Second public meeting on woodlands

A SECOND public meeting to discuss the future of historic Kinneil Woods in Bo’ness takes place next week.

Bo’ness Community Council will hold the talks as part of its regular monthly meeting. The event takes place next Wednesday, February 13, in the rooms above Bo’ness Library, starting at 7 p.m.

The presentation will follow similar talks hosted by The Friends of Kinneil last night (Thursday, February 7).

The woods, which date back to the 18th century, are owned by Falkirk Council. The local authority has brought in the environmental charity Central Scotland Forest Trust (CSFT) to develop a management plan for the site – and to help win external funding for improvement works to be carried out.

Local people are being encouraged to attend public meetings and work with CSFT to help shape the future management plan.

The Council’s convener of environment and heritage, Bo’ness Councillor Adrian Mahoney, said: “The woods are well used by local people. It’s vitally important we work with them to plan for the future.

“The meetings held by the Community Council and The Friends of Kinneil are just the start of a wider consultation process to gauge public opinion and look at options for the years ahead. I’d encourage local people to come along and make their views known.”

Mike Ewart, CSFT’s sustainable development officer, will attend next week’s Community Council meeting. He said: “The woods have suffered from high winds in recent years. Many trees have been blown over and a substantial part to the west of the site has been lost. We’re now looking at ways to improve the area. Safeguarding local forests is essential to preserving wildlife and helping the environment. The public meetings will provide an opportunity to outline the present condition of the woodlands and to gain ideas on the future management of the area.”

Madelene Hunt, convener of Bo’ness Community Council, said her group had been looking at ways to improve the whole of Kinneil Estate. “The woods and the surrounding area are an important asset to Bo’ness, but need to be better managed in the future. I see there’s lots of potential for better maintenance. I’m pleased Mike Ewart is attending our monthly meeting to talk to us about plans for the woodland. All community council meetings are open to the public and I’d encourage local residents to come along and share their views with Mike and the Community Council.”

Friends of Kinneil chair Lynn Munro walks her dogs in the woods twice a day. She said: “We’re really lucky to have such a great woodland on our doorstep. But the site also faces lots of challenges, particularly with fallen trees – and vandalism. These are community woodlands and it’s really important that people come along and have their say.”

Anyone who would like to know more about the consultation process should contact Mike Ewart at CSFT on 01501 824795 or email: mike.ewart@csft.org.uk

Kinneil Estate was originally owned by the Duke of Hamilton. In 1922, the former Bo’ness Town Council – now Falkirk Council – purchased the woodland area and estate under the Public Parks Act. As well as acres of woodland, the park includes historic Kinneil House and Kinneil Museum. The Antonine Wall and a Roman fortlet, which runs in front of the main woodland, is bidding to become Scotland’s latest World Heritage Site.

Find out more about Kinneil by visiting www.kinneil.org.uk