As many readers of this blog know, I regularly volunteer with the Water of Leith Conservation Trust. Colinton Dell, the area which I help to look after is a beautiful area of woodland, defined as ancient woodland as it has been continuously wooded since 1750 (this is the Scottish date for ancient woodland, the date is different in England and Wales). This doesn't mean that the whole area is made up of native woodland dating back that far, in fact a lot of hornbeams (non-native to Scotland but native to the south of England) were planted when the area was full of mills (the hornbeam wood is very hard, ideal for construction of mill parts). However this has been mostly woodland since 1750 and the areas where the mills once stood have mostly been reclaimed by nature.
A beautiful autumn day like today is one of the best times to appreciate the beauty of ancient woodland:
Recent research has shown that Scotland's ancient woodlands are generally not in great condition, so the Woodland Trust has set up a campaign to save them. You can see their infographic that highlights the problems here and you can read more about the background to the campaign and how to get involved here.
Woodland is not only a beautiful place to spend time and a valuable habitat for wildlife, but it also offers solutions to the problems caused by climate change, including flood management and reducing the temperature of urban areas. Climate change is also the biggest long term threat to ancient woodland. Therefore the Woodland Trust is joining the People's March for the Climate on 28 November (Edinburgh and Cardiff) and 29 November (London and Belfast). You can find out more and add your name to the list here.