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Latest developments and news items on Kilfinan Community Forest. Check out our Diary Dates for a full list of this years events!
Forest heritage teaching resourceForest heritage teaching resource
Added: 17 Nov 2015
As a result of our work uncovering the heritage of the forest, we’ve developed a teaching resource pack called ’The History of Our Forest - Learning About Our Heritage’.

It gives Tighnabruaich Primary School pupils and other visiting schools and groups a snapshot of the history of Kilfinan Community Forest. This will help with outdoor learning, providing the tools to explore the heritage sitting right on the doorstep.

Please feel free to download the pack.
Primary school helps celebrate 50 years of HIEPrimary school helps celebrate 50 years of HIE
Added: 02 Nov 2015
This week sees the 50th anniversary of the creation of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). Pupils from Tighnabruaich Primary School celebrated the occasion with a special photo shoot at the forest organized by HIE. The pupils each made a picture with berries, leaves and other autumnal things collected from the forest. They held them up to create the number 50 as seen in the photo above.

HIE has been a huge support to Kilfinan Community Forest over the years, helping us to build our financial sustainability and increase our capacity to deliver a range of economic, social and environmental benefits to the community. We are delighted to wish them ‘happy golden anniversary’ in this creative way!
ACT Perfect Picnic prizeACT Perfect Picnic prize
Added: 22 Oct 2015
Not only was the Teddy Bears’ Picnic a brilliant day, it also won £100 in the ACT Perfect Picnic Competition to help us improve the picnic area in the forest. How great is that? Thanks to everyone who organised the picnic and to Jen Morley for taking the photo that won us the prize! We’ll put the money towards building the forest shelter.
Walk for Health Walk for Health
Added: 20 Oct 2015
Autumn’s a great time of year to get outside and enjoy the countryside with a walk in the woods. And what’s more, it’s good for your health! We’re looking to organise Health Walks, starting in November. We’re working with the Argyll Nordic Walkers and ColGlen Walkie Talkies to come up with more details, but we expect to offer walks for all different levels. If you’re interested in getting involved, contact Sara Mclean on 01700 811159 or at
Attached File: View / Download
Woodworking ClubWoodworking Club
Added: 20 Oct 2015
Following the success of our ’Essential Woodworking’ weekend this summer, we’re planning to create a Woodworking Group. It’s still very much in the ideas stage, but we imagine the group will meet monthly here at the forest. Some teaching and guidance will be provided by our talented local woodworkers. Initially it will focus on green woodworking, but this could expand.

If you’re interested in joining the group, then contact Sara Mclean on 01700 811159 or at
Attached File: View / Download
 Hydro lift off at Kilfinan Community Forest
Added: 30 Sep 2015
We were delighted to officially launch our 75kW hydro-electric scheme last Friday (25th September) with a number of the community in attendance including children from Tighnabruach primary school. Michael Russell MSP did the honours of cutting the ribbon and the official ‘switch on’, followed by a demonstration of how the scheme works and the opportunity for attendees to ask questions.

This is one of a few community hydro-electric schemes in Scotland, and will deliver a reliable income to KCFC for a minimum of twenty years, as the electricity generated will be sold to the National Grid under the Government’s feed-in tariff scheme. Income will further enable KCFC to operate within a secure, self-sustaining business environment, so that the charity can continue to support jobs, offer new local employment opportunities, and provide other local benefits in the long term.

Michael Russell MSP for Argyll and Bute, said: “The new hydro scheme will ensure the continuing viability of the Kilfinan Community Forest by providing a steady and secure source of income, which is all the better as it comes from renewable generation. It is great to see so much happening in this community owned forest which is an exemplar for many others and I am delighted to be able to support the work here in many different ways.”

David Blair, Chair of KCFC, said: “Thank you to everyone for coming along – this has been a great celebration for us, as it’s been a long road to finally seeing the project off the ground. Despite legislative changes causing uncertainty over the future of the feed-in-tariff scheme, we hope that other community projects will still consider hydro as a means to create sustainability in their communities; we’re always happy to share information and experiences. Thanks to all of our members and supporters for their encouragement along the way; we look forward to seeing how the KCFC hydro scheme in action delivers important economic benefits to the community of Kilfinan”.
Attached File: View / Download
Social Enterprise of the Year Scotland shortlistSocial Enterprise of the Year Scotland shortlist
Added: 27 Aug 2015
We’re delighted to announce that we’ve been shortlisted for the Social Enterprise Awards Scotland 2015 under the ’Social Enterprise of the Year Scotland’ category along with five other brilliant organisations. We’ll keep you posted!
CWA conferenceCWA conference
Added: 27 Aug 2015
Six KCFC staff members and volunteers took part in the Community Woodlands Association (CWA) annual conference last weekend in The Royal Marine Hotel, Dunoon.

The theme of the event was ‘Working in Partnership’, and Rob Borrusso, our Operations Manager, gave a talk about how KCFC works in partnership with industry, the community, consultants and other stakeholders. Mark Bamford, KCFC Director, gave a green woodworking demonstration.

As part of the conference, site visits to Kilfinan Community Forest, Stronafian Forest and Glenfinart Walled Garden were organised. Around 40 delegates enjoyed a guided tour of our forest. It was a great opportunity to show them everything that had been achieved and talk about our plans for the future.
 Upper Acharossan - community ownership
Added: 19 Aug 2015
We’re delighted to announce that the Kilfinan community now officially owns Upper Acharossan forest under the management of KCFC, having completed the conveyancing process and transferred payment of £910,000 to Forestry Commission Scotland. This has been made possible through securing National Forest Land Scheme approval and a grant from the Scottish Land Fund to part-finance the purchase.

The acquisition brings a total of 561ha into community control, enabling KCFC to progress plans for extensive timber harvesting, which will deliver vital income to support local employment, recreation, skills and training, and affordable housing.

If you require any further information about our plans for the new forest, please contact Nikki Brown ( / 01700 811159), and we will keep you updated on developments in due course.

Check out the disposition map here, which shows the new landholding (within the purple boundary line).
 They carved, they sawed, they sculptured
Added: 05 Aug 2015
Our two-day ‘Essential Woodworking’ workshop took place at the weekend and was a huge success. Aimed at people with little or no woodworking experience, the course attracted over 30 people from all walks of life. Lots of local people took part, including eight young people on this year’s youth skills development project, as well as some from as far afield as Falkirk and Edinburgh.

