Portmoak Community Woodland

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About Portmoak Community Woodland

Portmoak Moss was purchased in 1996 with funds obtained through grant aid from Scottish Natural Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund, in addition to community based fundraising.

It is managed by the Woodland Trust and by the local community via a steering group which meets  on the third Tuesday of every month at 19:30 in the Well Country Inn, Scotlandwell.

Our constitution is here.


Kilmagad Wood viewed from Portmoak Moss

Management plan

  • To improve the diversity of age and species of tree by regeneration of birch, alder and other species more suited to the ground conditions.

  • To restore the raised peat moss, a rare ecosystem, to its original state.

  • To improve public access by upgrading paths and establishing all-abilities access.

  • To facilitate community involvement.


Progress so far

Since 1996, entrance and path-works, including an all-abilities loop, have upgraded access to the wood.

In 1998, a second woodland, Kilmagad Wood, was purchased by the community in association with the Woodland Trust. This is linked to Portmoak Moss by a circular walking route, the Tetley Trail.

In 2004 and 2005 major felling of the old commercial plantation on the raised moss was completed. Damming of the drainage ditches has raised the water table.

In 2008 a third area of land was purchased. This is lower on the hillside than Kilmagad Wood, running from the road up to Kilmagad. For many years it has provided rough grazing - our plan is to plant it with trees and include paths and viewing areas in it, leading the way higher up the hill.

In 2009 and 2010 we got on with planting the lower hillside site with trees and shrubs - all natural species that you would expect to see in Scotland. We had some great days and enjoyed the involvement of local schools and several community groups.

In 2011 we planted out a community orchard with many species of apples, pears, cherries and plums. As part of the planting we also ran a course on pruning fruit trees which was well attended by many local people.

In 2012 we organised a Boginar which brought together a number of experts in various aspects of the restoration, management and development of bogs and mosses will gather to discuss options for Portmoak Moss. Topics include biodiversity, habitat, ecology, hydrology and community engagement. We also had a Christmas tree event which was well attended by the local community.
In 2013 a major result from the Boginar was a significant grant from SNH to raise the water table further by improved damming and also to deal with birch regeneration. We also ran a course on fruit tree pruning in our community orchard, held a butterfly day with Butterfly Conservation Scotalnd and a lantern event with the Woodland Trust.  We also had another Christmas tree event.


What will happen next

On Portmoak Moss, the branches and smaller stems left after the felling are called brash. It can a look bit of a mess but actually it is a good place for wildlife and is important in the regeneration process. Large numbers of invertebrates, like wood-boring beetles, make their homes in brash, as do small mammals and some birds. The brash is slowly being broken down by fungi and insects which in turn become part of the food chain, greatly increasing the bio-diversity of the Moss. The water level has risen, as planned, and eventually this will limit the regeneration of  unwanted species and favour bogland species. The current battle is to keep birch from overrunning the cleared ground - this is achieved by a campaign each summer, but we hope that after several years there will be no more viable seeds in the ground.

Portmoak Moss leaflet

The Woodland Trust Scotland have produced a leaflet on Portmoak Moss. Download here.  (860 KB   .pdf)