A series of events is underway to provide information and advice to anyone interested in woodland crofts. The Scottish Crofting Federation, the Community Woodlands Association and the Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust have joined forces to form the Woodland Crofts Partnership.
The events - run under the Woodlands Crofts Knowledge Share Programme which is funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) - are designed to provide general information and each highlight a particular woodland croft theme.
The first event, on the theme of woodland croft creation and management, took place in Tighnabruaich, Argyll on 25th October.
Two further events will take place, with the next hosted by the Scottish Crofting Federation at the GALE Centre in Gairloch, Ross-shire on 22 November. The third event will be in Dornoch on 12 December 2012.
Traditionally crofting was based on production of food for the home. More productive agriculture assisted crofters to then seek additional employment to supplement basic domestic needs. The Crofting Reform Act 2007 amended existing crofting legislation and introduced significant changes, including the ability to create new crofts and for crofts to be put to purposeful use other than purely cultivation.
As a result it is now possible to create crofts from existing woodlands. This would involve managing them as woodland, the opportunity to run woodland-related businesses from them and potentially create purposeful use from the designated area of the croft.
The Gairloch event will include morning presentations covering the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of woodland crofts as well as the long term benefits community ownership can bring to the local area. In the afternoon a site visit will be made to a local community growing project. Lunch and refreshments are provided so booking is required – please contact the Scottish Crofting Federation on 01599 530 005.
A dedicated website for woodland crofts will be launched soon at www.woodlandcrofts.org. It will provide information on the ethos of woodland crofting, as well as legal and practical considerations.
A Woodland Crofts Register of Interest will be used to match up those who wish to obtain a woodland croft with those who have them to offer or plan to develop them. It's anticipated that evidence provided by the register will also help stimulate the creation of new woodland crofts.
A registration form for the Woodland Crofts Register of Interest is available by visiting www.communitywoods.org.
For more information on Woodland Crofts, including information on the upcoming events, please visit our woodland crofting pages here.