Dr Michael Foxley of Achaphubuil

Crofters and farmers in the west Highlands who are considering growing trees as part of their business are being invited to a ‘Walking and Talking Trees’ event in Ardgour, near Fort William. 

The free event is part of the Integrating Trees Network, which is an initiative led by crofters and farmers, and supported by Scottish Forestry and the Scottish Government.

Dr Michael Foxley of Achaphubuil will be inviting other crofters to take a tour with him on his croft to discuss the benefits of growing native trees.  

The event is being held as part of Scottish Climate Week and gives an opportunity to discuss the importance of tree planting in tackling climate change.

The tour of Dr Foxley’s croft is being held on Friday 30th September between 10:15am to 1:15pm.

Dr Foxley said: “It’s really timely that this event is being held during Scottish Climate Week. Not only are the croft’s trees helping reverse biodiversity loss, they are also helping the planet. Added to that, they are providing vital shelter on the hill for sheep.

“Getting the trees in the ground was a great feeling of achievement and pleasure, which only increases as the trees become more established. Within months I had ground nesting birds in the woodland, as well as buzzards hunting and orchids flowering on what had been a grazed hillside. A real joy!”

Scottish Forestry’s forestry and farming development officer Lyn White added:  “The Integrating Trees Network has proved very popular with farmers and crofters because of its informal yet informative approach.   

“The events put crofters and farmers in touch with other crofters and they can chat over tree planting experiences with no hard sell.

”Part of this ‘Walking and Talking Trees’ event is to discuss the importance of trees in tackling climate change and making a business more resilient to a changing climate.”

Dr Foxley has been planting native trees on his croft for around 40 years at No2, Achaphubuil and has been instrumental in helping other crofting townships develop in the area.

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He has been working alongside neighbouring crofters to regenerate the woodlands with a range of native trees and has used deer fencing and cattle grids to protect the woodlands.

Dr Foxley’s success has also been down to close partnership working and support from the Conaglen Estate, who own the hill grazings. They are collectively recreating a network of woodlands for wildlife corridors and biodiversity between the ancient woodlands of Camusnagaul and Achaphubuil.

During the tour, Dr Foxley will outline his initial thought processes on starting to grow trees and his objectives, challenges and the benefits planting has brought.

Staff from Scottish Forestry and Woodland Trust Scotland will be on hand to help with advice on forestry grants.

You can book a place on the tour by using the Eventbrite website here. To get more information on the Integrating Trees Network on their website.

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