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

Immerse Hebrides provide guided outdoor, cold water swimming adventures and now they are at Aline Community Woodlands too!

Based in Stornoway, the Immerse Hebrides guides are Norma and Neil, a husband and wife team with extensive and in-depth knowledge of the best places to swim in the Outer Hebrides.

Suitable for all abilities with the choice of location will tailored to individual requirements and upon the conditions of the day. For the more experienced sea-swimmer they offer more challenging swims between small islands, across channels or around rugged areas of coastline with water safety provided. Long-distance swims to outer islands can be arranged by special request.

Loch swimming is also available and now Immerse Hebrides will offering guided swimming at our loch at Aline Community Woodland too. Visit Immerse Hebrides website for information, blog, gallery and event listings including those at Aline Community Woodlands.

Visit Immerse Hebrides website for more information, blog, gallery and event listings including those for Aline Community Woodlands and more…

Contact Immerse Hebrides at: or telephone Norma and Neil on 07920 111390

A healthWalk is a short, sociable, local, led walk adapted wherever necessary to the needs of the walkers in the group. HealthWalks usually last between 30 minutes to an hour. Its a simple way to increase physical activity for all ages and fitness levels. The HealthWalks aim to improve health, help with weight loss, make you feel good and its free!

The Pairc Trust and NHS Western Isles ‘Walk On Hebrides’ project promotes and encourages the Pairc and Kinloch HealthWalk Group. Its part of the Paths For All initiative whose strategy is to help everyone in Scotland to walk more and to be more active. You can find out more at their website.

The Pairc and Kinloch HealthWalk Group meet every Saturday for gentle stroll in the Kinloch and the Pairc areas of Lewis. Trained walk-leaders are on hand to guide and provide support if needed and sometimes members kindly share their historical and local knowledge with the group.

On Saturday 2nd October 2021 the group will be meeting at the car park at Aline Community Woodlands to walk on the west-side board walk, heading towards Airidh a’ Brhruaich and back. The group will be setting off at 11am. Everyone is welcome. Walkers are encouraged to follow the current guidelines from The Scottish Government and Western Isles NHS about social distancing and safety measures when around other people. The group have a Facebook page which regularly posts the details of their next walk and their monthly schedule.

Pairc and Kinloch HealthWalk Group enjoying a stroll to the Loch at the community woodland supported by Pairc Trust and Walk On Hebrides

As Covid-19 restrictions have eased recently, we’ve seen more visitors coming to the community woodland to enjoy the walks, the playground, paddle boarding and canoeing on the loch and generally enjoy being out of doors. Visitors have been making good use of the cabin in the main car park for shelter when the weather is inclement or the midges too fierce.

Children have had fun at the playground, especially since we have been able to treat the area to combat (for now at least) the reeds. Thank you to Iain and Rob for working on that area and making it more attractive and better to play in. The cabin now has a better rain water supply and again many thanks to the volunteers who have worked so hard to ensure it works and that the cabin facilities are clean and pleasant to use. Please do get in touch with Donnie or David if you are interested in taking part in maintaining the community woodland as a volunteer.

We are very happy to announce that we now own the cabin in our main car park having purchased it from Heb Shuttle through a funding package provided by Muaitheabhal Community Wind Farm Trust.

If you are a regular visitor to the forest keep an eye on it as we don’t want anyone abusing the excellent facility. Currently it is a rest area for cyclists and walkers but we don’t allow overnight stays!

Our regular Aline visitors can of course use it as well.

We’ve installed a new picnic bench inside the cabin
One of our volunteers services the cabin so it’s all clean!

A short walk up the hill from the main car park at Aline Community Woodland is the Children’s Playground which was created in 2013 with the support of volunteers and members of the community. The site has a fantastic selection of swings, slides, climbing frames and crawl tunnels.

The Children’s Playground is packed with fun play structures, this is just a small portion of it

Beside the Children’s Playground is a cabin which is open 24/7 for the use of visitors. We have decorated some of the walls with information posters about Lewis wildlife, flora and fauna. There are a few chairs and a bench-table and changing room. We also have a comfort facility in the cabin which is served by a rainwater tank. Outside there is a good-sized picnic table too.

Donnie Morrison and volunteer Mark Griffiths installing the information posters in the cabin around the bench table

We only ask that if you use these facilities please consider others, leave everything as if you were never there! Can you ensure that take any litter away with you or leave it in the rubbish bin located in the main car park. Above all, get out and have some fun!

The cabin and picnic table

If you spot anything that needs repair or attending to, please get in touch and let us know.

In the last couple of weeks, SurfLewis surfing school based in Sandwick near Stornoway have started to offer an exciting starting point for learning to Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) at Aline Community Woodland. Each session is around an hour and a half provides expert tuition to learn the basics of Stand Up Paddleboarding. These introductory SUP lessons are carried out on the inland fresh water Loch na h-Aibhne Ruaidhe by the car park at the Aline Community Woodland. Its a stunning sheltered spot and offers a perfect location for learning to SUP!

The lessons include lying, kneeling and paddling on the board, paddling technique, body positioning and re-entry on to the board. Any remaining time will give you an opportunity to use your new skills to navigate round the loch.

All participants must be 8 years or older and able to swim 50 metres unaided and those aged 8 – 12 must have a must have a parent or guardian participating on the lesson. 8-12 year old participants will be issued with a soft foam board to match their size for their lesson. Older children under the age of 18 must either have a parent or guardian on the lesson or viewing from the shore within earshot.

For more information about these SUP sessions at Aline get in touch with Rodney Jamieson of SurfLewis & Harris via their website or through their Facebook and Instagram pages for all the latest information on surf lessons, stand up paddle boarding, snorkelling and open water swimming opportunities in Lewis & Harris.