Bid to conserve heritage woodland pasture

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Conserving the last surviving traces of enlightened, centuries-old land use practices are the focus of new Forestry Commission Scotland guidance, published this week.

‘Managing Ancient Woodland Pasture’ offers practical guidance to land managers and their advisers on identifying and managing these important sites.

Roland Stiven, who wrote the guidance note for Forestry Commission Scotland, said:

“These sites are part of Scotland’s rich cultural heritage. They offer evidence of how, in years gone by, rural communities managed to very successfully combine farming and forestry.

“It’s a great example of enlightened land use practice that brought benefits to woodland and for livestock – but it also created a variety of unique habitats that are now at risk of being lost.

“This guidance will help land owners to identify ancient woodland pasture and will hopefully encourage them to actively conserve them.”

As well as describing the different types of ancient wood pastures and offering some historical background on their development, the guidance highlights the care of veteran trees to ensure their survival and succession.

It also recognizes the variety of wood pasture habitats and their contribution to wildlife and advises on the management of pasture and grazing regimes to maintain the diversity of the pasture vegetation.

Scottish Government funding is available through the Scottish Rural Development Programme.

Partners in the project include Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Historic Scotland, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group, Scottish Agricultural College and independent woodland advisor, Peter Quelch.

To view the guidance online, visit

1. Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate and manages the 665,000 hectare national forest estate.  The Commission is continuing to protect, manage and expand Scotland’s forests and woodlands in a way which helps in the fight against climate change.

2) In addition to basic guidance, the Ancient Woodland Pasture publication includes links to more detailed publications that may be of further help to interested land managers.

3) Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0131 314 6507