Path to success takes shape at Dunbar woods

Isobel Knox Dunbar Community Woodland Group -  to go with story about their plans for the woodland this year.
Isobel Knox Dunbar Community Woodland Group - to go with story about their plans for the woodland this year.

A BIG celebration of nature is planned as volunteers start another busy year of upgrading work in Lochend Woods at Dunbar.

An event to mark the Celtic festival Beltane will be held on Sunday, May 1, featuring food based on woodland produce, music, storytelling, poetry and crafts including woodturning, spinning and knitting as well as children’s activities.

It is being organised by the Dunbar Community Woodland Group which manages Lochend Woods for local people.

Isobel Knox, who is responsible for community liaison, explained that new trees, such as oak, broad leaf lime, hawthorn and hazel, would be planted this month or next to replace the non-native rotting Sitka spruce which were felled last year as they were stopping other species from growing.

The clearing and thinning work was carried out as part of a management plan for the area requested by the Forestry Commission prior to it releasing tens of thousands of pounds for the refurbishment of paths, provision of information boards about the trees and wildlife, equipment such as strimmers and a marquee for community events.

Mrs Knox said the new planting had been delayed by the bad weather on the advice of the group’s new convener Simon Bell who has forestry experience.

She explained: “It is best that the young trees are not planted out where there is a risk of damage to their roots by very low temperatures.”

Mrs Knox said the paths, which would be named, would be upgraded in the spring.

One, a 20 metre section of pathway the group constructed itself two years ago at the Brunt Court exit, continuing through a triangle area at the walled garden, would be called Mullender Walk after the late Chris Mullender who played a big part in its creation. Cash for this project, which was also supported by residents in Kellie Road, was given by Dunbar Community Council.

The names of other paths are: Boundary Way — from Kellie Road, the cleared area on the left, towards the gate at Lochend Cottage; Burnside; Yew Tree Walk — from the steadings gate, over the bridge over the burn, to the crossroads at the main north to south path; Carriage Drive — the original driveway to Lochend House; The Back Lane — the path behind John Muir Crescent; Old Garden Walk or Path; Pine Tree Walk — the path that completes the triangle at the south east corner of Kellie Road and Middlemass Road which runs along the back of houses in Randolph Crescent; Old Laundry Path.

Mrs Knox said the Beltane event would be a “big celebration of nature and regeneration of the woodland.”

She added: “One of the reasons for having the Beltane event is to fulfill our community role. We have a role to look after the woods and link the woodland with the community, and to encourage the community to enjoy and respect the woodland.”

The community woodland group is now in its third year of a four year funding package from the Forestry Commission.