The Forres Community Woodlands Trust (FCWT) is a company limited by guarantee and a registered Scottish charity and is managed by a Board of Trustees drawn from members of the local community.
The Trust was formed in 1999 to buy part of the Muiry Woods, an area of former common good land immediately to the east of Forres, and to conserve it for the benefit of the local community.
In 2002 – thanks to overwhelming support and financial assistance from the local community and other sources – the FCWT succeeded in purchasing the Sanquhar Woodlands, another area of highly attractive and well loved woods on the southern fringe of Forres, to remove any risk of them being used for housing development.
The Trust realises that its woodlands are highly valued community assets. We are keen to realise the potential of these woodlands to provide a wide range of community benefits.
These include providing local people and visitors to the area with ready access to special places to enjoy peace and quiet, healthy exercise, recreation and education.
In pursuing our vision, the Trust’s on-going management objectives for the Sanquhar, Muiry and Newforres Woodlands are to:
- Maintain and improve the biodiversity of the woodlands.
- Fulfil the potential of the woodlands in enhancing the quality of life for the community and visitors through the provision of public access and recreational facilities.
- Accomplish sustainable forest management through silvicultural and environmental good practice
- Promote the woodlands as a highly valued environmental and educational asset for all the community and visitors to the area but particularly for school children and young people.
- Engender a strong sense of ownership, involvement and relevance of our woodlands amongst the local community.
The Trust manage and administer the woodlands utilising a Management Plan which reflects the Trust’s vision and aims. The current Management Plan was adopted in November 2016.
The current Trustees elected or confirmed at the Annual General Meeting on 26 November 2020 are:
Donald Wright – Chairman and Treasurer
David Binney, David MacFarquhar, Steve Hull, Dan Puplett, Gareth Whymant
Gisela MacFarquhar continues to act as Secretary although she has stood down as a Trustee
The map below shows the Sanquhar Woods, Muiry Wood and Newforres Wood owned by the Forres Community Woodlands Trust. The access track for Chapelton Dam provides a walk with a delightful open aspect between the two woodlands.
There is also Council Wood car park on the northern side of the B9010 Rafford road that provides access through Council Wood.
The Woodlands lay along the southern boundary of the Historic Borough of Forres. They add to the attractiveness of the town which is a regular winner of Britain in Bloom, Beautiful Scotland and other awards.
The paths through the woods provide an opportunity to enjoy the peaceful surroundings, diverse woodlands and small ponds within the woods. There are no way marked routes within the woods but two walks way marked by the Forres Footpaths Trust traverse the woods.
This more detailed map of the Sanquhar Woodlands was created in 2016 for Information Boards at the main entrance points to the Woodlands.