Branching Out! Dumfries & Galloway Woodlands secures major grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Branching Out! Dumfries & Galloway Woodlands secures major grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Dumfries & Galloway Woodlands is a new initiative seeking to deliver tangible responses to the climate and biodiversity crises in the region. Launched in 2023, Dumfries & Galloway Woodlands is already leading a number of projects, supporting trees, habitats and the people that depend upon them.


The National Lottery Heritage Fund has this month confirmed a grant of almost £200,000 to support the work underway.


The new organisation is supporting native tree planting schemes across the region from small through to larger scale schemes. Work to date has also included community engagement work with visits to School and the Prison, and a range of events.


The award of £194,190, will allow the recruitment of additional staff to build on the groundwork done so far, maximising how much Dumfries & Galloway as region gets out of the increasing focus on topics such as ‘natural capital’ and responding to the biodiversity and climate crises.


Plans are to recruit 2 new staff, provide advice and guidance on native tree planting, support intern opportunities, increase public engagement and develop innovative community/private sector partnerships that deliver public amenity or biodiversity benefits across the region.


McNabb Laurie, Dumfries & Galloway Woodlands Manager, said:

“This is going to turbo boost the work being done, we are so grateful to everyone at The National Lottery Heritage Fund for their vote of confidence, and to National Lottery players across the country.
We are focussed on native trees, but this is so much more than even that. Dumfries & Galloway, often seen as a peripheral or distant place, is front and centre of this international green revolution. Dumfries & Galloway’s land delivers benefits on the national stage, but the challenges are felt here. From spiking land price through to changing land use, we want to creatively and innovatively use topics such as native trees to deliver tangible projects that add value locally, driving a nature-led economy in the region.
Visit our website, sign up as a member and join us on an exciting journey! And watch this space as we will be recruiting shortly…”


Caroline Clark, The National Lottery Heritage Fund Director for Scotland, said:

“Building on existing local knowledge, experience, and success from Galloway Glens this project puts community engagement and involvement at the centre of taking action on the climate and biodiversity.
“The programme is wide-ranging through school workshops and tree planting events to developing land acquisition proposals and partnerships with the public and private sector. The project offers an exciting prospect of bringing together a lot of ambition in Dumfries and Galloway with a new focus on working together for the environment and the community.”

This grant builds on work already underway, itself supported by the Woodland Trust, Dumfries & Galloway Council’s Environment Team and Borders Forest Trust.


For more information about Dumfries & Galloway Woodlands, follow the facebook or twitter pages, visit the website www.dgwoodlands.org or sign up for the newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/iAlL6k.


Dumfries & Galloway Woodlands is registered in Scotland as a SCIO, number 052525.



Local agricultural machinery dealer Lloyd Ltd is proud to have won two Dealer of the Year Awards at New Holland’s recent dealer conference at their factory in Basildon.

Celebrating the achievements of its dealer network, the conference saw Lloyd Ltd be awarded both the Tractor and Hay & Forage Dealer of the Year prizes which are given to those dealers which have performed exceptionally well throughout the previous year.  2023 was a successful year for the company, selling over 300 tractors from its branches across the north of England and south of Scotland, as well as record numbers of New Holland’s hay and forage range.  Delivering impressive levels of market share for the UK-based manufacturer, Lloyd Ltd continues to achieve outstanding results, following on from its status as overall New Holland Dealer of the Year in 2022.

Lloyd Ltd Managing Director George Lloyd commented, “These awards are a reflection of the hard work and dedication everyone from across the company puts in to support our customers and to represent New Holland to the highest standards.  It is great to have our efforts acknowledged by a manufacturer who is such a significant part of our business.  I would like to thank the Lloyd Ltd team for their role in helping us achieve this recognition and our customers for their continued support.”

The Incorporated Trades Celebrate Burns

The Incorporated Trades Celebrate Burns

The Incorporated Trades of Kirkcudbright held their annual Burns Supper on Saturday night at Arden House.

