Sleat Community Trust in south Skye has launched a fund-raising project for the community buyout of the 1,000 acre Tormore Forest. The target is £20,000
Recently the community in Sleat overwhelmingly endorsed the Trust’s aim to own and manage the forest for the benefit of locals and visitors alike. Following considerable voluntary work by a team of experts in the community of Sleat, the Trust is now ready to raise the funds and bring this fantastic asset into community ownership.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the community to gain control of land in their area.” says David MacFadyen, a Trust director. “Sleat Community Trust needs to raise £20,000 from public contributions by the end of this year to help fund the acquisition. The pontential is there for us to develop a sustainable community. At £25 an acre, it’s the best value land around for people to sponsor!”
The community ownership of Tormore has always been one of the key aims of the Trust. In 2005 it set up a Forestry Advisory Group to consider the viability of the project.
Tormore Forest is situated at the southern tip of the Sleat peninsula between the crofting townships of Ardvasar and Aird. It is almost entirely planted with rapidly maturing trees.
The Forest Group have published their substantial business plan which outlines a whole range of possibilities.
First and foremost is to develop the forest in a sustainable way develop towards a greater diversity of trees to improve the forest’s visual quality, nature conservation and recreational value.
There is great potential to establish a strong, sustainable local fuelwood economy through woodchip and firewood sales and thus reduce the community’s carbon footprint.
This will create local employment from forest management and timber processing.
Improved access will be created for walking, cycling and pony-trekking. Forest interpretation will allow the forest to be used as an educational resource by Bun-sgoil Shleite, the local Primary School.
Visitors and locals can enjoy the amenity of the area through recreational activities, including cultural, historical and archaeological interpretation. There are the remains of abandonded houses in the middle of the forest.
There is also the potential to create new woodland crofts. It has even been suggested that there could be a suitable location for ‘green’ burials.
While the bulk of the funding will come from business and agency sources, the local community needs to raise of £20,000. So for a mere £20 an acre, those with the best interests of Skye and Sleat in mind are invited to join in this exciting project.
Full details are given on www.tormore.org