ONE hundred tonnes of gravel are being used to boost access to a popular woodland.

The team behind Gifford Community Woodland has struck up a partnership with Tillicoultry Quarries, which manages nearby Longyester Quarry.

Neville Kilkenny, project manager at Gifford Community Woodland, got in touch with the quarry with the hope of securing materials to help the drainage and improve accessibility to the village’s woodland.

He was pleased to say that had proven successful and added: “The Community Woodland at Gifford has become an important resource to the local and broader community for both health and wellbeing, as well as in terms of it being a fantastic example of a native broad leaf woodland in Scotland.

“Having worked on the project for the last few years, it has been a wonderful experience in terms of bringing together and engaging the local community around this ancient forest.

“The footfall within the woodland and on East Lothian’s path network has significantly increased since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, as many of our community use it as the main destination for daily recreational walks and outdoor exercise.

“Though the woods are a fantastic and hugely valuable asset, one of its central paths – an old railway line which is a key link between our woodland and other core path routes – has poor drainage, which is causing accessibility challenges for some of our older and less able visitors.

“We’ve also had challenges with drainage from this area, causing localised flooding.

“With Longyester Quarry on our doorstep, enabling us to minimise our environmental impact, and having been a customer of Tillicoultry Quarries myself, I hoped to secure some much-needed local business support to reprofile and maintain the drainage ditches using perforated pipework backfilled with 100 tonnes of gravel.

“They didn’t disappoint and we were delighted when they said yes.”

Tillicoultry Quarries, which was formed nearly 90 years ago, has 15 sites across Scotland. Wallace Menzies, director of the business, was delighted to help out.

He said: “This is an important part of who we are as a company, as we know our successes are firmly rooted in the local communities which we work and live in.

“Given the environmental importance of the work being done at Gifford Community Woodland, its positive impacts on the local community – especially throughout Covid-19 – and with its proximity to our Longyester Quarry, we were only too pleased to offer our support.

“We wish Neville and the local community in East Lothian the very best of luck in their endeavours with the woodland and look forward to seeing the project develop and add value to the local area for many years to come.”