Chairman, Deacon Convener Ian D. Swan welcomed a full house at the hotel. The company were treated to an evening of top-quality toasts and recitations from top Burnsians from the region.

Evie Whan, the Kirkcudbright Burns Club winner of the primary school Burns competition , addressed the haggis at her first ever Burns Supper. Sandu Henry delivered a well-researched, humourous and informative Immortal Memory.

The Lasses were toasted by Rab Walker with the reply coming from Susan Muir. The toast to the Incoprorated Trades was proposed by Derrick McRitchie , Deacon Convener of Irvine Incorporated Trades. Colin Gibson recited from the Bard’s work .

Piper for the evening was Ian Weymss and musical accompanist Ian McIntyre.

WWT Caerlaverock announces new events programme; Words for Wetlands

WWT Caerlaverock will be launching our Words for Wetlands programme this World Book Day, 7th March 2024. Celebrating our wonderful wetlands, connecting people with nature and telling the stories of our amazing work, all through the power of words.

We’ll use words in all sorts of ways to engage and inspire our visitors. Beginning with a book swap on launch day, and a nature writing workshop on 9th March.
Join us on a walk of the reserve to gather inspiration and take part in writing exercises before producing a short piece of nature writing capturing the essence of the wetland.

There will also be a wetland word of the week, to showcase a variety of vocabulary with connections to the natural world and wetlands, we will have a Scottish twist to this, featuring elements of Gaelic & Scots.

Anna Barlow, Visitor Experience Officer says “We hope our Words for Wetlands programme will inspire our visitors to have deeper experiences with nature through creative expression.”

For more information, please see our website, which will be updated with upcoming events throughout the year.



Castle Douglas Soap Box Derby will run for its third year on Sunday 14th July 2024. The Search is on for new teams to take part this year!

The first race is at 1pm but get there early to grab your prime viewing spot for the action.

The Soap Box Derby is a fun-filled gravity racing event that takes place on King Street in Castle Douglas. The event sees teams racing down the track against the clock and through the obstacles in their homemade Soap Box carts, fuelled by nothing other than gravity, courage and creativity.

The buzz in Castle Douglas on Derby Day is immense and sees the street lined with thousands of spectators. So far, the event has attracted a crowd of approximately 6000 people, and it is hoped that the event will continue to grow in the coming years. The event is free for spectators and makes for the perfect family day out.

On the day there are various food vendors and stalls with local producers and crafters selling their amazing products. There is also entertainment for the kids and fairground rides. This event helps bring the community together and brings people to the area, helping to boost the local economy and support our local businesses. But most importantly this event is all about fun.

The event is run by a group of volunteers and relies solely on donations, fundraising and sponsorship to run. The support from the local community and businesses has been outstanding and the event would not be possible without their support. There are various sponsorship and advertising packages available to suit all budgets. If you would like to donate or arrange an advertising package, please visit the online store at https://castle-douglas-soap-box-derby.sumupstore.com/products or contact the team direct on their Facebook page or at the email address below. The packages can be tailored to suit and it’s the perfect opportunity to advertise your business to thousands.

Are you up to the challenge to race at Castle Douglas Soap Box Derby on Sunday 14th July 2024? Get your team together and get creative with your racing machine! Don’t delay, register today!

For more information on how to register for the race, volunteer, or for information on advertising or sponsorship please email [email protected]. Any teams from a charity or raising money for a charity get free race entry.

Do you have what it takes to be this year’s champion??

Wheatley Group helps tenants save £122K on energy bills

Scotland’s biggest social landlord has helped tenants save more than £122,000 on their energy bills over the last six months.


Wheatley Group’s fuel advisor service offers tenants free expert advice on reducing their energy usage and how to heat their home.


In the last six months, more than 1500 customers of Wheatley Homes South, Wheatley Homes Glasgow, Wheatley Homes East, Loretto Housing and Lowther Homes have been supported to save £122,689 on their gas and electricity bills.


Over 170 Wheatley Homes South customers were supported to save £34,058, while 186 customers from Wheatley Homes East saved £19,710.


