Image of Maryburgh Community Woodland Trees

Image by Megan Parker

The 10-Year Urban Woodland Management Plan was approved by Scottish Forestry on the 15th May 2024. This now provides us with a route map to achieve our objectives for the woodland over the next 10 years, until the 14th May 2034. While approval has been given by Scottish Forestry, we will still need to consult with the Highland Council regarding anything we wish to do regarding woodland management under the terms of the Tree Preservation Order. While anyone who wishes can access and read the full management plan, we have included a summary of the main points of the management plan below:

Future Vision

A diverse and resilient woodland of varied age classes with historic interest which our community can safely access, enjoy, and benefit from while also reducing the impacts of climate change on the woodlands through good practice. The woodland is park-like in places and natural in others. Young trees are visible in the understory, and veteran trees dating before 1850 are noticeable in the overstorey. There is a rich and diverse flora on the woodland floor which varies throughout the woodland, highlighting areas of wet ground and micro-habitats. Local wildlife populations use the variety of habitats present for nesting and foraging. Paths, both formal and informal, are present throughout the woodland and waymarked paths are maintained for all abilities. The woodland is well signposted with informative signs, allowing users to gather a greater sense of place and understanding. It is a place for the community to enjoy and provides an escape to a natural space for both young and old alike to explore.


These are our goals

  1. Making the Woodland safe for members of the Community
  2. Maintaining accessibility for all members of our Community
  3. Developing and implementing practices to protect and enhance the biodiversity of the Woodland
  4. Ensuring funding is available to enable good practice measures to be implemented
  5. Highlighting and maintaining the cultural heritage of the Woodland
  6. Enabling ongoing engagement with the community and commitment to community led decision-making

Planned Activities

These activities are also included in the Issues Log

Planned Activities
Core path regrading and surfacing (flood abatement)Woodland litter clean up
Core path brush cleaningWebsite updates
Informal path brashing and down tree clearanceDangerous tree survey
Entrance sign installationDangerous tree mitigations
First round beech and hemlock clearanceReplacement tree planting
Biodiversity monitoringRhododendron pruning

Description of woodlands

Image of woodland trees in portrait mode

Image by Megan Parker

The woodland is an irregularly shaped area of amenity land in the small village of Maryburgh, located 13 miles northwest of Inverness. A relatively small but diverse woodland, Maryburgh Community Woodland extends to 3.69 ha. It is predominantly a semi-natural woodland of native broadleaf species mixed with exotic specimens dating from the 17th and 18th century. The woodlands sit between two developments, Dunglass Road and Birch Drive, and are easily accessible from Maryburgh village centre. A network of formal and informal paths run through the woodlands and are interconnected to longer local walks through Brahan Estate and along the Conon River. The woodland was purchased in 2022 by the Maryburgh Amenities Company to ensure this important community asset was not lost to private development.

History & Past Management

Maryburgh Community Woodland, previously known as Dunglass Woodlands, were part of Brahan Estate from the 17th century through to the 1970s when it was purchased by Morrison Construction as part of the Birch Drive development. Following that it was passed to Anglian Water plc from 1989 to 2002 at which time they become Anglian Water Limited and then in 2003 an internal reorganization handed the land over to the AWG Group Ltd. The land suddenly came up for auction in late 2022 when it was purchased by the Maryburgh Amenities Company (MAC) as a community woodland for the residents of Maryburgh and the wider community. Historically, Dunglass Woodlands were a traditional policy woodland and formed part of a Designed Landscape (Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes as Brahan Estate GDL) around Brahan Castle and the wider estate grounds. It was part of four main boulevards leading to Brahan castle grounds. Since that time the woodlands have been cut off from the remaining Brahan woodlands by village expansion, farming, and other utilities. Half of the woodland is of a younger age class following major water utility works in the 1980s/1990s which now run underneath part of the northeastern woodlands. The other half of the woodlands remain ancient of ‘Long Established Plantation Origin’. Natural regeneration of beech and exotic conifers is widespread, limiting understory diversity in places. Main paths are overgrown by shrubs and small trees, impairing public access, and path maintenance is also needed to remediate drainage issues and flooding which have eroded surfaces and made paths inaccessible for mobility impaired visitors. This woodland itself has not been actively maintained for a number of decades and dangerous trees are present, requiring works to maintain public safety. A small number of dangerous trees were taken down in 2023, but further works will be required. Ongoing regular maintenance will be required to ensure the woodlands remain healthy and resilient moving forward and that the special character of this woodland in its historic setting is not lost while also ensuring public access is maintained.

Woodland Composition

The woodland is mainly comprised of common beech (Fagus sylvatica) (60%) and silver/downy birch (Betula pendula/pubescens) (30%) with a wide range of other species forming the remainder (10%). Beech and birch trees on site range in maturity from saplings to over mature specimen. Beech and hemlock are freely regenerating on site. The exotic conifers on site can be found in the lower south area of the woodland. These large, impressive trees were planted to form part of the wider Brahan Estate in the 1800s. The conifers can be found in the woodland, set back from houses and roads.

Mature tree species forming the canopy include:Tree species forming the understory include:
Grand fir – Abies grandisCommon beech – F. sylvatica
Silver fir – Abies albaSilver/downy birch – B. pendula/ pubescens
Giant sequoia – Sequoiadendron giganteumSessile oak – Q. patraea
Monkey puzzle – Araucaria araucanaScots pine – P. sylvestris
Douglas fir – Pseudotsuga menziesiiWych elm – Ulmus glabra
Monterey cypress – Hesperocyparis macrocarpaHolly – Ilex aquifolium
Scots pine – Pinus sylvestrisCommon ash – Fraxinus excelsior
Sessile oak – Quercus patraeaHazel – Corylus avellana
Common beech – Fagus sylvaticaGoat willow – Salix caprea
Rowan – Sorbus aucuparia
European larch – Larix decidua
Cotoneaster – Cotoneaster franchetii
Elder – Sambucus nigra
Hawthorn – Crataegus monogyna
Western Hemlock – Tsuga heterophylla

Maryburgh Woodland Area Map

Map showing area of Maryburgh CommunityWoodland

Image by Megan Parker

Management Plan Summary Table & Maps

Management Plan Summary Table

Maryburgh Community Woodland Compartments

Maryburgh Community Woodland Concept Map

Maryburgh Community Woodland Constraints Map

Maryburgh Community Woodland Location Map

Anyone who wishes to read the full Community Management Plan, please download the complete file here (Approved GDPR)