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Dingwall community woodland vision takes root with public as Knockbain Farm proposal generates positive feedback

By Hector MacKenzie

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Richard Lockett.
Richard Lockett.

A proposed community woodland for Dingwall has received a ringing endorsement from local residents – and there's still time to have a say.

The woodland, which is planned for land on Knockbain Farm, was floated in September.

A video which introduced the concept was linked to an online questionnaire.

The consultation, which closes in just over a week, has received over 180 responses to date with 100 per cent of replies in support of the project.

Richard Lockett of Knockbain Farm devised the project and he is delighted with the feedback. “We are really pleased that so many people have taken the time to watch the video and fill in the questionnaire. As well as confirming that people are behind the idea, we’ve been inundated with suggestions and offers of support. It’s great that there is so much positivity around doing something like this at this challenging time”.

Some of the things that people have suggested include incorporating educational opportunities for children and involving young people, creating wildlife habitats, and ensuring that there is a strong steering group. Many responses have flagged up the success of the Evanton Community Woodland and learning from how this project is run.

Mr Lockett added: “aAter the close of the consultation we will analyse all responses and make plans for the next steps. We’ll get back in touch with everyone who has replied and will probably look to set up an online meeting with those who have volunteered to help.”

Richard Lockett said: "We havc been working with the Community Woodlands Association. We did that consultation instead of a public meeting because of the pandemic. If 180 people turned up to a public meeting and showed that sort of support, you would be over the moon."

He believes many people rekindled a love of the great outdoors and nature during the lockdown.

The timescale will be dictated by the tree planting windows. It would be nice to think we could be planting trees this time next year. I think we need to get a good structure and know who is doing what and how it will work." He said he is keen for more people to contribute to the consultation adding: "I don't want people to feel they have missed out."

People have expressed a preference for a native woodland. He said this would be a legacy project with schoolchildren being engaged in it now amongst those whoo will benefit the most.

Anyone who is interested has until December 6 to add their response. The video can be found by searching for ‘Dingwall Community Woodland’ online or by going to https://www.knockbainfarm.co.uk/discover/dingwall-community-woodland

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