Branston ‘branches out’ to support ancient woodland

Posted: 31 May 2017
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Branston has branched out from supporting a local Perthshire woodland, to helping restore an ancient pine forest on the other side of the country.

The team at Branston’s Scotland site have been longstanding supporters of Woodland Trust Scotland’s Moncreiffe Hill Wood on the outskirts of Perth.  Now the company has donated £1,000 to an appeal to restore the spectacular ancient pine forest at Loch Arkaig near Spean Bridge.

“We were very excited when we heard about Woodland Trust Scotland’s plans for Loch Arkaig Forest,” said General Manager Kevin Imrie.

“The team has very much adopted Moncreiffe Hill because it is local to our office in Abernethy, but the ambition of what is happening up at Loch Arkaig has captured our imagination.”

Senior Agronomist Jim Aitken said: “We love anything that makes for a better future and these plans certainly do that.”

Kevin and Jim visited Moncreiffe Hill to present site manager Jill Aitken with a £1,000 cheque for the Loch Arkaig Appeal. They also took the opportunity to cast an eye over some of the trees that Branston staff have planted over the years.

Jill Aitken of Woodland Trust Scotland said: “We are very grateful to Branston for their longstanding support, both for Moncreiffe Hill and now also Loch Arkaig.”

An appeal was launched in April last year to raise £500,000 to fund the purchase of the 2,500 acre site near Spean Bridge, and a further £4m to restore the forest. One of the most significant areas of remaining Caledonian pine forest, this will be the largest ancient woodland restoration undertaken by the Woodland Trust on land directly under its care. The pinewoods are magnificent but have been degraded by historic felling, over-grazing and planting with non-native conifers which will be slowly removed over the next twenty years.

British Commandos and Allied Special Forces including the Free French trained at Loch Arkaig during WWII. The forest is home to wild boar, sea eagles, golden eagles, ospreys, pine martens and deer amongst many other species. Steeped in history, the area is the ancestral home of Clan Cameron. A consignment of gold sent from France to help fund the escape of Bonnie Prince Charlie is said to be hidden in the forest.