The course was split into four sessions, each delivered by talented local woodsmen. The first session focussed on green woodworking in the natural environment and traditional methods using simple, traditional tools. In the second session participants built a log store. The third was be a lesson in wood carving. In the final session, participants worked with environmental artist Alan Kain to create a lasting forest sculpture. This incredible structure is made with freshly cut willow to create a ’nest’ which sits atop a viewing platform. Come up and have a look and check out the view.

Mark Appleton said: ‘The course provided a great introduction to the basics of woodworking. We covered everything from building a log store with a cordless screwdriver, to green woodworking using a shaving horse and draw knife to make a bow saw. The second day saw us making a simple chisel-sharpening tool which we personalised through letter carving and our group finished the weekend working on the forest sculpture. All in all, it was a fantastic weekend of meeting new people and learning new skills.

Don McInnes, who delivered the training in letter carving, said: ‘As a tutor I was hugely impressed with how well everybody did and the quality of the work produced by all the students. Their focus was amazing and once they began carving it was very difficult to get them to stop for a break. It was so nice to teach people who want to learn and you have to bear in mind that none of them had done any carving before. Quite remarkable and a joy to be part of.’
Attached File: View / Download
Calling crofters!Calling crofters!
Added: 03 Aug 2015
We’re delighted to announce that we’ve been granted planning permission to establish three residential woodland crofts in the community forest, with additional land available for crofts not requiring a house on the land. We’re now appealing to interested crofters to visit the forest and register their interest.

The aim is to create an active partnership with crofters who are passionate about living and working in the woods, to develop local resource production and improve the local economy as a result.

Woodland crofts in the community forest will increase the diversity of the local economy by producing many different types of resources. Woodland types could take common forms like orchards, coppice or standards, though they can also utilise more specialised forms like agro-forestry and continuous cover forestry. Limited percentages of woodland crofts are permitted to be kept clear for other crofting operations, allowing the development of garden centres, tree nurseries and market gardening.

We recognise that individual crofters will have their own unique approaches and ideas, however there will need to be significant site preparation in order to transform clear-fell into land suitable for crofting. Therefore we’re asking interested parties to organise a site visit first, to meet the directors and ensure that what is on offer fits their plans. They will then be in a position to complete a registration form and submit an outline plan of how they intend to manage the land.

David Blair, KCFC’s Chair, said: “Establishing productive woodland crofts would be achieving one of KCFC’s original goals of creating a truly living and working forest. The work involved and commitment required will bring together a determined group of people all with diverse plans for regeneration; pulling this workforce and knowledge base into the community will be of immense local value. We recognise that each crofter will have different requirements, and we are committed to working with them to ensure they have the necessary land allocation to suit their needs, although no individual croft will exceed 10ha.”

Contact Nikki Brown ( / 01700 811159) to arrange a site visit or for any further information. The deadline to register your interest is 30th September 2015.
Paths for all training Paths for all training
Added: 07 Jul 2015
We’re offering FREE training in path building provided by Paths For All on 15th & 16th July. The training will include surveying, designing and building community paths as well as path maintenance.

It’s all part of our plans to build a ’Heritage Walk’ through the forest. Last summer a team of archaeologists and volunteers carried out a survey of the forest, identifying features including a curling pond, reservoirs and an ancient drovers’ route. We now want to create a looped walk through the forest that takes in all these features. We’re really keen to get as many people as possible involved in the design and creation of this walk and we also need lots of hands-on path building support!

If you’d like to take part in the course, contact Sara Mclean on 01700 811159.
Forest Open Day rescheduledForest Open Day rescheduled
Added: 22 Jun 2015
We’re sorry we had to cancel our open day on 6th June – unfortunately with the wet weather and threat of high winds we had no choice. But we’re delighted to announce that we’ve rescheduled the event to 8th August to mark the end of the youth skills development programme. More details soon!
Mapping a heritage walkMapping a heritage walk
Added: 31 May 2015
Last summer a team of archaeologists and volunteers carried out a walkover survey of the entire forest. They found some really interesting things, including a sheiling (small summer dwelling), a curling pond, an old track with its origins perhaps within the medieval period and a series of features associated with the late 19th-century Tighnabruaich reservoir.

Because there were so many fantastic finds, we now have plans to create a short ‘Heritage Walk’ in the forest. The aim of the walk is to open up access to these interesting sites with signage and a clear path up through the forest.

To get the ball rolling, we’re holding a Volunteer Day on 30th June at 2pm to survey the route and plot where the features are. If you’d like to get involved and help out, we’d love you to come along. Contact Nikki for more information at or on 01700 811159.
 All systems go for KCFC hydro scheme!
Added: 27 May 2015
We’re delighted to announce we have secured a loan of £274K from Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF) and Social Investment Scotland (SIS), to install a 75kW hydro-electric scheme in the community forest. The run-of-river scheme will deliver reliable income to the charity for a minimum of twenty years, as the electricity generated will be sold to the National Grid under the Government’s feed-in-tariff scheme.

The scheme will be installed over the next two months by Co-hydro Ltd, a team of specialist contractors; installation will be overseen by KCFC and the system should be up and running by Autumn 2015. Once operational, the scheme will deliver monthly income to the charity, to benefit the local community through local employment, recreational facilities within the community forest, skills development and training opportunities, and community events.
2015 Producers’ Markets2015 Producers’ Markets
Added: 12 May 2015
The Kyles Allotment Group (KAG), which is based up at the forest, has announced the dates for the 2015 Producers’ Markets. The markets are held in the Kames Recreational Hall and are a great way to shop locally. Browse and buy a range of seasonal produce, plants, artisan foods, baking, locally made crafts and more. Plus the pop-up cafe serves up tea, coffee and delicious home baking. Entrance is free. 10am to 1pm.

The 2015 dates are:

Saturday 9th May
Saturday 13th June
Saturday 1st August
Saturday 5th September (Kyles of Bute Food Festival)
Saturday 5th December

Tables are available for £5 - please contact

Plus KAG wil be holding a Ceilidh on the evening of Friday 17th July.

