The new coach parking area

The new coach parking area at Aline Community Woodland is now completed and the main public car park has been re-surfaced and greatly improved. All this good work is thanks to funding through Crown Estates and grant assistance from Muaitheabhal Community Wind Farm Trust.

Our volunteers continue to care for the site on a weekly basis, ensuring the cabins are clean, the play area is safe to use, any rubbish is cleared, rainwater in the tank is at an ample level and that the facilities are fit for purpose. Thank you to everyone who helps with these tasks and to our visitors who enjoy this most valuable community project.

Two of our excellent volunteers at Aline Community Woodland

We are also hoping to do some further work in the coming months at the car park to improve the signage and interpretation board.

The Pairc and Kinloch HealthWalk Group are planning a walk at Aline on 8th October along the Hebridean Way boardwalk and old road towards

Some substantial new work is now underway at Aline Community Woodland to create two coach parking spaces in a separate area from the public car park. This will mean tour coaches will have dedicated spaces to park up and visit the site. The project has been generously funded through Crown Estates and grant assistance from Muaitheabhal Community Wind Farm Trust. We will publish updates on the work being done and more photographs in due course.

The next Pairc and Kinloch HealthWalk Group will be meeting on Saturday 25th June at Aline Community Woodland setting off at 11am. The group will be walking on the west side along the board walk and then along a short part of the Hebridean Way path towards Griamacleit. The HealthWalk Group is supported and encouraged by the NHS Walk on Hebrides initiative and Paths For All, a Scottish charity which promotes walking to improve physical and emotional well-being. There is no need for special walking gear. They will be meeting in the main car park and there is some additional parking below the children’s playground up on the hillside. Everyone is welcome is to join the walking group as a guest.

Aline Community Woodland will soon be getting another 400 seedling trees delivered from The Woodland Trust to plant on our site. We need volunteers to help plant them during the second half of April. Its a really fun thing to do. We’ve had volunteers of all ages supporting our recent tree planting projects and we’d like to invite you to join us for the next sessions. Get in touch here, or on our Facebook and Instagram sites and we’ll let you know dates and times.

A brief update on the gate posts at the entrance to the pathway to Grigaspul by Loch Seaforth. Thank you for the really excellent work done to restore the gates to their former protective glory.

We also need to remind our visitors to please take rubbish home whenever you can and/or to use the bin provided in the car park. Dog owners: just a reminder that your pets are not allowed in the childrens’ playground to ensure that everyone is safe.

The red area is the planned coach parking area at Aline Community Woodland

For some time now we have been aware of the need to have some dedicated coach parking at our woodland so we are pleased to report that we have now received planning permission for a space for two coaches. This will allow touring coaches to stop off for a break allow visitors to go for a walk in the woodland. It will also provide a nice break to allow for a visit when travelling between Stornoway and Tarbert. The parking space will be at the mouth of the Grigaspul track and separate from the main car park.

We have been successful in getting some funding towards the costs through a grant award from Muaithbeabhal Community Windfarm Trust and will now look at the need for any additional funding and next steps required  to bring the project to fruition.

Recent storm damage to the deer gates at the start of the track down to Grigaspul which will be repaired shortly

Some people will have also noticed the storm damage to the deer gates near the playground. The damage occurred during one of the recent ‘mega’ storms we had here in the Western Isles. We hope to have the gates repaired and restored in the next couple of weeks. Thank you to everyone who contacted us and sent messages to alert us that this had happened. If you see anything that needs to be flagged up, repaired or if indeed you want to offer some time volunteering at Aline Community Woodland, please do get in touch.

Young volunteers at Aline Community Woodland

Toward the end of last year, volunteers coordinated by Rob Tai finished planting tree seedlings on a section of the Community Woodland on the west side of Aline forest. Thank you to everyone involved including a couple of young folk who gave their time up for the project. All the support is much appreciated and makes a real contribution to the future of this fantastic resource.

New gate installed on the west side opposite the car park

Every weekend, our volunteers take turns in servicing the playground and car park cabins while also checking the swings and slides for safety, picking litter and taking note of any repairs that need to be undertaken to the fences, gates and boardwalks. Recently we had the west side gate repaired after storm damage and we hope its now actually much improved. We rely on our visitors to let us know if there are any issues that need to be dealt with and to help, where you can, to keep the woodland paths clear and safe.

New signage at the children’s playground

At the playground we have now erected a ‘no dogs’ sign and ask that everyone respects this request to ensure that children using the area are safe and that its kept as clean as possible. There is a public refuse bin in the car park. A new set of steps has also been constructed for the big slide to make it easier, and safer to climb to the top.

We are also planning to add visitor books to our cabins, so please leave a comment, suggestion or message if you have time.

Doro, Rowan and Mark out preparing the ground for planting the tree seedlings

A group of Aline Community Woodland volunteers gathered in early December to start planting some of the 420 tree seedlings we were given by The Woodland Trust. The group worked up on a cleared area beside the path on the west side of the woodland, which is also part of the Hebridean Way.

The volunteers planted a mix of trees including Alder, Downey Birch, Grey Willow, Eared Willow, Aspen, hazel and hawthorn. Rob Tai, one of our volunteers has organised a second planting day on Thursday 10th December meeting in the main car park at 10am. If you are interested in taking part send us a message here, find us on Facebook and Instagram too.

Rob and Jan S busy planting
Jan G with seedlings ready to plant

Calling for volunteers who enjoy Aline Community Woodland! We now have 420 mixed tree seedlings to plant! We need to get then in the ground as soon as possible. Can you contribute some time to help with getting this done? Get in touch by messaging here, or find us on Facebook or Instagram.

“Trees are vital. As the biggest plants on the planet, they give us oxygen, store carbon, stabilise the soil and give life to the world’s wildlife. They also provide us with the materials for tools and shelter… Trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow and the carbon that they store in their wood helps slow the rate of global warming. They reduce wind speeds and cool the air as they lose moisture and reflect heat upwards from their leaves. Not only are trees essential for life, but as the longest living species on earth, they give us a link between the past, present and future…”

The Woodland Trust who donated the tree saplings for Aline have plenty of good information about why planting trees is so important for all of our futures.

Some of the tree saplings from the Woodland Trust

We’ve now received 420 tree saplings from Woodlands Trust Scotland, complete with stakes, guards and fertiliser. There are a variety of species including willow, alder, birch and hawthorn. Viv Halcrow, the Croft Woodlands Adviser for the Western Isles said “Go ahead and plant, bearing in mind they will need to be in a deer-fenced area, not on deep peat and preferably where the soil is a bit better i.e. grassy rather than heather. Hope you have a good planting experience and do send some photos!” We will of course, once we can get the job done over the next couple of weeks.

The Woodland Trust have a great page on their website with useful tips and instructions for planting trees which includes a really good video.

We are looking for volunteers to come along and help with the planting, so if you are interested in taking part in this and other projects, please get in touch and we’ll let you know how and when you can support Aline Community Woodland.


A guide for crofters, communities and small woodland owners

This excellent handbook contains several very useful sections which cover a range of pertinent subjects including how to create a new woodland, advice on managing small woods, assessing the value of a woodland, and lots of good information on learning and support related to woodland management. The experience shared in this book cover a range of situations and illustrate how various people have approached the management of small woods with case studies. You can download a PDF file of the handbook from Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar here