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Portmoak Community Woodland

Portmoak Moss viewed from Kilmagad Wood, with Loch Leven and Benarty Hill in the background
Fine views, delightful walking and an ambitious project to restore a commercial plantation to a raised peat bog. Located at Scotlandwell, near to Kinross and the M90, about midway between the Forth Road Bridge and Perth.



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Worthy Farm has its attractions - obviously! But for a more laid-back experience, minus the travelling and the crowds, we had a great time in Scotlandwell.

As part of the Portmoak Festival, the woodland group and Woodland Trust Scotland were delighted to host a lovely open air concert in the community orchard in Kilmagad Wood. Ace musicians, Vicky Gray and Sean McLaughlin, from Scotlandwell, organised the gig which featured a fantastic line-up of a dozen singers and instrumentalists performing traditional Scottish tunes as well as songs by the likes of Neil Young and Eric Clapton.

The sun came out and there was no need for wellies, on Sunday June 9th. The audience brought folding chairs and picnic rugs and were surrounded by apple trees and native woodland for an afternoon of great music.

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Generally, the loudest sound in Kilmagad Wood is bird song (once you're away from the road) and this year the bird theme dominated the Festival.

Across the road, in the village hall, there was an exhibition, by Portmoak Primary School, of beautiful pictures and craftwork inspired by the birds they’ve been learning about this year. It included photos and a write-up about the nest box project we did with them in February. Good news on that front: the first blue tits moved in a few weeks ago. 

Portmoak Community Woodland Group also contributed to the Festival by organising two guided bird song walks, led by Scott Paterson, of Kinross Ecology. 

Starting at breakfast time, we slowly walked round Portmoak Moss with Scott helping us to identify which birds were singing and calling and sharing his wealth of knowledge about what the different species might be communicating to each other, whether it was about territory, mating or something to be alarmed about in the undergrowth. 

Meadow pipits were very active in the centre of the peat bog, great spotted woodpeckers drummed on the trees and song thrushes sang brilliantly and inventively. They seem to be having a good year.

Not so good are the numbers of swifts. They used to be such a common sight on summer evenings in Scotlandwell and Kinnesswood. But there maybe things we can do to help and, to that end, there’s a guided walk, all about swifts, starting at Kinnesswood bus stop at 8.30pm on Sunday 30th June. This has come about as a result of our involvement with the Tayside Biodiversity Project. It'll be led by Danièle Muir of Perthshire Wildlife. It’s free and open to everyone. 




The great egg race

It’s amazing what you can use an orchard for, even when there are no apples! At least we're seeing blossom now but things were pretty dormant at Easter when we used it as an egg race track and a sunny space for families to hang out and enjoy some unexpected warmth. 12 children arrived with their eggs and support teams (parents/grandparents) for the event.

The fastest egg down the hill was easy to judge, but the best decorated egg ‘was a tense and difficult affair due to the egg decorating talent on show’ said our judge. But winners were found. Some older folk present were a little put out when they realized there was no upper limit for the over six category. So, maybe an adult egg competition next year? 

Portmoak Festival will be using Chris’s Place (the orchard) in June, weather permitting, for some live music. This month the Primary School will be doing their John Muir Award, looking to see if the bird boxes, installed in February, have any new tenants moving in.

As our contribution to the festival we will be running two Bird Song Walks in the Moss on Sunday 2nd June and Wednesday 5th June, both at 8am. 

They'll be led by Scott Paterson who runs Kinross Ecology and who was, until last year, the Perth & Kinross Bird Recorder. Scott has led these walks before for us and they were very popular, so keep your eyes on the festival programme and our website. We hope that the Sunday morning walk will be good for young families with children. If you walk in the Moss a lot and ask yourself what’s that bird, song or what you should be looking out for and when, then this is your big chance. If Scott can’t tell you no-one can.

Decorated egg 24 Storm Kathleen put paid to our last work day on the Moss in April but no fear, we will be back in the late summer after the ground nesting birds have brought up their young. We still need help, so follow us on our website and Facebook, and we are always in the Well on the third Tuesday of the month 7:30 talking trees, bogs and many other things besides.

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Portmoak Moss - Woodland Trust

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