Added: 02 May 2015
We’ll soon be installing three new ponds in partnership with the Scottish Dragon Finder Project (SDFP) to increase biodiversity by improving habitats. We’ll be making the ponds accessible to the public and installing a dipping platform and interpretation board next to the largest pond. We’ll also be organising volunteer days to create hibernacula from wood on-site and pond spoil. When the ponds are complete, we’ll be carrying out ongoing habitat work and monitoring amphibian and reptile populations on site.

Interested in getting involved? Contact us today on 01700 811159 or at
Summer work in the woodsSummer work in the woods
Added: 02 May 2015
This year’s youth skills development project will be take place for four weeks over the summer, from 13th July – 7th August 2015. We’re still accepting expressions of interest from young people aged 16-18 who are interested in applying, so hurry up and get your name on the list!

There are limited spaces available so we’ll be asking candidates to write up to 200 words on why they think they should be considered and what they feel they would get out of this opportunity. If you are unsuccessful this year you can always re-apply next year.

If you’re interested contact Nikki on 01700 811159 or at to discuss next steps.
Growing the tree nurseryGrowing the tree nursery
Added: 02 May 2015
Thanks to the volunteers who helped us prepare the clear-felled site next to the primary school. We planted the saplings and will shortly be installing deer fencing. We raised £2,700 towards this project through crowd funding and a private donation, which is fantastic. A tree nursery will do so much for forest regeneration and make it a nicer place to visit for years to come. Thanks to all who donated and continue to be involved.
British Science Week at KCFC - ’compost, food and worms’ workshop - 16th March, all welcome!British Science Week at KCFC - ’compost, food and worms’ workshop - 16th March, all welcome!
Added: 11 Mar 2015
Come along to an educational workshop on Monday 16th March, 10.30am-2.30pm and learn something new in time for the growing season! With Cowal’s ’Crofting Triangle’ schools (Strachur, Tighnabruaich & Toward). Attached is a timetable of what’s going on... we hope to see you there!

Attached File: View / Download
Success for KCFCSuccess for KCFC
Added: 05 Feb 2015
KCFC Becomes the first community group to successfully expand woodland ownership through the National Forest Land Scheme.

We are delighted to announce that KCFC has been awarded £750K from the Scottish Land Fund (SLF) to buy Upper Acharossan forest from Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS).
Upper Acharossan is a 434ha mixed conifer woodland sited adjacent to Kilfinan Community Forest (KCF), which the community also acquired from FCS in 2010. This will bring the total community ownership to 561ha, and increase KCFC’s capacity to deliver a range of economic, social and environmental benefits to the community of Kilfinan, including local employment, recreational facilities, training and skills development, and affordable housing. KCFC will use the knowledge and experience gained through managing the current 127ha woodland since 2010, to deliver a range of environmental improvements, including rhododendron control, deer management, and the enhancement of natural habitats.
The expanded community woodland will offer financial security to KCFC via an extensive harvesting programme, enabling timber to be sold commercially, as well as continuing to supply the community sawmill and wood fuel enterprise. Timber income will enable KCFC to take on more staff to help manage the expanded enterprise, and provide job security to staff presently employed by the charity. This will build KCFC’s capacity to deliver a number of development projects, all focused on bringing tourism to the area by improving access into the forest and introducing new recreational facilities. Planned projects include circular forest walks, bike tracks and camping areas, as well as the construction of a bunkhouse as low cost accommodation for visitors to the area. KCFC also intends to build a training centre in the forest, to host courses in land-based skills and other diverse disciplines, with the aim of encouraging local skills development and strengthening partnerships with other local businesses and groups. Volunteers will have the opportunity to get involved in certain projects and general forest operations, to help shape the development of the forest.


Nikki Brown development Manager: “This is a real turning point for KCFC. Our primary aim is to be a sustainable business which can support its own staff and core operations via income generated by the charity; having control of this much larger area will really strengthen our ability to do this. When the charity was first set up, our key objective was to bring the whole of Acharossan forest into community ownership, but for various reasons we were only able to acquire the smaller area. It’s a great result that five years down the line, the entire woodland will finally be under community ownership and management, and we look to the future with great confidence that we can continue the momentum and truly deliver everything we’ve set out to do. It has been a collective, concerted effort to deliver all the necessary requirements and development work to secure SLF funding and NFLS approval within a very short space of time, and we would like to thank to Highlands and Islands Enterprise for their support through the acquisition process. Exciting times ahead.”

Kerrien Grant, Head of Strengthening Communities, Argyll and the Islands: “HIE is delighted with the news that KCFC has secured this investment to expand their flourishing social enterprise. HIE has supported KCFC for a number of years to grow and develop new revenue
streams to ensure future sustainability. KCFC is an excellent illustration of how a dedicated and enthusiastic team owning and managing a community asset acts as a key driver for growth and resilience, particularly in our region’s more remote areas.”

Malcom Wield, Forestry Commission Scotland’s NFLS programme Manager, said: “This is another great success for the National Forest Land Scheme. The Kilfinan Community is the 25th to have successfully completed a purchase under the scheme and we wish them every success in achieving their aspirations.”
Calling all budding Archaeologists!! Calling all budding Archaeologists!!
Added: 14 Jan 2015
Last summer a team of archaeologists and volunteers delivered a walkover survey of the entire forest. They found:
- A sheiling (small summer dwelling).
- A curling pond.
- An old track with its origins perhaps within the medieval period.
- A series of features associated with the late 19th century Tighnabruaich reservoir built to supply fresh water to the newly built, middle class merchant village of Tighnabruaich.
Having identified these features, we’re now considering the next stage of development. Want to be involved? Come along to a public meeting on 22nd January, 7pm, at Kames Church Hall to discuss ‘phase 2’ plans and have your say. Alternatively call us on 01700 811159 if you would like to discuss these findings further, or offer any contribution to the next phase.
Black Friday Special Offers Black Friday Special Offers
Added: 28 Nov 2014
Go Green this Christmas! We’re offering you some fantastic Black Friday deals. If donating and sponsoring a good cause wasn’t enough, how about considering these discounted gifts for a loved one?