The largest saving was made by Wheatley Homes Glasgow customers, who were helped to save more than £67,900 on their fuel bills. A total of £1017 was also saved by 70 customers of Loretto Housing and four Lowther customers.


Wheatley Homes South tenant, Joanne Kirkham, 42, was so grateful of the help she got from her fuel advisor, Graeme.


Joanne, who lives just outside Dumfries, was struggling with her energy company for more than a year with issues over monthly payments.


“I wanted to move onto a pre-payment meter and the energy company kept saying this wasn’t possible and the bills were mounting up,” said Joanne, who is a full-time carer for her daughter.
“When Graeme took it on for me, it took the strain off me. It has been such a worry as the energy company kept calling me and threatening to cut me off. I’d encourage other Wheatley tenants to get in touch with their fuel advisor if they’re struggling – it made such a difference.”


The fuel advice service is run by Wheatley Foundation, part of Wheatley Group.


Advisors can offer advice on bills, reducing energy consumption and managing any fuel debt.


Advisors can also speak to fuel providers on behalf of the tenants and arrange low-cost payment arrangements to clear debt.


Laura Pluck, Wheatley Group Director of Communities, said: “We’re doing all we can to support our tenants in these difficult times. The last six months, including these colder, winter months, bring more challenges for our customers.
“The service is available to all of our tenants to use and can make a big difference, particularly during the winter months. If you are struggling, we are here to help.”

Tenants of Wheatley Group who want to book an appointment with a fuel advisor should call Wheatley’s Customer First Centre.


POLICE Officers are appealing for information following a recent spate of housebreakings across the region.

The first incidents were in the Brooms Road, Loganbanbarns and Kingholm Quay areas of Dumfries during the early evening of Thursday, 22 February, 2024.  The suspects are described as four men, one wearing a light grey tracksuit and one wearing a dark tracksuit.
The other incidents were in Preston Gardens, Turnberry Avenue and Windermere Avenue areas of Annan during the early evening of Friday, 23 February, 2024.  The suspects are described as three men all wearing dark clothing.
Overnight on Sunday, two further housebreakings were reported, this time, in Stranraer. Between 1030pm and midnight, last night 25/02/2024, properties on Rosefield Avenue and Glenorchard were broken into and various items were stolen including a red coloured Malaguti 50cc scrambler motorbike.
Detective Inspector Kelly Douglas, from Dumfries and Galloway Division CID said:
“I am appealing to anyone who saw anything suspicious at the time of these break ins to get in touch.  From our enquiries, we believe all these incidents may be linked and I am appealing particularly if you saw a black Audi in these areas.  If you have dash-cam footage from these areas or showing this kind of vehicle, then please call us.”
Anyone who can assist officers is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101, quoting incident number 3113 of Thursday, 22 February, 2024, or make a call anonymously to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Galloway Forest Park pond made dragonfly-friendly

Galloway Forest Park pond made dragonfly-friendly

Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) has worked with a local contractor to give a pond in Galloway Forest Park a dragonfly-friendly makeover. 

FLS had identified the pond as an area of importance for dragonflies and earmarked it for improvement under its land management plan for the area.

Unfortunately, someone illegally added fish to the pond around 2013 and work couldn’t proceed until it was confirmed the fish had completely gone from the pond.

A survey in 2023 confirmed there were no fish left, and FLS assessed the pond’s suitability for dragonflies.

The pond is an old quarry working between productive forestry and some Scots Pine and broadleaf trees.

Kim Kirkbride, environment forester at FLS, said: “We appointed Connicks Ltd, a local contractor with an ecological management background, to help restore the pond, which is about 1500 metres square.
“The pond had suffered from the illegal introduction of fish, which made it unsuitable for dragonflies. The fish would eat all the larvae.
“Over the years, trees and vegetation had naturally encroached on the pond.
“There was a lot of willow scrub around the pond, which created too much shade. We need more sunlight on the pond so the water will be warmer, making it more suitable for dragonfly breeding.
“We’ve also removed the majority of vegetation that was in the pond.
“Vegetation is useful in a pond because dragonflies and other species use it to lay their eggs. But this pond had too much, which can cause negative effects, so in some sections it’s been scythed back.”

