Rewilding Denmarkfield With CTLR
The renewed national effort to plant more trees and increase the overall woodland canopy has been notable in recent years as government, public and private sectors come together to tackle carbon targets. As well as addressing environmental needs, academic studies have shown the important role trees play in absorbing pollutants and bolstering social and health benefits. We know that areas of forests or woodlands that are impacted by new developments will inevitably suffer from loss of biodiversity; consequently, there is a need to compensate for this.
Whilst development of the Cross Tay Link Road project has resulted in the loss of 12.7 hectares of woodland, it is targeted to provide compensatory planting of 13.53 hectares. In addition, the project will ensure that more than 100,000 trees and shrubs are planted across the site. This will generate a net-positive effect on the biodiversity of the area, as well as bringing additional social benefits including the restoration of lost habitats.
As part of their compensatory planting strategy, the CTLR team is also working with local community groups and schools to develop new habitats and improve biodiversity. These projects have been agreed with the Planning Authority and NatureScot, and include a partnership with Rewilding Denmarkfield, the community group focused on delivering a 90-acre rewilding project just north of Perth.
The first ground was broken onsite in December 2022, by a 27-strong group of BAM employees, the Friends of Denmarkfield community group, and the Denmarkfield Rewilding Project staff. Since then, there have been various site visits from local schools and groups to plant trees and gain knowledge around the rewilding scheme. The children and volunteers have planted more than 2,000 trees throughout these events and in addition to this, the project's landscaping contractor, GB Landscapes, has planted more than 8,000 additional trees across the rewilding site.
As well as supplying the trees themselves, project staff prepared the ground, supplied and fitted tree protectors, and provided and installed deer fencing on the site.
BAM Nuttall Project Director, William Diver, commented, “All trees have been sourced through Scottish suppliers and are indigenous to this region, so once established they will be sympathetic to vegetation in the surrounding area. This is a major rewilding project and a great example of our commitment to providing additional value to local communities as part of the Cross Tay Link Road project.”
The careful planning and design of the woodlands, community orchard and species-rich grassland, has also resulted in the creation of a 1km-long pollinator corridor. This connects the new woodland to the semi-ancient oak woodland which runs along the River Tay Special Area of Conservation. Rich in diverse forms of pollen and nectar from native flowering trees, shrubs, and herbs, this will provide habitat and food for a wide variety of pollinators and other wildlife. The Denmarkfield pollinator corridor lies within one of Buglife’s priority B-Line areas, a national project aimed at creating pollinator-friendly corridors throughout the UK.
Izzy Jones of Rewilding Denmarkfield commented, “Since our work with the Cross Tay Link Road project began, we have seen a 317% increase in bee recordings, and a 124% increase in butterflies throughout the whole site. We have also recently recorded pine martens on the site for the first time, and there have been 81 different bird species recorded onsite, 21 of which are of conservation concern.”
Ellie Corsie, Rewilding Denmarkfield Project Manager, said, “We are very grateful to the Cross Tay Link Road project for supporting our rewilding project. With the trees and fencing they have provided we are able to implement our ambitious and unique woodland creation project which will benefit biodiversity and the climate. We can’t wait to get enthusiastic plot holders in to grow fruit and vegetables, and hopefully build up a knowledge-sharing community.”
Perth & Kinross Council’s Roads Infrastructure Manager, Jillian Ferguson, commented, Jillian Ferguson, Project Manager from Perth & Kinross Council, commented, “As we look towards the future, and developing the space in which we live and work, there is an opportunity to make positive and long-lasting change. Not only will we address the immediate issues surrounding climate change, but we can also influence the biodiversity of our environment and provide health and wellbeing for generations.”
“The new woodland, orchard and allotment at Denmarkfield are just three of the many community benefits associated with the wider construction project. Ultimately, this project is about improving air quality by reducing vehicle emissions caused by traffic congestion, so it is a great bonus to be having positive carbon outcomes through new forestation as well.”
The Rewilding Denmarkfield Project
Community Benefits delivered over the period include:
Community Planting Day with ASN Students from Perth Grammar School, February 2024
Fifteen additional support needs students from Perth Grammar school were joined by Innes Mackintosh, Amanda McClintock and Ronnie Carr from the CTLR Community Benefits team to spend a day out of the classroom with Izzy Jones from Rewilding Denmarkfield. The hardworking crew planted approximately 65 trees during this session including hazel trees, silver birch, elder trees, oak trees and wild roses.
Jade Montgomery from DYW, who partnered with Perth Grammar School to arrange the event, commented, "Thank you all very much for this morning! We had the best time. One of the teachers I spoke with said it has been one of the best trips he has ever been on. We had the most amazing morning learning all about natural wilding, the environment and the pupils were incredibly engaged in planting different types of trees. It was such a fantastic experience. We would like to say a massive Thank you to Innes and his team from CTLR, and to Izzy from Rewilding Denmarkfield. You made the day extra special for our pupils."
Pitcairn Primary School, January 2024
This special tree planting event at Pitcairn Primary School was run in conjunction with the Rewilding Denmarkfield project, which CTLR has supported over the past 18 months.
30 children from primary 4, 5 and 6, rolled up their sleeves to get stuck into a day of tree planting with Ellie Corsie and Izzy Jones from Rewilding Denmarkfield. This included digging the holes with the designated shovel carrier and holder, placing the trees into the hole, and then covering them with fresh soil. The adults drove the poles into the ground and the children then placed the bio-degradable guard over the tree and placed the soil firmly back over the bottom of the guard to prevent any wildlife eating or destroying the newly planted trees and plants.
Community Woodland, Summer 2023
The community woodland covers 43,000m2 and is a broadleaf woodland with a mixture of oak, birch, rowan, hazel, aspen, holly, wild cherry, crab apple, dog rose, blackthorn and hawthorn.
A series of community events generated much in the way of support from over 30 local volunteers, and school visits from Luncarty Primary School. This was then supplemented by GB Landscapes who completed the planting across the area.
Moving forward, BAM Nuttall will work with Friends of Denmarkfield to maintain the planted areas for at least five years to facilitate tree establishment, and to ensure ongoing community involvement at key times such as the removal of tree guards and stakes once trees are established. The new woodland will then be managed long-term by the Rewilding Denmarkfield team.
Community Orchard, Summer 2023
With 180 fruit trees now in place, GB Landscapes’ planting of the community orchard was completed in April 2023. Featuring apples, plums, pears, medlars, damsons and greengages sourced from two local businesses – Plants and Apples in Blackhaugh, and the Community Farm at Spittalfield – the orchard should provide its first harvest in two to three years.
BAM Nuttall will cover annual professional pruning costs for years two to five and will assist in supporting community involvement in maintenance and harvesting. As part of this, a series of tree planting events for local people and schools will take place over the 2023/24 planting season.
Community Allotments, Summer 2023
Working closely with the Denmarkfield Rewilding team, BAM Nuttall and Perth & Kinross Council have created 49 allotment plots of various sizes, as well as arranging a shipping container to be donated by Greenwell Containers.
The plots have been built on a cycle path to encourage active travel (cycling or walking) and ease of use for all, and the ask is that all plots are cultivated organically. Currently, the allotments are available to residents from the Luncarty and Redgorton area.
December 2022 and January 2023
As one of the major components of the compensatory planting objective, the first ground was broken in December 2022 and since then volunteers, schoolchildren, parents and teachers have planted more than 600 trees.