Forestry work at Brodie Castle ongoing until weekend of October 17
Get a digital copy of the Forres Gazette delivered straight to your inbox every week
FORESTRY work is being carried out at one of Moray's most popular visitor sites.
Starting today (Monday, October 5), the gardening team at Brodie Castle will continue work they commenced earlier in the year, removing non-native species such as Sitka spruce that were planted over 50 years ago for commercial harvesting, which are now being replaced with native trees.
Operations manager at National Trust-run Brodie Castle, James Dean, confirmed the initial work will involve areas behind the castle adjacent to the Adventure Playground, and an area to the west of the pond.
He said: "The trees were planted before the trust took over the care of the estate. We left them in place longer than their usual commercial lifespan and the high winds over the past couple of years have started to knock some down. When this happens, it opens up the forestry block and exposes trees that are usually sheltered which in turn leads to a kind of domino effect."
Both the areas were planted in the late 1960s and early 1970s as commercial forestry blocks to be harvested in the early 2010s. The trust is harvesting the timber for commercial sale and restoring the areas to native broadleaf woodland that is more in keeping with the landscape.
Mr Dean said: "It makes most sense to fell them now - it’s safer for everyone and it also means that we have been able to generate some vital income for our charity from their sale."
Across the National Trust for Scotland estates, caring for woodland is part of ongoing conservation. The reinstatement of the native woodland will improve biodiversity and habitats for wildlife.
Mr Dean said: "The Castle Café will be closed from Monday October 5 to Friday October 9. The Adventure Playground at the rear of the castle will be closed from Monday October 5 to Saturday, October 11 as the rear area is felled. The pond area will be closed from Monday October 12 to Saturday October 17 and during this time we ask that alternative pathways are used for dog walking etc to avoid any risk with large machinery and felling operations."
Public disruption will be kept to as short a period of time as possible.
Mr Dean finished: "Our gardening team are looking forward to completing the essential work. There are woodland walks all around the estate and beautifully landscaped garden and the shrubbery that are accessible and free to all."