Do you have a friend or family member who loves woodwork? We have a discount special exclusive to you for Black Friday weekend with our courses at two for one!

For this weekend only we have a special sentimental offer for you. If you’re not wanting to break the bank this Christmas but still want to buy someone a lovely gift, how about our special offer on our perks – you’ll only be spending as little as £20 for 3 special gifts! You have the choice of: Sapling, Sapling & Tour OR Sapling, Sapling & Cards. Remember, you only have this offer between Black Friday & Cyber Monday!

To get these fantastic discounts and Christmas savings, choose your perks and contribute to Kilfilan Community Forest here. Spread the joy this Christmas and remember to Sponsor a Sapling!
 Intended community purchase of Upper Acharossan Forest
Added: 13 Nov 2014
On 26th October a public meeting was held in Kames Village Hall.

Nikki Brown (Development Manager) gave a very informative presentation explaining how KCFC now proposes to buy 432ha of ‘Upper Acharossan’, from the Forestry Commission Scotland, via the National Forest Land Scheme.

Prior to the meeting, a survey was delivered to all local residents with a ‘Feedback’ form attached.

The forms had a list of ten questions regarding the proposed use of the forest and the feedback was very interesting.

The response to the questions highligthed a a high level of support for Local Employment Opportunities and Skills Development, Education & Training as well as other areas for development.

We also received a large number of positive comments from residents about how to manage the next phase of the forest.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond.
 Annual General Meeting (AGM) – Thursday 27th November 2014 at 7.00pm
Added: 13 Nov 2014
We would like to extend a warm invitation to our sixth AGM of the Kilfinan Community Forest Company on Thursday 27th November 2014 at 7.00pm in Kames Church Hall.

We would like to update you on the progress in the forest, again it has been an amazing year and we hope you can come along and find out what is happening in the forest and help shape its future!

We look forward to seeing you there.
Long John Silver Visits KCFCLong John Silver Visits KCFC
Added: 12 Nov 2014
On Wednesday 5th November, KCFC enjoyed a visit from The Walking Theatre Company who gave a superb performance of Treasure Island.

Tighnabruaich and Kilmodan Primary schoolchildren joined forces to search for ‘Treasure’ in the Forest.

Kids (large & small) had a great time playing pirates and fortunately the weather was fantastic.

Thanks to all involved for a great day.
KCFC Sponsor a Sapling!KCFC Sponsor a Sapling!
Added: 21 Oct 2014
Our ’Sponsor a Sapling’ campaign has now launched!

You can help us repopulate the damaged areas of the forest by donating £20 to ‘Sponsor a Sapling’. Your sapling will be planted in Kilfinan Community Forest and you’ll receive a certificate with the details of your tree which you can visit any time.

We hope to raise £5,500 to cover the costs of the job, which include buying 500 saplings and deer-fencing the area.

Rob Borruso, Director, says: ‘With the pressures from deer and invasive species such as rhododendron and knotweed, a ‘natural’ forest will not regenerate if it is left alone.

‘By giving the native trees a head start in our new nursery we should avoid the need for more aggressive interventions in the future such as deer culling or rhododendron burning, as the majority of the saplings will grow strong to take care of themselves when they are transplanted out into the forest.’

Tighnabruaich Primary School already use the area for outdoor learning, and the group hope that the reforestation of the damaged area will encourage the community to make more use of the forest for recreation.

The project creates a unique opportunity for the children. Fiona Hamilton, Head Teacher, Tighnabuaich Primary School, says: ‘Having the pupils involved in establishing the tree nursery will give them a real sense of ownership and an opportunity to understand woodland management and the lifecycle of trees through first-hand experience.’

Nikki Brown, Development Manager for the site, says: ‘We’re really excited to launch this project, as it enables people to be personally involved in the forest by fostering their own sapling, which will ultimately join many others to regenerate the native woodland. There’s also a strong educational element to the tree planting and general care of saplings, and we’re pleased to be working with the local school in tandem with their forest school learning.’
 KCFC wins award for involving and supporting volunteers!
Added: 09 Oct 2014
KCFC has been named ’the organisation that has most improved its ability to involve and support volunteers’ in the Celebrating Voluntary Action Awards 2014! Big thanks to Craig Blair for all his hard work during his time here as volunteer coordinator.. and thanks to every one of our volunteers, whether you were involved in archaeology week, clearing paths, chopping wood... you are all stars for your involvement in helping to shape the future of the community forest!
 KCFC is looking to expand!
Added: 06 Oct 2014
We are delighted to announce our plans to buy Upper Acharossan forest (432ha), which sits on the outskirts of the 127ha area which is currently owned by the community and managed by KCFC. Successful acquisition of Upper Acharossan via the National Forest Land Scheme (NFLS) would secure the long term future of the charity and deliver many local benefits, all with the aim of creating local employment opportunities and bringing long term sustainability to the wider community.

KCFC intends to acquire 432ha in total, which would be managed as part of the current forest enterprise, expanding to 559ha in total. The new area would further increase our capacity and ability to deliver a range of important local benefits to the community, predominantly to create local employment, offer volunteering, training and skills development opportunities, make environmental improvements, expand the forest amenity, secure the long term timber supply to the sawmill, and increase supply of local wood fuel.

The District Valuer has been instructed jointly by KCFC and FCS to deliver a formal valuation of the land, which is due to take place in October, following a formal notification from the Kilfinan Community Council that KCFC will act on behalf of the local community to secure this acquisition. We intend to raise the majority of funds through the Scottish Land Fund – a programme which supports communities to become more resilient and sustainable through the ownership and management of land – aiming to raise the remaining percentage from timber sales.

A crucial element of the acquisition process is gaining insight from the local community as to their key priorities for developing the potential new forest, therefore we are in the process of organising a community consultation exercise, to culminate with a public meeting on 16th October at Kames Recreational Hall (1.30pm-7pm). At this meeting, you will get the opportunity to hear about our plans for the acquisition and provide feedback. As part of the community consultation exercise, we have hired three local students from Dunoon Grammar School as Consultation Assistants, to deliver promotional materials to people living in the PA21 area informing them about the intended acquisition, as well as an invitation to the public meeting.

