Forest College is in its second year and here is what the project has achieved so far:

  • Continuing to deliver the Forest and Outdoor Learning Awards (FOLAs) Leadership course at SCQF levels 5, 6 & 8 in college.
  • 6 organisations now involved in delivering the Awards during the pilot phase and are approved assessors: Dalkeith HS, St Columba’s HS, North East Scotland Outdoor Learning Group (NESOLG), Forest School Training Company (FSTC), SRUC and Rossie Young People’s Trust
  • A Family Learning Group is being established to support outdoor education in the local area.
  • Forestry and Land Scotland kindly funded a residential Level 8 FOLA course for senior phase leaders, which was held in May 2019 here at Newbattle.
    • 35 partnerships developed with various local and national organisations eg. Art Club in Woodburn, Forestry & Land Scotland, Paths for All, Midlothian Council, SEPA, ONE Dalkeith, MAEDT etc.
    • 18 Woodland Volunteers have taken part in 5 practical habitat management sessions, with monthly sessions continuing over the summer and into autumn. Tasks have included invasive species removal, hazel coppicing, litter picks, path maintenance and ditch clearance.
    • 2 Event Volunteers have assisted with the delivery of the WLP as well as public events and sessions for community groups.
    • Delivery of Woodland Learning Programme (WLP) – 6 schools with 261 students engaged. Activities involved den building, campfire cooking, bioblitzes and scavenger hunts, colourful caterpillars, woodland crafts and Literally@Newbattle.
    • 5 volunteer hours donated to managing Lord Ancrum’s Wood from Woodland Volunteers, SRUC & Rural Skills students/tutors, Community Payback Team, Midlothian Path Access Volunteers.
    • 2 litter picks with Community Payback Team to tackle impact of anti-social behaviour. Developing partnership with Midlothian Council and Community Beat Officer.
    • 12 young people achieved Saltire Awards through partnership ‘Upskilling Project’ between Forestry & Land Scotland, Youthbuild, Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust and Forest College. At least one of these young people has applied to attend Rural Skills in academic year 2019/20.
    • 10 young people from Woodburn area attended ‘Working with Willow’ workshop held in partnership with Art Club.
    • 510 people have engaged in 11 public events – community consultations, guided walks, art sessions, geocaching, riverfly training.
    • 8 external organisations have used Lord Ancrum’s Wood for forest school, conservation, training and recreational activities. This includes: The Green Team, Midlothian Forest School, Forest Families, Woodland Learning Adventures, Forestry & Land Scotland, NESOLG, Newtongrange Primary School and University of Edinburgh.
    • 2 CPD sessions with Edinburgh College HNC Childcare Group in outdoor education ran in partnership with Forestry & Land Scotland. Activities included: risk assessment, den building, campfire cooking.
  • Woodland Management
    • Majority of footpaths strimmed and cleared.
    • Ditch and culvert clearance continues.
    • Hazel coppicing to encourage straighter growth and create mosaic of habitats for wildlife within wood.
    • Litter picks.
    • Willow structure created in Gatehouse back garden.
    • New Forest School sites identified and clearance begun.
    • Invasive species removed including snowberry, Himalayan balsam, wild privet.
    • Areas of anti-social behaviour cleared and tidied – work continues.
    • Leaf blowing throughout autumn / winter months.
    • Tree tube maintenance is ongoing.