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Environmental Groups


Pictures of Community Woodland


Photo Gallery

The Newtonhill Traill -
A Walk

Tree and Forest Links

21 July 05
How The woodland Is Looking In July 2005
Lots of photos showing the plants and views through the forest.  Over the next few years the forest will grow so it will be interesting to compare these later.

8 May 05
More Improvements At Newtonhill Woodland
Another bout of improvement works at Newtonhill Community Woodland, Wick has recently been completed by The Highland Council's Planning and Development Service.

The woodland has gone from strength to strength over the last few years.  Last year the Highland Council under took major improvement works at the old local 'dump' by upgrading the paths to 'All Ability' standard, providing flagstone furniture and a wildlife interpretive trail.

"Anyone with an interest in the woodland who would like to join the community group should come along to the AGM on 18th May 7pm at MacKay's hotel, Wick."

10 November 04
The recent phase of improvement works have been completed at Newtonhill Community Woodland and local people are invited to explore the upgraded path surfaces and new nature trail panels.

The improvement works were undertaken by The Highland Council's Planning and Development Service in partnership with the local community group, "Friends of Newtonhill Woodland" and have been on-going over the last two years.  The Community Environmental Renewable Scheme was the main funder but several partners including the Highland Access Project and the Highland Biodiversity Project contributed to the overall project.

A range of facilities are now on offer at the woodland site. The upgraded paths are suitable for All Abilities and have addressed previous problems of drainage and steep gradients. For those less able, several flagstone benches have been sited around the trail for rest stops while taking in the sights and sounds of the woodland. All Ability flagstone picnic tables and benches feature at the car park site and picnic area.

Ros Bruce, Friend of Newtonhill Woodland and regular site users explained: "Newtonhill Woodland is a great place for jogging around. The safe surface and varied terrain together with the shelter given by the trees makes it a useful place in a Caithness climate."

The self guided trail leaflet has been upgraded through the Highland Biodiversity Project and is available on site along side new nature based interpretive panels. The attractive panels focus on wildlife that can be found at the woodland and offers some insight about the site history. The panels aim to raise awareness of the range of interesting wildlife that can be found on site and hopes to help visitors identify the many different species of birds, trees, plants, insects and mammals at the woodland.

Marina Finlayson, East Caithness ranger said: "I think we have achieved a great deal over the last few years and it is wonderful to see the improvements finally in place and people making use of the new facilities. It has been a community based project from the beginning and has been driven forward by the Friends of Newtonhill Woodland who have remained committed to the project. Help has come from all sectors of the community, with the Wick Brownies donating and planting up planter boxes and the 1st Wick scouts helping with bird box erection and litter picks. I'd like to thank everyone for their continued support.

"We welcome dog walkers the woodland and encouraged owners to be responsible by making use of the facilities such as dog bins and the dog bag dispenser.

"The people counters have proved that the site is well used. We hope that the improvements will attract more people to the woodland and that schools will find the site more suitable for their needs."

Rob Henderson, Chair of the Friends of Newtonhill Woodland said: "It has been exceptionally rewarding watching the transformation at Newtonhill Community Woodland to All Ability Access. This community project would not have been such a success without all the hard work from the committee and they deserve a special thank you. Thanks should also go out to Marina Finlayson and Dorothy Maxwell, Principle Project Officer with Highland Council Planning and Development Service, who have been an invaluable resource in finding the funding for this project. It is hoped this unique Caithness resource will be used and enjoyed for generations to come."

Way marking the bridle paths and foot paths was undertaken through the Highland Access Project and help identify the different user's routes at the woodland.

To minimise the problem of dog fowling along the paths, a bag dispenser and new dog bins have been provided.

The Transformation
For those who remember the days of the old dump, it is amazing to see Newtonhill as it is today. Some may even remember further back to when the site was used as a stone quarry? Despite the telltale sign left from past, the site is generally regarded as a fine example of environmental restoration.

The transformation of the dump into a community woodland in 1996 provided a valuable recreational facility close to Wick. During the landscaping process, the 11.6 ha site under went dramatic changes. The old car wrecks were crushed and stacked on site and helped form the viewpoint! Masses of rubbish was levelled and covered by topsoil and later planted with trees.  Run -off pollution from the waste was reduced by planting reed beds around the perimeter ditches and also provided new habitat for wildlife. Much of the ground was planted with broadleaf tree species and shrubs which
provided further shelter and food sources for wildlife.

The Friends of Newtonhill Woodland group aims to promote the conservation, protection and improvement of the woodland for the benefit of local people and to raise environmental awareness. With the Highland Council Ranger Service, the group has been involved in several community led projects such as litter picks, maintenance days, bird box erection, tree planting and environmental awareness raising events. With these improvements, it is hoped that the site will become more attractive to local people to visit and also increase the usage for school groups.

