Some 20 years after the first attempt, the Trust has been given the opportunity to purchase the 7 hectares (17+ acres) of woodlands at Cathay which were carved out of the original Muiry Woods deal in 2000 and sold to a 3rd party. In 2019 the area was the subject of a failed planning application for a housing development. This resulted in the planning designation being changed to ENV-natural/semi natural green space which precludes any possibility of future commercial or residential development. As a consequence, the value of the land has dropped significantly, and the owner has offered it for sale to the Trust at current forestry rates.
The area is adjacent to our existing Muiry Wood to the north and Council Wood to the west. Our Trustees believe that owning this ‘missing’ piece of the Muiry will greatly enhance the area and complement the existing woodlands. The fact that the area has been enclosed by deer fencing for many years has benefitted the biodiversity and possibly accelerated regeneration due to the absence of disturbance. Although our plans will involve the provision of access to the area it will be done in a manner which will minimise impact to an attractive area of emergent semi-natural native woodland.
FCWT will seek financial support for the acquisition from the Scottish Land Fund and other funding organisations. As part of the funding process, we will be required to demonstrate evidence of community support for the project and, that ownership of the land will bring enhanced outcomes for the Community. We believe that this will certainly be the case and we will be seeking the support of our members and the public during the consultation process.