A COMMUNITY woodland project has planted its first trees in a plot that will expand to the size of five football fields.

Dingwall volunteers will plant a total of 7,200 oak and birch trees on a dedicated site behind Macrae Crescent.

The proposal was awarded £30,000 by Scottish Forestry’s grant scheme.

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An additional £3,000 was presented to the Dingwall community group towards the effort to rally further planting initiatives.

The woodland will also be helping the national endeavour to tackle biodiversity loss and climate change, in co-operation with the Scottish Government’s annual tree planting targets.

Land management consultant and local Knockbain farmer Richard Lockett first pitched the idea for the scheme.

Lockett, who attended the tree-planting, said: “It really is fantastic to see all this hard work now coming to fruition. The enthusiasm and energy of the local community has been brilliant.

“We have been planting trees and hedges on Knockbain for some time now as there are so many benefits for nature, livestock shelter, climate change, and of course for people.

“The field being used for the woodland is right next to the town of Dingwall and not crucial to the farm business so when we thought about planting it up with native trees, we really wanted the community to be at the heart of it all.”

Multiple planting days have been planned throughout January and February, which will be open to all volunteers.

Josie Fraser of Dingwall Community Woodland said: “We want the woodland to be a great natural asset for the community and are currently seeking planning permission and funding for a small network of paths.

“This will allow everyone to access and enjoy this new woodland and see it grow over time. We have lots of other ideas and in the longer-term hope to take ownership and manage the woodland on behalf of the community.

“We have had fantastic support local people, from Richard and Scottish Forestry.”

This article originally appeared in our sister title, The National.