Forestry Commission Scotland and Balloch Community Woodland
Creetown Walks » History & Archaeology » The Forestry Commission

The Forestry Commission Scotland

In 1958 the wooded area was purchased by the Secretary of State for Scotland from the Cassencarie estate who had owned this land for many centuries: 238 acres for a price of £890. 

The Forestry Commission for Scotland were made responsible for its management.  The tree planting undertaken during the 1960s, predominantly of conifers including Sitka Spruce, Douglas Firs, Larch and Norwegian Spruce, to the east of the wood is likely to be the first time grazed land had been planted for hundreds of years. 

At this time the woodland consisted of 4 acres of bare plantable land, 38 acres of high forest, 24 acres of scrub, 171 acres of felled and devastated land and 1 acre of unplantable land.  However, timber production has never been a major consideration of forestry commission activity in the woodland, largely due to practical difficulties with extracting wood timber from the forest.

The current design plan identifies Balloch Wood as a Natural Reserve that employs low impact forest management regimes, with greater emphasis placed on recreation, wildlife and landscape considerations. 

The primary objectives of the current forestry management plan include restoring sections of Balloch Wood to broadleaf woodland and improving public access and formal recreation in Balloch Wood from Creetown, with secondary aims of maintaining views from main and minor public roads and producing timber. 

Clear felling is not proposed and the working forest will retain permanent tree canopy cover in most places.  The re-stocking plans include areas of Sitka Spruce, Norway Spruce and Japanese Larch as well as large areas of broadleaf planting. 

The long term aims of the Forestry Commission are for Balloch Wood to be gradually returned to a predominantly broadleaf forest – with trees such as ash, oak, birch, aspen and rowan replacing coniferous species, although natural regeneration of conifers might be acceptable.  This will only occur over a long time frame, however. 

It is anticipated that by 2030 the woodland might consist of 50% broadleaf.  The Forestry Commission has also approved the planting of various exotic species in the wildlife pool area of the forest, along with the planting of willows in order to create wet woodland. 

Creetown Walks » History & Archaeology »The Forestry Commission