23 August 03
Newtonhill Woodland, Wick Is Awarded
£45,00 For Paths Upgrade
Grant Aid For Communities Affected By Quarrying

More than £550,000 in grants is to be paid out to 24 community projects addressing the environmental impact of quarrying in local areas.   Newtonhill Woodland, Wick is one of the beneficiaries to the tune of £45,000.  The old quarry was until a few years ago one of the county dumps for household waste. 

4 May 03
Beavers And Scouts Planting At Newtonhill community Woodland
The Beavers and 1st Wick Scouts were involved in a planting day up at Newtonhill on Saturday 29th March.  Here is a photo showing many of the young helpers on the day.  The flagstone flower beds were funded through the Planning and Development Service of the Highland Council in an attempt to encourage safe community involvement at all levels at the woodland.

30 April 03

The Friends of Newtonhill Woodland are having their AGM on Thursday 22nd May at 7pm at the Queens Hotel.  Everyone with an interest is invited to attend.

24 April 03
Newtonhill Woodland Open Day
The Easter Open Day held at Newtonhill community Woodland on Sunday 20th April turned out to be a wonderful success. The weather was fine and almost 200 people turned out on the day. The 'Friends of Newtonhill Woodland' and ranger service organised a range of events from a family treasure hunt to guided tours of the woodland and face painting. Assistance for the day was also given by the Pultneytown Peoples Project (who organised a egg and bonnet competition) and the 1st Wick Scouts (who organised the car parking and badge making).
The upgrade of the Newtonhill Self guided trail leaflet was launched on the day which made perfect timing. Mike Ellis came along with his demonstration on green gate making and information about willow bowers which was very interesting.
Over all the day ran very smoothly and was a successful community project as a range of community groups came together to help out. Many people had not visited Newtonhill Woodland before and so promotion of the site was also boosted.

8 April 03
Story So Far
Marina Finlayson goes over the project history and where it is going now.  We had the Beavers and Scouts out in force a week last Saturday to plant up the flagstone flowerbeds at Newtonhill Woodland.  The 'Friends of Newtonhill Woodland', Highland Council Ranger Service and Pultneytown Peoples Project are hosting a Easter Open day on 20th of April, gates open 2pm.

July 2002 Meeting
Some of the members of the 'Friends' of Newtonhill Woodland met to discuss the future of Newtonhill Community Woodland. The group gratefully received sponsorship from UKAEA for £100. The group plan to apply for other funding in order to carry out improvement works around the woodland.

Scouts Adopt Woodland As World Conservation Project
The Wick Scouts were out assisting the East Caithness Ranger Marina Finlayson on Saturday June 15 improving the paths at Newtonhill forest.  The Scouts have adopted Newtonhill forest as part of a World Conservation Project which introduces them to forest management and allows them to contribute to the community in a positive way .

Rangers Organise Woodland Spring Clean-up 9 May 2002
The recent clean up at Newtonhill Community Woodland, organised by the Highland Council Ranger Service on Sunday 5th May, was supported by several local groups. As part of the challenge to earn a World Conservation badge,    The 1st Wick Scouts turned out in force and removed substantial amounts of litter and waste from the woodland. Help was also given by the Caithness Critters, Caithness Countryside Volunteers and other members of the community.

Meeting 30 April 2002
A public meeting to discuss the future of Newtonhill Community Woodland, Wick was held at Mackays Hotel on Tuesday the 30th of April. Support for the recently formed community group, 'Friends of Newtonhill Woodland', was given by Councillor Deirdre Stevens who attended the meeting and discussed the importance and potential for a path linking Newtonhill to the town..........more

Meeting 19 February 2002
A public meeting, organised by the Highland Council Ranger Service, to discuss the future of Newtonhill Community Woodland was held in Mackays Hotel on Tuesday 19th February.   Despite the wintry weather, a good number of local people turned out expressing their interest in the woodland and offering support to the newly formed ‘Friends of Newtonhill Woodland’ community group. 

Accessible from Wick, the woodland provides shelter in poor weather conditions and is well used all year round for recreational activities such as dog walking, horse riding and running. In the past the woodland has suffered from a lack of community support. 

By forming the new community group, it is hoped that more local people will get involved in the short term running and long term management of the woodland.  The next ‘Friends of Newtonhill Woodland’ will take place on Tuesday 19th of March, 7.30pm at Mackays Hotel. 

Anyone with an interest in Newtonhill Community Woodland is warmly invited to come along.  For any more information please contact Marina Finlayson at the Highland Council Ranger Service on Wick 607758.