FLS formed a conservation partnership with the British Dragonfly Society in 2023 to protect and boost the population of some of the rarest dragonflies in the British Isles.

Kim said:

“The Galloway Forest Park pond was once known for supporting various species of dragonflies, namely darters, hawkers and damselflies.
“So while we’re focused on rebuilding the pond for more common species, it could be we also welcome some of the rarer dragonflies.
“We’re reviewing our forests to work out where we can feasibly enhance or add ponds to support these creatures.
“Where the land management plan identifies where conifer is to be removed and replaced with broadleaf, we may have the option to add wet hollows which fill with water and vegetation.
“Those will eventually attract insects that support other species such as dragonflies and black grouse.
“We want to support the return of dragonflies as they’re a sign of a complex and balanced ecosystem. And they’re also very lovely to watch on a sunny day.”


Queens Ladies Sitting in 4th Place after Victory Against Dundee

Image Credit George Trudt

Queen of the South Ladies entertained Dundee West Ladies at NWCC on Sunday is an entertaining SWFL National league 1 fixture. 

With Dundee West sitting at the foot of the table, Queens might have taken their eye off the ball, but any complacency vanished as soon as the  game kicked off, with Dundee playing some good passing football and threatening the Queens goal on occasion.  Queens keeper Eve Jackson was forced to pull off a number of good saves to keep the scoresheet blank.  At the other end, the ball wouldn’t fall kindly for the Queens strikers and the Dundee keeper was confident in her handling.  The deadlock was eventually broken after 42 minutes when midfielder Anna Newbould broke down the right and sent over an inch perfect cross on to the head of Holly ovens, standing near the penalty sport.  Ovens headed the ball up in the air towards the left hand corner and with the Dundee keeper scrabbling to get back in time, the ball dropped beyond the keeper and into the net.

Half time 1-0 to Queens.


The second half saw Queens apply more pressure to the Dundee defence and Queens doubled their lead after 60 minutes when Freya Brown, playing at right back, launched a free kick from the right hand side into the six yard box.  A Dundee defender attempted to head clear but instead sent the ball up in the air and could only look on in horror as the Dundee keeper was unable to prevent the ball from crossing the line.  Queens were playing some flowing football by this time with Anna Newbould and Charlotte Bryden the playmakers in midfield.  It was Bryden who got Queens’ third goal with a superb strike from outside the area in the 66th minute, and 5 minutes later debutant Eve Crombie got her first goal for Queens Ladies when she anticipated the flight of a corner from the left to fire home from close range.

Full time 4-0 to Queens, who now sit in 4th place in the table with 4 games to go until the league splits into two groups of 5 for the final 4 fixtures.  Dundee West Ladies can hold their heads high because despite the final score, they were a well organised team who battled hard to the final whistle.


Queens invited their Dundee guests back for hospitality provided by Greens Sports Bar, one of the club’s sponsors, and by all accounts the Dundee West Ladies enjoyed it so much that they took a carryout away with them for the bus home.


Queens have a free weekend this Sunday.  Their next fixture is against Edinburgh Caledonia at NWCC on Sunday 3rd of March.


Eskdale Pupils Tour UK Parliament

Eskdale pupils tour UK Parliament

CAPITAL VISIT . . . a large party of pupils from Langholm Academy have returned from an educational trip to London which took in the UK Parliament.

During a tour of the Palace of Westminster, the group was greeted by Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP David Mundell, who later hosted a question and answer session for the pupils in one of the committee rooms.

The Langholm party enjoyed a varied programme in the city, which also included visits to Downing Street, Buckingham Palace, the London Dungeons, views from the London Eye next to the River Thames and a theatre trip to see the hit musical ‘Wicked.’

Picture shows the Academy party on the steps of historic Westminster Hall with Mr  Mundell, front centre