Donate a tree
John Hill | Thursday, 19th January, 2023


Donate a Tree
The whole replanting of the shelter belt has only been possible, over the years, through the generous donation of people’s time and energy. If you are unable to join the planting project this Spring, you can still help by ‘sponsoring a tree’ at a cost of £3.00 per tree which just covers the cost of the tree seedling, stake and shelter.

Donate below by PayPal or with a credit/debit card

The task this year
We will be planting 6000 broadleaved trees, of a good range of native species- oak, birch, alder, rowan, crab-apple and wild cherry as well as more shrubby species- hazel, hawthorn, yew and holly. We will be planting the young trees by hand, staking and tying and protecting them with forestry shelters. This is the first of three parcels of woodland to be replanted over the next few years.

John Hill our garden and estate adviser writes:
The calm and gentle setting of Chisholme House, its lawns and gardens is only possible because of the encircling ring of sheltering woodland that surrounds the whole estate.

When Chisholme was acquired in 1975, most of this surrounding shelter belt of mainly mature hardwoods was still intact, but was owned by a local Forestry Company and not part of the Chisholme Estate. In the 1980’s this company started to clear-fell the trees, but in 1986 agreed to sell us the land after the mature trees had been felled or where there was younger standing woodland.

Graham Falvey, who was looking after the Estate and Garden at the time, invited friends of Chisholme to contribute to buying these areas of land, and so we acquired this invaluable setting for the jewel of Chisholme, though much of it by then sadly denuded of its original tree cover.

Graham, with some help, valiantly started to replant the clear-felled areas, starting with the Front Clearfell, which stands below the front gate and entrance drive. But there were a lot of trees to plant, and a big boost came in the late 90’s, when grant-aid from the Millennium Forest for Scotland allowed a major replanting over two seasons- 1998 and 1999. During this period, 17,000 trees were planted by over 100 friends and volunteers, covering the exposed, north-facing slopes of Woodcock North, Brae and Fathill West, set above the Borthwick Water, as well as the more placid environments of Whitrig and Churnton at the eastern end of the Chisholme Estate. These two Spring planting events, which I’m sure many people will remember with a warm(?) nostalgia, initiated the annual Forestry Fortnight programme which continued each Spring at Chisholme for many years.

Since then, several areas which were acquired in 1986 as standing commercial conifer plantations have matured and been replanted - particularly the replanting of Meadburn in 2012 under Ben Young’s guidance.

This year, with the help of Storm Arwen and friends, Fathill East, a Sitka spruce plantation, has been clear felled and left ready for replanting. This is the last piece of the jigsaw and will complete the replanting of the whole shelter belt ring around the heartland of Chisholme.

Peter Harbottle, who has been doing tremendous work on the Chisholme Estate for the last few years and Ben Young, who keeps an expert eye on the forestry, have decided to launch a Forestry Fortnight this coming Spring- March 4th-18th 2023, to plant up this last section of shelter belt to complete the circle. And you are warmly invited to come and join in.

Fathill East, an area of 3.7ha is immediately next to areas planted in the first Forestry Fortnight in 1998, a wonderful spot, with views overlooking the whole of the Borthwick valley. I hope many of those who joined the fun 25 years ago will be keen to return and carry on where they left off.

So please come if you can, for the whole fortnight or part, and join in this memorable work to complete the circle and keep Chisholme and yourself sheltered and warm.

Forestry Fortnight 2023
March 4–18

Volunteers are invited to come for part or all of the forestry fortnight. The cost of your stay will be covered by the institute and includes full board and accomodation.

Email for further details

Image credit: Merijn Schepens

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