10:00 am on November 4th 2023 saw a gathering of volunteers in Birch Drive, just by the Community Woodland. The group of just under 20 volunteers consisted of members of the Maryburgh Community Woodland Group, members of the Maryburgh Mens Shed as well as other Maryburgh residents.

Image by: Siobhan Fraser

The Community Woodland Group issued everyone taking part with bin bags and disposable gloves along with Streetmaster Pro Litter Pickers. These were purchased by the group which was made possible by help from the Scottish Forestry Community Fund. To identify everyone taking part James Evans and Sons supplied Hi-Vis vests with the Maryburgh Community Woodland Group marked on the backs. The Mens Shed brought along their own Hi-Vis vests marked with Maryburgh Mens Shed. Once everyone was suitably equipped they set off as groups or as individuals to collect any rubbish left in the woodland.

Over the next couple of hours the volunteers gradually returned to the Birch Drive starting point carrying bin bags filled with rubbish. The main topic of conversation by the volunteers was the volume of garden waste left at several locations around the wood. This fly tipping in the woodland does nothing to improve the biodiversity. Biodiversity is something that many members of the community wanted to see improved. Garden waste causes several problems, apart from being unsightly. This risks increasing plant disease, invasive non native species and increasing soil nutrients, encouraging the growth of non-woodland species of plants.

Image by: Siobhan Fraser

Other types of waste cleared by the volunteers included a dead bird, a soaking wet blanket, copper pipe fittings, aluminium drinks cans, plastic bottles and vapes. All these items apart from being unsightly present additional risks to the wildlife living in the woodland. Small rodents are attracted to the sweet smell from aluminium cans and plastic bottles Once inside they can become trapped and unable to escape.

Our woodland has a large mixture of small mammals such as red squirrels, hedgehogs, mice, shrews, moles, and bats. There is also a range of birds from wrens to owls that populate the woodland. The woodland also includes about 70 natives species of flowers as well as many non native species. Many of the non natives have been introduced in different ways, some planted by the Brahan Estate in the 19th century, such as rhododendron as well as non native trees, but many of the plants are from local gardens.

Image by: Siobhan Fraser

The morning was a great success with a very successful clean up of the woodland. There was too much rubbish to fill one green waste bin. A thank you to some of the volunteers who took some bags of rubbish to dispose of. The Maryburgh Community Woodland Group would like to thank the volunteers from the community who came along and helped on the day. We would also like to thank the members of the Maryburgh Mens Shed who helped out.

Our thanks also go to the Scottish Forestry Community Fund and James Evans and Sons for supplying all the funding for the equipment to make the tidy up possible.