A Year at New Caledonian Woodlands

2015 was a fantastic year here at New Caledonian Woodlands. A year full of promising new products, developing the Green Hub Site in Edinburgh, a record number of participant days and exciting new partnerships with other charities, social enterprises and community woodlands.

People Projects

Our People Projects Grow Your Mind, Good Wood and Fruitful Woods all marked milestones last year, supporting an increasing number of people in improving their mental health and well-being.

Grow Your Mind completed its remit to support people with severe and enduring mental health issues through rural conservation work and forged strong, mutually supportive partnerships with Falkland Centre for Stewardship, Fife Employment Access Trust, and NHS Fife.  The project pioneered an innovative approach to supporting people with enduring mental health issues to find ways to build their skills, confidence and sense of inclusion through rural conservation work and exploring the natural world.

Good Wood continued to support an increasing number of people to improve their mental health in Edinburgh, through a varied programme of woodland activities. Conservation work took place in some beautiful local hidden gems like Doctor Neil’s Garden and urban Local Nature Reserves at Ravelston and ‘Meadow’s Yard’; plus adventures further afield with warm welcomes and mysterious landscapes at Arniston Estate near Gorebridge.

Fruitful Woods celebrated the completion of its first year, in which time its sustainably focussed products featured on shelves around Edinburgh, gained its first commission to craft 50 cheese and flight boards for a new local business and became a supplier to Scotland’s first ever Food Assembly.

Planet Projects

2015 saw the delivery of 11 Woodland Weekends, 5 Wood Fuel Days, 2 Tree Planting Days and 11 Re-skilling Workshops totalling over 500 volunteer days. These projects give people an opportunity to take part in and grow the woodland culture in Scotland by engaging with sustainability and biodiversity. Highlights of the year include the amazing weekends on Mull, Knoydart, Christmas at Cambo, Bamff amongst the wild boars and beavers, planting fruit trees at Inzievar and putting the finishing touches on our Iron Age Roundhouse.

We must thank all of our volunteers for their passion, enthusiasm and willingness to share their experiences and knowledge. We hope you will join us again for a new and exciting line up of events in 2016.

Team Building

New Caledonian Woodlands took part in Business In The Community’s Give & Gain day, delivering three conservation projects across central Scotland with over one hundred employees from Hewlett Packard, Morgan Sindall, TLT Solicitors, Bank of Scotland, City and Guilds and DWF.

Team Challenge introduced new and improved activities, ranging from apple juicing to wood working and willow weaving. 2015 also saw the launch of Mindful Team Building, a new service in partnership with Fife Employment Access Trust for organisations and staff to learn and practice the art of Mindfulness within their working role.

Site Development

This time last year our Green Hub Site in Edinburgh was a little worse for wear. What started as an empty patch of land has now become a flourishing place of creativity and inspiration.

As of 2016, the site now features an Iron Age Roundhouse, a Mongolian style yurt, raised beds growing soft fruit and vegetables, a mini orchard of Scottish apple trees, a wood processing yard and two wood stores to house our seasoned wood fuel.

We had the pleasure of showing off our site to the public for the first time in June at The Power of Food Festival. Over 100 people were in attendance to enjoy the sounds of the No Strings Attached community wind band, weave their own willow bird feeder, learn more about sustainable local food systems and most of all, have fun with other members of the community. Keep your eyes peeled for the announcement of this year’s festival as plans are already under way.

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