First Thursday of each month we meet in the wood to carry out various tasks & have a chat & a cup of tea. Everyone welcome. 2-4pm. Meet at the shelter or car park.
During the winter months we will continue thinning an area of dense birch regeneration. This allows more light through the canopy & encourages the ground flora.
Sunday 10th Dec: Santa visited the Gearrchoille. The lights will be in the wood from then till early January.
Kyle of Sutherland Gala Week and other local groups are organising a Magical Winter Woods event
Over the next week the woods are being decorated for an event on 11th Dec.
For one night only the woods will be transformed into Santa’s Magical Woods with lights and decorations and a few other surprises.
The event starts at the woods from 4pm -6.30. From 2pm in Ardgay Hall there will be mince pies and tea/coffee, art projects for children, a magician for secondary age and short carols concert.
A lantern procession will start from the hall to the woods at 3.45.
The event is open to All residents and will be a truly wonderful event bringing together our communities. Come and join us for all or part of it.
Please note the woods will be closed from 12 – 4 on this date. We ask that no pets are bought to the event and there is no smoking.
9th July Moth Traps with Margaret Currie & Andy Scott.
18th July Creepy Crawlies & Pond dipping with Ian Paterson
23rd July Puddle Jumpers Annual Quest
1st Aug Gala Week Event. Bushcraft with Ian Paterson
6th Aug Gala Week Event. Willow Sculptures with Ian Paterson
18th June AGM & Forest Schools talk with Lucy Williams
18th July Moth Traps with Margaret Currie & Andy Scott. Playing with Willow - simple weaving for children of all ages with Pippa Tran
4th August Den building with Andy Murray
13th July Chi Gung. A very basic introduction with Betty Wright
17th July Photography Workshop with Alex Collett
8thAug Highland council Ranger event. Pond Dipping with Ian Paterson
6th Sept moth identification with Margaret Currie & Andy Scott, county moth recorders for Easter Ross.
This summer Ian Paterson, Highland Council countryside ranger hosted series of three very successful bushcraft activities in the wood. Great fun for all who attended.
Weds 3rd July 10.30-12.30: Bushcraft 'Artisan': Making things - cord and charcoal
Weds 10th July 10.30-12.30: Bushcraft Pioneer: Building things- knots, lashes & bridges
Weds 17th July 10.30-12.30: Cooking things - bread, tea & cakes
We also plan to do more pond dipping, moth identification & a craft event in the wood.
August: Water carrying obstacle race - with optional fancy dress!
March: nest box building
May : pond dipping
June : jubilee tree planting
July : Dragonfly hunt
Oct: Wet 'n' Wild. Bird Ringing, Minibeast mayhem, Art workshops. All welcome.
August: The secret Life of the Gearrchoille. Moths and Pond Beasties. The weather was much kinder to us this time. Tony Mainwood set up 2 moth traps the previous evening and identified 27 species, including 10 not seen before in the Gearrchoille.
Then onto pond dipping with David McAllister. We found lots of beasties in the water - including newtlets, dragonfly larvae, water boatmen, pond skaters. We were very pleased that the pond had been so well colonised since it was dug last autumn.
May: Pond & Bridge Opening Event. Due to the weather this event was held in the Hall. We still had lots of fun!
CWA 2010 conference - Callander: Making Woodlands Work
Brigitte Geddes attended this 2-day conference in October.
Path & Pond work
The work on the paths in the wood which has been disrupting access throughout the summer , is now complete. This includes 2 level bridges with handrails, replacing the railway sleeper crossings which could be a bit of a challenge during wet weather!
The former Curling Pond has had a makeover, and is now an attractive wildlife pond, complete with dipping platform constructed from recycled plastic. The trees to the south of the pond have been thinned to increase the amount of light reaching the water, on of the suggestions from our amphibian expert, David McAllister.
The path and pond works were generously funded by:- The People’s Postcode Trust; Awards for All Scotland; The Sutherland Partnership; Ward 1 Councillors Discretionary Budget; North Childcare & Family Resources Partnership; Achany Wind Community Benefit Trust; Beinn Tharsuinn Community Benefit Trust; Highland Council; Plus, help and encouragement from Ardgay & District Community Council.
June: AGM 2011 Gearrchoille Community Wood Ardgay AGM will be held in Ardgay Hall.
Followed by a talk 'Venerable Trees' by local artist Ian Westacott.
Gearrchoille Community Wood in association with Community Woodlands Association hosted a moth identification day in June. We produced a moth identification leaflet - available in local shops for 50p - which included photos from the day & drawings by pupils from Gledfield Primary School.
The Gearrchoille wood walk has been included in the new leaflet, 'Discover East Sutherland's top ten walks' produced by Highland Birchwoods. Pick up a free copy at local shops & tourist attractions, or contact us. Also available to download from (Lots of other interesting things there too!)
Work continues on the Management Plan. We have done a small area of birch coppicing as a trial run.
The Gearrchoille Community Wood 2010 AGM & family fun quiz was held on Thurs May 20th in Ardgay Hall.
Monday 9th August
2nd Gearrchoille Extraordinary Perambulatory Treasure Hunt during Kyle of Sutherland Gala week
Saturday 18th July:
10am Ardgay Hall with Tony Mainwood of Butterfly Conservation. Learn about the variety, lifecycle and importance of moths. Take a close look at the species that were attracted to moth traps set overnight in Gearrchoille Wood. Weather permitting, we will visit the wood, so please wear suitable footwear. Children to be accompanied by an adult. Photo of bordered beauty - one of the moths found in the wood
AGM in Kyle of Sutherland Heritage Centre. Speaker: Steve Robertson, NHFT "Woodland Pasture"
AGM in Ardgay Hall. We will discuss the Management Plan and possible summer program & volunteer days. Speaker: David McAllister, Tain, author of our Amphibian survey, "What has happened to all the frogs?"
GCWA hold Open Day in the Hall, with Henry Fossbrooke (Milton Community Wood) & his Woodland Orchestra, Martin Watsmann (storyteller, Tain) and Sandie Beck (Natural Dye specialist).
North Highland forest Trust (NHFT) hold their AGM in Ardgay Hall, preceded by a walk through the Gearrchoille led by Steve Robertson.
Peter Quelch led a training event 'Ancient Wood Pastures in Sutherland' for NHFT, and the Gearrchoille was one of 6 sites visited. This will hopefully be followed up by a more formal survey in due course.