Our Development Manager, Nikki Brown, says: “There are exciting times ahead for KCFC and the community at large. Everything is moving in a positive direction, and we hope to be in ownership of the new forest this financial year, which will be a real game changer in everything we’re doing. The acquisition will not only bring financial stability to the charity predominantly through long term timber sales, it also opens up a world of opportunity for expansion and development. I would urge everyone with an interest to come along to our public meeting on 16th October, so we can collectively consider the very real benefits this acquisition will bring. Meanwhile there’s much work to be done to complete all the necessary development work required to support our NFLS application; we would like to thank Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the Forestry Commission Scotland’s Communities Fund for funding this work.”

Don McInnes, Chair of Kilfinan Community Council, comments: “The Community Council is delighted that KCFC is able to purchase additional land to develop their forest operations further and has our full support. Our close ties with the Community Forest project and their vision of providing sustainable jobs locally together with affordable housing will help to regenerate our community and attract new young people to live and work here. Their contribution to the community is greatly appreciated.”
 Kilfinan Community Forest moves towards a sustainable enterprise
Added: 02 Oct 2014
Generating steady sources of income with big plans for future development

KCFC is making steady progress towards financial sustainability, with various activities and initiatives now in place that collectively deliver income for the charity to support its staff and fund projects. We now have in place a fully operational sawmill, which delivers cut-to-size milled timber for items such as garden sheds, picnic benches and log bunks. We also sell timber commercially due to the construction of a 500m arterial road, which has enabled better access for harvesting and timber extraction. Further income is generated via wood fuel and a community composting facility. KCFC currently employs a full time Site Supervisor and Operations Worker to run its site operations, where duties include fulfilling sawmill and wood fuel orders, and managing the community composting facility.

Looking to the future, we’re set to install a micro-hydro scheme. Plans are also in place for low cost housing at the forest, which will be unique and original, both in terms of design and ownership model. The houses will be constructed using local materials including the forest’s own timber, and it is promised to be affordable to run, given the need for low cost housing in the area. Local resident, Nikki Brown was also recently appointed as our new Development Manager, a two-year post part funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), to maximise income streams and explore new opportunities.

Nikki says: “There are so many exciting things happening at the forest. We are currently full steam ahead with the hydro and housing, revenue streams which will put the forest on a firmer financial footing and enable the charity to keep supporting its staff and employ more people. We’re also planning to purchase an additional area of forestry, which, if successful, will secure the long-term timber supply to the sawmill, increase the forest amenity, and provide potential for a further micro-hydro scheme.

Projects upcoming in the very near future include a ‘sponsor a sapling’ crowdfunding campaign to regenerate an area of native woodland; we’ll also soon be inviting volunteers to help create new ponds to encourage frog-life. More on these initiatives very soon! We’d like to thank all our funders, in particular HIE and LEADER, for their support in developing the forest as we know it today; without their backing I don’t think half of what we consider now to be achievable would even be possible. We have been Account Managed by HIE for a number of years, and this has no doubt supported our sustainable growth.”

Kilfinan Community Forest delivers diverse skills development opportunities through volunteering and school work placementsKilfinan Community Forest delivers diverse skills development opportunities through volunteering and school work placements
Added: 13 Aug 2014
KCFC is pleased to announce it has successfully delivered three projects in volunteering, archaeology and a paid work placement, to help people from the local area and beyond gain skills and benefit from unique training opportunities. KCFC ran a six month ‘Volunteer For Skills’ programme (funded by the Voluntary Action Fund), as well as a four week pilot work placement in July with five 15-17 year old students from Dunoon Grammar school. This culminated in a formal archaeology walkover survey of the entire forest (funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund) with professional archaeologists Argyll Archaeology and volunteers from the local community.


KCFC’s ‘Volunteer For Skills’ project involved volunteers working at the forest in exchange for unique training opportunities, giving them practical experience in all areas of forestry and in many cases helping to improve their employability. KCFC was able to provide a combination of formal and in-house training for 44 volunteers, with training courses including: wood carving, emergency first aid at work, chipper (Lantra), telehandler, Chainsaw City Guilds NPTC, and a course in pesticide spraying. KCFC also provided inductions on the Wood-Mizer sawmill and firewood processor. Whilst volunteers were gaining skills, they were also able to offer useful work for the forest, including firewood processing, saw milling, path and wind blow clearance, and tree felling.

As a result of his excellent volunteer work over the course of four months, Andrew Mackenzie from Dunoon is now employed part time as KCFC’s Operations Worker. He says: “I was really happy volunteering at the forest as I was able to get formal qualifications in different areas of forestry; I’m now getting paid work at the forest which was the ideal outcome – it’s helping me to develop my skills and experience even further”.

School placements

During their summer holiday in July, KCFC employed five students from Dunoon Grammar School in a four week pilot work placement, in which they would get paid to work, whilst benefiting from land-based, nature, and archaeological skills and training. The students were involved in creating a forest squirrel walk from start to finish (including training in sign carving and bench making), planning an event space area, developing a forest product, and acting as team leaders in KCFC’s archaeology walkover survey. KCFC received valuable feedback from the students at the end of their placement, which was also celebrated with a barbecue and presentation of their work, attracting 30 attendees from the local community.

One student’s parent said: “I’m amazed at how my son has developed during his placement at KCFC. He has thoroughly enjoyed his time here and may consider a change of direction and look to work within the forestry industry”. Another student’s parent said: “Getting paid three days per week provided some balance and meant he could enjoy his summer holiday as well. The placement has given the students wider experience in different disciplines, as well as a sense of purpose and something to put on their CVs. It’s also opened my eyes to all the positive things happening at the forest”.

Archaeology week

The archaeological walkover survey was a great success, with over 20 volunteers taking part and being trained in the art of archaeological survey by Clare Ellis and Ben Bendiks of Argyll Archaeology. The team surveyed all of the forest, weaving their way through dense forest, leaping over bogs and scaling the height of Barr Liath from which they were treated to fantastic views south to Arran and beyond. Exciting discoveries included the route of an ancient road which is shown on a 1747-55 military map running northwards through the forest. Clare Ellis said: “We have discovered that this road is still visible in many places. Much of the road is lower than the surrounding ground, eroded by hundreds of years of use by women and children taking their cattle up into the hills for the summer grazing as well as by drovers taking their cattle to market”.

