Producing logs for firewood at Aline

Community Buyouts of woodland and other property are not uncommon in Scotland. In the last 10 years numerous communities have taken opportunities and purchased large areas of their local surroundings. The motivation for these buyouts varies, however a unifying theme is that the communities wish to create something that will benefit the local area including creating  jobs for local people, recreational facilities for tourists and educational facilities for children.

Aline Community Woodland
Up on the Isle of Lewis a very similar community buyout took place in 2007.  The Erisort Trust purchased Aline Community Woodland in 2007 and since then have set about creating a project that offers local employment, training opportunities and facilities for locals and tourists to enjoy the woodland. They have a firewood project that employs 5 full time workers and has trained 18 people.

Culag Community Woodland Trust
Although a much smaller project than Rhubodach, Culag demonstrates what a committed community can achieve. As well as managing the Culag Wood and creating walkways and play areas, the Trust recently formed Culag Enterprises Ltd, a commercial arm to the business. To quote their website – “This is providing sustainable local employment with opportunities to learn new land-based skills to recognised national standards.  The long-term aim of this innovative initial project will be that the company will go on to win other land-based contracts for a range of clients.”

Abriachan Forest Trust
In 1998 the community purchased 534 hectares of forest and open hill ground from Forest Enterprise. Since then, as a social enterprise, the Abriachan Forest Trust has managed this land to create local employment, improve the environment and encourage it’s enjoyment by the public through a network of spectacular paths, family suited mountain bike trails and innovative education opportunities.

These communities have seized the chance to create something that will bring major benefits in the future.