to-day by Andy, the Muirdrochwood Forestry Supervisor and Mentor. Andy said: “Phoenix has shown a keen interest in all aspects of forestry activities and also flora and fauna. In the woodland he has been a great help, tackling all tasks put in front of him and he has come on a lot in his time here. I have no doubt he will be a great asset wherever he goes next.”

Carsphairn Community Woodland see the use of the site as a focus for local jobs and skills training as a vital part of the organisation’s work.

David McMillan, Chair of Carsphairn Community Woodland, added: ‘Phoenix has been an asset to our organisation, he’s been willing to learn and has undertaken a wide variety of tasks as required within the woodland. While working with us he has received relevant skills training through a range of courses. This six-month experience will enhance his skill set and help him in seeking future employment.

Phoenix’s Six-Month role is being funded in partnership between Carsphairn Community Woodland and the Galloway Glens Scheme, using their award from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Jan Hogarth, the Galloway Glens Education & Community Engagement Officer, added: “One of the main aims of the Galloway Glens Scheme is to encourage and support the next generation to be able to plan their working lives here in Galloway. We have now supported roles hosted by a variety of partners, working up and down the Ken/Dee Valley.

The efforts of the volunteers at Carsphairn Community Woodland are already yielding real work experience and training opportunities, congratulations to all involved.” For anyone planning a visit to the woodland, the Muirdrochwood Forest car park is on the B729 near the High Bridge of Ken junction (postcode: DG7 3TD), The ‘what three words’ location for the site is remit.breed.chestnuts.

For more information about the wider Muirdrochwood Forest site, follow ‘Carsphairn Community Woodland’ on facebook or website (www.carsphairn/CCWL). If you would like to join CCW as a member (if you live in Carsphairn Community area) or as a supporter (if you live further afield), details are on the website or contact them at: [email protected].

The Galloway Glens Scheme seeks to ‘connect people to their heritage’ while boosting the local economy and supporting sustainable communities. It is an initiative of Dumfries & Galloway Council’s Environment Team, primarily funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and supported by a whole range of partners including Drax, the owners of the Galloway Hydro Scheme, and the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere.

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