The team also recorded the original water tanks and a series of weirs associated with the Tighnabruiach reservoir, which was built in the late 19th century. The weirs create a series of dramatic ponds within a natural gorge of the Allt Mor, all of which can be appreciated from the newly clear forest path. Also found during the clearance of rhododendrons was a curling rink which was in use until the 1950s. Clare said: “We are really keen to find out more about the rink. We would love to hear from you if have photographs of the curling rink being used or if you or one of your relatively used the rink; is it true for example that women weren’t allowed to use the rink?” Please e-mail your photos or stories to Clare at

Colin McLean, Head of HLF Scotland, said the archaeology project was a great example of uncovering hidden heritage: “It is great to find the hidden clues as to the way our ancestors lived and how the community around here developed into what it is today. By delving into this history, volunteers have not only expanded their knowledge and learnt lots of new skills, but it has also added a unique record of the area for others to learn, enjoy and – hopefully - be inspired by.”

KCFC’s Chairman, David Blair, commented on the success of these initiatives: “Involving volunteers at the forest and working with partner organisations to reach as many diverse groups as possible, is fundamental to our ethos and will continue to happen in the future. What started as an initiative to encourage volunteers to the forest has developed into a diverse work programme where people can gain real, practical skills to improve their employment prospects. The forest was buzzing over the summer as a result and we certainly hope to build on the success of this project and develop it even further.

“We’d like to thank everyone involved in making the programme such a success – in particular our former Volunteer Coordinator Craig Blair, as well as our partners, funders and the volunteers themselves. We’d also like to thank the placement students, who were an excellent addition to the KCFC team and brilliant at leading volunteers during archaeology week.”

If you are interested in volunteering at KCFC, please contact KCFC’s Development Manager Nikki Brown – / 01700 811159.
 Kilfinan Community Forest Scoops Top Prize in Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards 2014
Added: 30 Jun 2014
We’re delighted to announce KCFC won ‘Promoting Viable Livelihoods’ in the Community Woodlands category of Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards 2014. The award recognises projects which focus on involving communities in using woodlands to deliver economic development and thereby promoting viable livelihoods.

As winner of this prestigious award, we were invited to attend the Royal Highland Show on 20th June, to collect first prize of £1000 and a cherry wood plaque. The prize money will go towards the creation of a unique forest sculpture, which will serve as a permanent recognition of the forest’s achievements to date.

In the last year, KCFC has employed four staff, built an access road into the forest to extract and sell timber, set up a sawmill business which is serving the local community and beyond, and developed a range of unique forest products to sell to the public. In partnership with the Voluntary Action Fund (VAF), KCFC has also successfully delivered a ‘Volunteer For Skills’ programme, which enables volunteers to benefit from unique training opportunities and learn new skills, to aid their route to employment. KCFC is also in the process of establishing affordable housing in the forest, and will soon be installing a hydro system. These activities combined are paving the way for a sustainable future, as well as answering important local economic, social and environmental needs.

David Blair, Chair of KCFC, commented on the award: “We’re so grateful to be recognised for all the work that has been put in by the staff and volunteers at the forest. The new infrastructure and machinery such as the Woodmizer sawmill offers great potential to add value to the forest products while keeping that value local rather than having product shipped away only to be brought back in another form with the profit leaving the county. This offers great value to our customers locally on products that would otherwise have to be brought in.

Thanks to all those who have offered support over the years, including various funders and donors who have acted as a vital catalyst to get the project off the ground. The forest has progressed in leaps and bounds and will continue to help improve the area for future generations.”

Peter Wilson, Executive Director of Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards commented: “Kilfinan is a shining example of the value that can be unlocked when an able and motivated community takes ownership of a substantial mature woodland. The project has made huge strides in a short space of time in harvesting a mature conifer crop, developing a sawmill, a shop, a micro-hydro power scheme, community growing areas, achieving FSC accreditation, and is moving towards the building of affordable housing units made from timber felled on site. The project is providing employment and future housing and reconnecting local people with their local history, which puts the woodland right at the heart of community”.
Archaeology Volunteer Project 26th July - 31st  JulyArchaeology Volunteer Project 26th July - 31st July
Added: 24 Jun 2014
Sign up, get trained by Argyll Archaeology and explore your forest! Who knows what we may discover!
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Youth Summer Placement July 2014Youth Summer Placement July 2014
Added: 24 Jun 2014
4 places available for local youths 16-17. Gain work experience, learn new skills and enjoy your summer in your forest!
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Volunteer For SkillsVolunteer For Skills
Added: 09 Apr 2014
Looking for volunteering opportunities and other ways to get involved?
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 KCFC Renewables Newsletter
Added: 09 Apr 2014

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 KCFC’s Latest Newsletter
Added: 09 Apr 2014

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Kings Court VolunteeringKings Court Volunteering
Added: 09 Apr 2014
KCFC welcome the boys from Kings Court each Friday from 10-2pm who are kindly helping us clear the windblow caused by the recent storms. They are proving to be a great help clearing brash from the damaged path network. Hopefully the paths will be open again soon, thanks to their help and support-great team effort guys!
KCFC receives commendation at Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards 2013KCFC receives commendation at Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards 2013
Added: 03 Jul 2013
We’re delighted to announce KCF has received a judges’ commendation for ‘promoting viable livelihoods’ in the Community Woodlands category of Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards 2013. This award recognises projects that actively involve communities in using woodlands to deliver economic development and thereby enhancing peoples’ livelihoods.

Nikki and Eamon accepted the engraved cherry tree plaque at the annual prize-giving event, which took place at the Royal Highland Show on 21st June. KCF submitted an entry to promote a number of achievements made over the past year, including four new jobs having been created, close ties established with the local community particularly relating to recreation, and a structured volunteering programme which focuses on developing participants’ forestry skills.

Peter Wilson, Executive Director of Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards, comments: “Congratulations to the Kilfinan Community Forest. Our judges said that Kilfinan is an impressive and well managed community forest, which is very effectively integrated into the community. A number of projects are progressing well and are beginning to create and sustain real jobs and spawn economic initiatives”.
Volunteer For SkillsVolunteer For Skills
Added: 19 Jun 2013
KCFC has been working closely with a number of local organisations, including HELP, the Community Payback Scheme and Dunoon Job Centre, offering volunteering opportunities to people who are out of work or having to fulfil community service hours, as well as to those who simply want to develop their forest management skills.

