Woodland Creation and Management
Shetland Amenity Trust Woodlands has been active in woodland creation and management since its inception in 1985, latterly involving Forestry Commission woodland grant schemes, the lottery-funded Millennium Forest for Scotland Trust (MFST) initiative, and Shetland Island Council’s Natural Heritage Grant scheme. Among the woodlands managed and planted by the team are the following:
Kergord includes the oldest and largest group of woodlands in Shetland, first planted in the early 20th Century. The area certainly has Shetland’s tallest trees, with Sitka spruce approximately 20m tall; there are many mature Japanese larch, sycamore, some Noble fir, Wych elm, ash, whitebeam and Horse chestnut. Recent additions include birch, rowan and alder, and specimens of oak, Southern beech, Japanese cedar, and Oriental rowans and maple.
Burn of Valayre
This plantation sits on a Site of Special Scientific Interest, close to the Voxter Outdoor Centre. It is a one hectare site featuring only native trees known to grow or have grown in Shetland: alder, aspen, Downy birch, rowan and willow. A circular path crosses the burn at the east end via a ford. Further up the burn, visitors will find two relict examples of rowan, dogrose and honeysuckle.
Burn of Brae
Planted under the same scheme as Loch of Voe, and situated between the Brae School and the Moorfield Estate, this area was intended to be a park-like feature. A mixture of conifer and broadleaved trees are planted here. Bridges over the burn and hard core paths traverse most of the site, making it a pleasant alternative to road pavements for pedestrians.
Loch of Voe
Loch of Voe was first planted in 1985-6, and extensively added to under a later scheme as a Community Woodland. The site features shelterbelts of Sitka alder, Alaskan felt-leaf willow and Japanese larch, areas of Black cottonwood, Downy birch, Common alder, and genuine Shetland aspen and willow. Paths and the lochside make this an attractive and easy place to visit.
A community woodland was planted from 2001 onwards, along the west and north shores of the Loch of Clickimin in Lerwick. This again features native trees, predominantly birch of Icelandic origin, alder and Shetland native willow.
Originally an experimental shelterbelt first planted in 1953 with Sitka spruce and Lodgepole pine, the site began to suffer progressive windblow in the 1980s. The Trust has cleared most of this, and planted extensions on either sided in 1995-6, composed of a mixture of broadleaves in a matrix of conifer ‘nurse’ species. These have grown so well that some judicious thinning out is required.