Ministerial visit to Leadburn woodland
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The SNP politicians were there to see how the wood is managed for people and wildlife, and the development of woodland and peatland habitats since the site was purchased from the Forestry Commission in 2007.
Some of the 8000 planted trees are now up to 15m tall and include a mixture of native scots pines, birch, rowan, aspens and oak.
The woodland also contains a mixture of open areas where fritillary butterflies thrive and purple orchids are plentiful along the path network.
Environment Minister Mairi McAllan said: “The work being undertaken by the volunteers at Leadburn Community Woodland is inspiring.
"For many years now they have poured their heart and soul into improving the woodland for the benefit of people, wildlife, and in tackling climate change.
"They should be justly proud of what they have achieved so far.
"The Scottish Government is committed to increasing community ownership and ensuring that communities can obtain the multiple benefits that are derived from woodlands.”
The visiting politicians were shown an area of raised bog restoration at the woodland where the peat is up to 6m deep.
Friends of Leadburn Community Woodland committee member Rik Smith, explained more about the local woods. He said: "The restoration area contrasts markedly with several square kilometres of ongoing neighbouring peat extraction sites in Midlothian.
"These are now devoid of any vegetation or wildlife, and their vast store of carbon will be released when the peat is sold for garden compost.
On her visit, the Environment Minister discussed the Scottish Government’s climate plans with members of the Friends of Leadburn Community Woodland committee, indicating that the Scottish Government intends to ban peat from sale in garden composts in the next few years as peat-free alternatives become widely available.