An East Ayrshire community group is celebrating the successful purchase of a local woodland, which it hopes will leave a lasting legacy for future generations.

The Drongan, Rankiston, and Stair Regeneration Group (DRS) purchased Hannahston Woods after learning that the land had been put up for sale by the previous owners Hargreaves Land in November 2019.

A £55,000 award from the Scottish Land Fund and £14,000 from the Minerals Trust allowed them to do so.

Now that they have it, the plan is to encourage more people to get out and make the most of the woodland by maintaining and enhancing access and by staging events to draw those in who who do not normally visit.

Local schools and youth organisations will be encouraged to use the woodland for both play and learning.

Part of the plans are to introduce fruiting species of plants as well as the establishment of herbs and other plants that the group say will enable for foraging of food in the woodland.

READ MORE: Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards returns in 2021

Hannahston Woods will also provide support for provision of appropriate education and skills training that will encourage wider participation in forest and woodland related employment.

It is hoped that the area will provide a location for people to exercise and also to aid the mental wellbeing of those in the area.

A DRS spokesperson said: “This is an amazing opportunity for the local communities. The DRS couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas gift. The Woodland is a local asset which is used by all walks of life. The DRS are delighted that it will continue to be a local asset and a lasting legacy for the next generation.

“Thank you to everyone who continued to support DRS and Friends of Hannahston Community Woods. We would also like to thank both The Minerals Trust and The Scottish Land Fund for their support and awarding us with the funds to make our community dream a reality.”

This story first appeared in the Cumnock Chronicle.

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