a refuge in a fast moving world
The land around the woodland has long been thought of as an area with development potential and this has now become a reality. To the east of the wood the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) bypass will drive through the ancient woodland of the Kincausie Estate. Further east the Blairs development project is underway and at this site 280 homes and a golf course will be constructed. To the south the AWPR will continue its southward track skirting the Elsick development where thousands of homes will be built.
The concept of the Greenbelt as a zone which cannot be developed has been cast aside and now any land close to the city seems vulnerable. Many people around Maryculter now worry that the bypass and large scale house building will lead to further development in the area.
If we cannot raise the purchase price the wood will go on the open market with no guarantees for the future of the wood. The chance to purchase the wood for the community means that we could have one place that will remain wild and be a refuge for not only for people but for the animals displaced by roads and houses.
History of Maryculter Woods
The oldest things in the wood are the rocks. The most easily recognisable rock in the wood is white granite which represents the now solid core of volcanoes which were active 470 million years ago. The volcanoes would once have been as high as the Andes are today, though erosion over millions of years has slowly worn the mountains down to their present size.
The area was fully buried under ice during the Ice Age (10,000years ago) and you can still see plenty of evidence of this in the wood. There are rock outcrops worn smooth by ice, large boulders dropped by glaciers as the ice retreated and glacial boulder clay in the valley of the Crynoch Burn.
On Oldman Hill there are clearance cairns, field systems and even a possible round house that are all thought to date back as far as the Bronze Age. More recently, maps from the 19 th Century show that part of the area was cleared to create new fields and the large drainage ditches were dug. The oldest trees in the wood (Scot's Pine) probably date from this time.
In the 1940s the land was acquired by Forestry Commission Scotland and planted with various types of spruce, larch and lodgepole pine. Over the last 20 years FCS have had a policy of clear-felling the mature trees and allowing natural regeneration, supplemented by limited planting of native broad-leaf trees (particularly abundant on the steep slope down to the Crynoch Burn).
In 2007, the local community set up the Maryculter Woodlands Trust to help manage the wood, in partnership with FCS. The first task of the trust was to prevent the vigorous natural regeneration from blocking all the smaller tracks and paths in the wood. The Trust has since grown to take on additional replanting (with FCS), create new paths and desire lines and thin out some of the smaller regenerated spruce.