Twice a week since Easter, 5 young people and their supervisor from HELP Projects Community Task Force, have been helping out around the forest. They have been extra hands for the Kilfinan team, assisting with everything from clearing rhododendrons, to creating steps and erecting bird boxes, to clearing paths and drainage ditches, and a whole lot more besides. Declan Reilly, one of the Task Force members, comments: ’I am really enjoying helping out at Kilfinan. I love working outdoors and am planning to train as a Forester. The experience that I have gained here will be really useful when I apply for jobs and college courses”.

We’re in the process of developing a comprehensive training scheme which will offer such volunteers free in-house training in areas such as first aid, chainsaw and rhododendron control. More details coming soon!
Forest FellingForest Felling
Added: 19 Jun 2013
Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) issued KCFC with a licence to extract a number of mixed conifers within a 16 hectare area of the forest. Felling started in May and will continue throughout the summer. This will enable us to build a vital access road into the forest to harvest timber, build a timber processing yard, and develop our wood fuel business. It will also allow us to create a network of woodland walking and cycle routes. We also plan to increase the amount of native broadleaves within the 16 hectare site, to increase biodiversity and visitor enjoyment.

Felling is a necessary part of effective woodland management, to harvest mature trees and restock selected sites to allow for natural regrowth. For any further information, please get in touch. We apologise for any disruption caused during this time.
 KCFC on BBC Radio Scotland!
Added: 26 Apr 2013
Listen to our Development Officer, Eamon King, on the BBC’s ’Out of Doors’, discussing how the community forest project is attempting to wean itself off grants and become almost entirely self-funding.
 KCFC secures Awards for All Scotland funding to deliver new recreational facilities
Added: 27 Feb 2013
To establish a centre of learning within the forest and encourage community involvement

We’re delighted to announce we have been awarded £10,000 from Awards For All Scotland to help deliver new recreational facilities and provide forest education activities, within a seven hectare area of the forest. The money received will ultimately go towards establishing a real community resource, where people of all ages and from all parts of the community can exercise, relax, learn and celebrate, such as running educational woodland workshops with local primary school children.

Local volunteers have already given up their time generously to creating a pathway into the forest, in order to clear space for the next stage of development, for which the funding will be used. This will be to develop new trails, create more pedestrian access points into the forest, erect squirrel and bird boxes, provide new picnic areas, create new information and display boards, install a bicycle rack, and improve and increase public car parking facilities.

We would like to thank Awards for All Scotland for their kind support. To celebrate the completion of the work, we will be holding an official open day event this summer, where we will be showcasing our new recreational area, and demonstrating valuable woodland skills. Keep an eye out for developments!

If you have any queries please get in touch.
 Three new staff at KCF!
Added: 14 Feb 2013
New Forest Operations Manager, Forest Operations Administrator and Forest Operations Worker

Over the coming months, Jamie Chaplin-Brice, Nikki Woolf and Colin Willment will be busy developing plans for exciting projects, including building a timber processing yard and a forest & garden retail outlet. Monitor our news section for latest developments!

One of our key aims is to create local jobs and encourage people to live and work in the area; we’re delighted to be able to do this. Roll on 2013!
Phase three lift offPhase three lift off
Added: 26 Sep 2012
We’re about to enter an exciting new phase in our development thanks to funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and LEADER.

The money will support a one-year ‘Phase 3 Development Project’ that aims to increase our income-generating capacity by establishing a timber processing yard and garden retail outlet. In addition, the project will build 500 metres of vital access road into the forest and will create three new jobs. HIE and LEADER are both contributing £79,100 to the project and we’re contributing £23,280.

The road is a key development, as it will provide an ‘artery’ into the forest. It will enable us to start harvesting a number of stands of timber to raise money. It also means that other planned recreational projects, such as walking and cycling trails through the forest, can be progressed more easily over the coming years.

The timber processing yard, with an industrial-grade milling machine, will allow us to deliver a professional timber supply and delivery service to the local area and beyond - a valuable new income stream for us and a great service for local people too. The garden retail outlet will sell a small range of essential garden and forest products, including seasoned fuel wood from the forest.

We will be recruiting a Forest Resource Manager, a Forest Resource Worker and a Forest Resource Administrator to deliver this project. The posts will be advertised over the coming months, so keep an eye on our website and the local press.

If you have any questions about the project, please get in touch.
New Caledonian WoodlandsNew Caledonian Woodlands
Added: 19 Sep 2012
Twelve volunteers from the charity New Caledonian Woodlands spent last weekend helping to develop a network of short paths through the forest. They worked with local volunteers, who have been working on the project for several months.

The group achieved a huge amount and even managed to extend a path right up the Alt Mhor burn to a waterfall that has been inaccessible for years.

It’s not the first time that New Caledonian Woodlands have given their support to KCFC. Last year they helped to build to the path from Tighnabruaich Primary School up to the forest.

A huge thank you from everyone at KCFC!
Blazing a trailBlazing a trail
Added: 19 Sep 2012
A huge thanks to our band of trusty volunteers who have been working away – come rain or shine – to develop a network of short paths in the forest for local people to use.

Starting at the carpark, the paths wind through mixed woodland to the Allt Mor burn. The volunteers have been meeting on a Tuesday afternoon, blazing a trail through the woods, removing fallen tree trunks and marking out the way.

The project was given a huge boost over the weekend when a group of 12 volunteers from New Caledonian Woodlands came to help. They camped in the forest and worked for two days, extending a path right up to a truly fantastic waterfall that’s fed by the old Victorian reservoir that used to supply the village.

There’s still a lot of work to be done on the path network, but do feel free to come up and explore the paths and have a look at the waterfall (although you will need sturdy boots!). It’s a beautiful spot that was previously inaccessible.

The long-term plan is to provide tables and benches in a clearing by the waterfall where people can picnic. There are many native trees, including birch, oak and rowan, as well as pine, and the woodland is rich in wildlife.

