Morvern Community Woodlands was set up in the early 2000s with the aim of rebuilding connections between people and woodlands. The group started out with a particular focus on woodland management and woodland products. We were constituted as a company in 2004 and early projects undertaken by the members included green woodworking and work on restoring Achnaha Wood, in partnership with Forestry Commission Scotland.
In the following years, with the efforts to make Achnaha Wood attractive and useable being successful, we held many events in the woods including plays, forest schools, bonfires, barbeques and music.
Over time it became increasingly clear that support for management of Achnaha that we had previously received from Forestry Commission Scotland would no longer be forthcoming. Without closer ties to the woodland, we were unable to access any grant support for its management. In 2013 the MCW members took the decision that we should attempt to purchase the wood from Forestry Commission Scotland and in 2014, with support from the National Forest Land Scheme and local fundraising we successfully achieved this.
Issues with demographics of Morvern had also become increasingly clear to the directors of MCW. Morvern has an aging population and a falling school roll and it is very hard for workers in key sectors, like healthcare provision, to find affordable housing, making it difficult to recruit for workers. This has predictable negative impacts for the community as a whole. In 2016 and 2017 we explored the possibilities of creating new woodland crofts in Morvern with the Woodland Croft Partnership. We found that a croft woodland project is very feasible, but it would not deliver as great a benefit for the community as owning a larger part of Morvern, including a mix of different landuse types, would.
The lack of benefit locally from the huge area of commercial forestry in Fiunary Forest was also a contentious issue for the community, and this was a key outcome of a very well-attended public meeting in Lochaline in 2017. Subsequent sale of Doctor’s Wood near Lochaline to a private commercial timber venture meant that another opportunity to acquire land for the community had been missed. When the sale of Killundine was mooted, MCW members agreed that the directors should investigate Killundine’s potential to deliver community objectives. Since then, we have been working towards community ownership of Killundine.
You can find more details on our Killundine pages.