North West Mull Community Woodland Co
NWMCWC is a community company with charitable status set up to manage Langamull and West Ardhu woodlands in the North West of the Isle of Mull. These woodlands were purchased through the National Forest Land Scheme from Forestry Commission Scotland in 2006 with the assistance of the Scottish Land Fund, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, The Robertson Trust, Hugh Fraser Foundation, significant local fundraising and an interest free loan.
NWMCWC aim to manage the community land and associated assets for the benefit of the Community and the public in general as an important part of the protection and sustainable development of Scotland?s natural environment.
The Langamull and West Ardhu woods cover 675 hectares in the North West of Mull near Dervaig. When the woods were purchased in 2006 the forest was ?landlocked? with no viable route to extract timber. Initial forest management activities have focussed on developing a 20?year Forest Design Plan, obtaining UKWAS certification and the construction of a 16.5 kilometre haul route from the north end of Langamull to the C46 road between Dervaig and Salen. This allows harvested timber to be transported to Fishnish for export to the processing plant at Killmallie. Timber harvesting commenced in March 2012 and the planned felling will continue in phases between 2012 and 2029.
The Company has planned or developed a range of other activities in and around the community woodlands.
Creation of new Forest Crofts: Apart from one established privately, these are the first Forest Crofts to be created in Scotland. All of the crofts have been assigned to tenants, all of whom have taken possession of their crofts and are in the process of submitting management plans.
Renewable Energy: NWMCWC has investigated options for wind energy, a wood fuel supply company and a micro?hydro scheme to provide future income streams. This has led to a commitment to develop a 98kw micro?hydro station on a site in West Ardhu which, following a full feasibility study, has been approved.
Improving access and recreational facilities: Work to date has focussed on maintenance and small scale improvements due to the likely impact of the felling programme. The woods have several sites of historical interest; investigation work has been undertaken in conjunction with the Mull Historical & Archaeological Society and Historic Scotland?s Adopt a Monument scheme. An Amenity Feasibility Study carried out in 2011 sets out options for a programme of future developments.
Habitat regeneration and enhancing biodiversity are long term aims; by 2029 44% of the area will be managed with conservation and enhancement of biodiversity as a major objective. NWMCWC facilitate an active Forest Schools programme in the woods in partnership with Dervaig and Ulva Ferry Primary Schools including a small school orchard.
NWMCWC has a share in a mobile sawmill and produces sawn timber to order. Woodfuel is marketed on a small but increasing scale and Christmas Trees have been sold. A woodland burial ground has also been explored and development of this project is underway.
The NWMCWC project was chosen by the UK Forestry Commission as their contribution to the World Wildlife Fund website for Social Case Studies.