If you would like to get involved in the path project, you would be very welcome. Email or just turn up on Tuesday afternoons.
New directorsNew directors
Added: 27 Aug 2012
We’re delighted to welcome three new directors to our Board. Willie McAllan, Rob Borruso and Steve Williamson all bring a wealth of skills and experience with them, as well as bags of enthusiasm.

We would also like to say thank you to Stuart Jack and Penny Graham-Weall, both of whom recently stood down, for all their hard work over the years. Stuart, who served as Chair, gave an enormous amount of time and energy to the project and achieved a huge amount. Penny’s marketing input and passion for community development has been invaluable. We will miss them both.

We now have seven board members, but we’re always looking for enthusiastic people to join us. We’re particularly keen to get a few more women on the board, so please do get in touch if you’re interested to find out more.

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Compost facility open for businessCompost facility open for business
Added: 18 Aug 2012
You can now compost your garden waste, easily, safely and for FREE thanks to our exciting new community compost facility that has just been opened.

The facility is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2pm- 6pm and on Sundays from 12 -4pm. It is a state-of-the art facility constructed with timber from the forest, providing a drop-off area, turning point, hot-boxes and maturation area.

We’re delighted to announce that we have appointed a compost officer, Craig Blair, who will be on hand during opening hours to help people unload their garden waste and answer any questions about composting and the facility. He will be happy to receive: grass cuttings, leaves, foliage, branches, hedge trimming.

Also, as winter approaches, we have seasoned logs and kindling for sale (collection only). These can be bought from Craig during the compost facility opening hours.

Email, call 01700 811159 or pop up and see Craig during the opening hours.
Volunteer afternoon launchedVolunteer afternoon launched
Added: 13 Jul 2012
We now have a volunteer group which meets every Tuesday afternoon. They will be creating footpaths, making picnic and bench areas as well as any other jobs that come up. If you would like to join us you would be very welcome! Work has already begun on developing a short circular path, perfect for dog walking and those wanting a short stroll. Last week volunteers blazed a trail through the lower woodland removing fallen tree trunks. Next Tuesday there are plans to tidy up the entrance and burn the brash on a big bonfire.
Please call Andrew Graham-Weall on 01700 811681 for more information.
Part-time composter requiredPart-time composter required
Added: 13 Jul 2012
If you are fit, friendly, reliable and have a few spare hours a week, we have just the job for you. You’ll man our community compost facility, accept deliveries of organic and garden waste for composting and manage and process the compost. Full training will be provided.
This is a temporary, part time (4 hrs per week) post with future possibilities.

If you’re interested please email to or send a short letter to Kilfinan Community Forest, Tighnabruaich, Argyll PA21 2BD by Monday 23 July.
Outdoor plots ready to growOutdoor plots ready to grow
Added: 16 May 2012
Members of Kyles Allotment Group are now planting outdoors as well as indoors. Over the winter, the forest development team terraced an area of land and built outdoor raised beds to complement the indoor ones. After a few Saturday morning volunteer work parties, the beds are now filled with soil and members are busy planting them with parsnips, cauliflower and other vegetables that thrive outdoors. Members also planted a huge communal tattie plot.

Seeking new DirectorsSeeking new Directors
Added: 04 May 2012
Kilfinan Community Forest is looking for new Directors to join its board. If you’re enthusiastic, motivated and passionate about your local community, we’d love to hear from you. This is a fantastic opportunity to get involved and help shape the future of this vital community resource.

Please contact or call Andrew on 01700 811681 or David on 01700 811809.

The Producers Markets are back!The Producers Markets are back!
Added: 14 Apr 2012
Winter is behind us, the growing season is in full swing and we’re delighted to announce that the ever-popular Producers Markets are back. And this year they’ll be run entirely by Kyles Allotment Group (KAG) volunteers.

The Producers Markets take place in the Kames Rec Hall and are a great way to meet local producers and sample their delicious food. KAG will also be selling its surplus veg. Coffee, tea, cakes and soup will be served in the pop-up cafe.

The first market takes place on Saturday 5th May and the second on Saturday 9 June.

If you’re a local producer or craftperson and would like to hold a stall at the markets, please email
KCFC Charity Calendar -  special SALE price!KCFC Charity Calendar - special SALE price!
Added: 19 Jan 2012
You can still get hold pf our lovely 2012 calender - chock full of beautiful images, crammed with seasonal planting tips and now for the bargain price of £3.50!

Grab yourself a beautiful, last minute bargain. A great gift for someone or a useful addition for the office or kitchen. All proceeds go to KCF.
Cowal Car ShareCowal Car Share
Added: 11 Jan 2012
Don’t forget to check out our dedicated Car Sharing website - Signing up is EASY and FREE so why not hop over and join to-day - save money, save carbon and make new friends!
We’re on YouTube!We’re on YouTube!
Added: 30 Aug 2011
For those of you with good broadband connection, check out our recent community event “From Tree to Table” by clicking on the link below! You never know, you might spot yourself!!
Tighnabruaich School Path ProjectTighnabruaich School Path Project
Added: 30 Aug 2011
Work will be starting very soon on the link path from the back road to the back of the school, which will then continue into the community forest. Once the felling license has been received then the trees shading the school playground and polytunnel will be removed and a safe path for the kids created to get to school.
Our New Development OfficerOur New Development Officer
Added: 18 Jul 2011
KCFC are delighted to welcome Eamon King as their new Development Officer. With a wealth of experience in environmental projects and a passion for all things green, Eamon will be enabling KCF to develop strategies for a sustainable future and maximise the potential that the forest has for providing jobs, homes, recreation, educational experiences and facilities. Eamon said ’Im delighted to be part of such an innovative project and I hope that my time in the post will bring strength to the future of this community forest’.

Eamon is based at the Project Office in the Community Forest, so if youre up in the forest feel free to pop in and have a chat. Eamon can also be contacted on 01700 811205 or at

Eamons post is funded for two years by LEADER and H.I.E. and KCFC gratefully acknowledge their support for this key post.
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The Kilfinan Community Forest Company
Registered Office: Kilfinan Community Forest, Tighnabruaich, Argyll PA21 2BD, Scotland | Company No: 333208 | Charity No: SCO38908
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