Benarty woodland benefits from makeover

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Dog walkers, ramblers and hikers in Fife will now able to take advantage of a new woodland footpath and beautiful views from Benarty Hill, thanks to a project by the Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS).

After months of careful planning and community consultation, work has taken place over the last three weeks to create a new forest path connecting Ballingry to Benarty, which is now open for local people to enjoy.

The project, funded by FCS, aims to improve access to Benarty Hill and encourage people to explore their local woodland safely as part of the organisation’s commitment to enhancing community engagement within the area.

The team at the FCS installed the woodland path, which is made from sustainable materials to help it weather the elements on the hillside. The path is made with stone sourced from a local quarry in Tillicoultry and will allow walkers safe access from the busy B9097 Crook of Devon to Ballingry Road.

Drop kerbs have also been introduced, allowing wheelchair users easier access to the wealth of nature that Benarty woodland has to offer.

Jenny Ventham, community ranger at Forestry Commission Scotland, said: “After consultation with the residents’ forum of Benarty, the creation of the path was seen as an excellent investment, not only for the community but for the large number of visitors that visit the woodland each year.

“Encouraging local communities into their local woodland by providing easy access to doorstep facilities is a top priority for Forestry Commission Scotland. We hope that creating this fantastic new path will inspire more people to get out and explore the beauty of Benarty Hill and enjoy the great outdoors that Scotland has to offer.”

Alongside the development of the new forest path, routine tree harvesting has also taken place on Benarty Hill.

The harvesting operation, which began in mid October, will be complete next week with an estimated 940 tonnes felled to provide more room for stronger trees on the hillside to grow and flourish.

The licensed two-man harvesting team travel around the country providing expertise and machinery which sees a tree felled and prepared in 52 seconds, safely and within environmental guidelines.

Andy Gallacher, Fife beat forester, said: “Tree harvesting is part of routine and essential forestry work. This harvesting operation is important as felling selected trees gives stronger trees room to bloom and prosper.”

The method sees no tree wasted with the harvested timber travelling to Scandinavia as pulp to be processed into paper or turned into building materials closer to home in Grangemouth, Cowie and Lockerbie.

Notes to news editors

1. Forestry Commission Scotland works as the Scottish Government's forestry directorate

2.   Notaichean

Tha FCS ag obair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridh coilltearachd Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus a' riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìonadh, a' cumail smachd air agus a' leudachadh nan coilltean gus buannachdan a thoirt dha coimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidh agus, ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh gnàth-shìde.

Airson agallamhan anns a' Ghàidhlig, cuiribh fios gu Oifigear Leasachaidh Gàidhlig a' Choimisean, Louise NicBheathain air 01463 725 038

3. Media enquiries to Steve Williams, FCS Press Office 0131 314 6508.