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Aigas Community Forest

A productive, working forest providing measurable social, economic and environmental benefits for local residents and visitors alike

The Story So Far The Story So Far The Story So Far

The Story So Far

  • The Forestry Commission advised Kilmorack Community Council that it would be putting Aigas Forest on the Market.
  • Scottish Law requires that such sales are offered to the community first.
  • A meeting took place at Kilmorack Hall to discuss the situation on  25 March 2009
  • After a 100% vote in favour, volunteers were sought to form a steering group.
  • The steering group has pursued the path to acquire the Forest for the community if financially viable.
  • Funds were sourced from HIE and The Highland Council to finance the production of a feasibility study and 5 year business plan from consultants Bell Ingram in order to move the project forward.
  • The initial confirmation of interest was lodged with the Forestry Commission 19 May 2009
  • Community Consultation hosted by Bell Ingram took place at Kilmorack Hall on 29 June 2009 plus community postal survey
  • Feasibility Study was presented to Public Meeting at Kilmorack Hall on 17 August 2009
  • A Forest Walk took place on Sunday 23 August 2009 where approx fifty members of the community took part.
  • The community ballot was taken and the result showed outstanding support for the acquisition.
  • The application to purchase under the National Forest Land Scheme was delivered to the Forestry Commission on the 8 September 2009
  • The District Valuer (DV), accompanied by two members of the Steering Group and Cripian Cook of Bell Ingram, visited the Forest 16 September 2009
  • Forestry Commission Scotland approved the Option to Purchase on 17 December 2009
  • The DV provided a value for the forest of £690,000.  This is the purchase price for Aigas Community Forest.
  • The Aigas Community Forest company was formed on 9 February 2010 
  • Aigas Community Forest gained Charitable Status on 30 June 2010 as Registered Scottish charity, No: SC041614
  • Further funding was sourced from LEADER and The Highland Council to create this website and undertake a range of development and fundraising activities
  • Sir John Lister-Kaye and Professor James Hunter recruited as Forest Champions July 2010
  • May 2011, NFLS grant an 18-month extension to allow Aigas Community Forest to fully investigate the potential to lease the Forest rather than purchase it outright.
  • May 2012, with the impending relauch of the Scottish Land Fund, FCS agree to Aigas Community Forest pursuing purchase and lease options in parallel
  • In February 2014, after nearly 5 years, we received notification of a grant from the Scottish Land Fund to purchase 49.15ha of Aigas Forest.
  • In September 2014, with changes to funding guidelines, we submitted a second application to the Scottish Land Fund to secure £513,000 which would allow community to buy the entire forest instead of leasing a section.
  • In November 2014 we heard this applicaon was approved and also that The Aigas Trust would provide a further £50,000 ensuring all necessary purchase funding was in place.
  • On 5 March 2015 we finally took ownership of Aigas Forest.
  • In October 2016 our new Forest Design Plan was approved.
  • In February 2017 we undertook our first felling under the new plan.
  • Since then a forest office has been acquired and new workshops and equipment sheds built by our volunteers. 
  • We have planted over 4000 young mostly broadleave trees and a small orchard of local apples at the workshop area plus a small nursery.
  • We have attained FCS status.
  • We have acquired a forest tractor with crane, timber trailers, six seat CFMoto UForce 1000XL UTV and a Lovol 50hp tractor with front loader plus assorted trailers, flail mowers and timber grapples.
  • Felling under our forest plan is well advanced and fencing of the whole forest as a deer management plan is nearing completion.
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Aigas Community Forest, c/o North View, Crask of Aigas, Beauly, Inverness-shire Scotland IV4 7AD

This website was part-financed by the Scottish Government, the European Community Highland LEADER 2007 - 2013 Programme and The Highland Council.
Aigas Community Forest is a registered Scottish charity, No: SC041614
European Commission LEADER fund
The Highland Council
The Scottish Government
The European Agriculture fund for Rural Development. Europe investing in rural areas.