A COMMUNITY-OWNED Dunbar woodland has been honoured in Scotland’s annual ‘Tree Oscars’.

Dunbar Community Woodlands, known to locals as Lochend Woods, was commended in the Small Community Woodland Award at the Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards, with judges praising the “sensitive” approach of volunteers.

Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards feature six award categories, 10 competitions and nearly £10,000 of prize money.

This is the first time in two years that the ceremony has been held after its cancellation in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Dunbar Community Woodland has owned the 45-acre wood for 14 years, and a team of 60 volunteers from Dunbar Community Woodland Group manages the area.

A range of activities takes place in the woodlands, including forest playgroup Muddy Buddies, an outdoor fitness group, a new parents’ wellbeing class and Lochend Woods Parkrun.

The woodlands comprises of predominantly ash, beech, elm, larch, pine and spruce trees and plants.

The Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards judges said they were very impressed with the community woodland and the group behind it.

They also praised the healthy leadership of the group and the mix of old hands and new voices.

Their commendation said: “This entirely volunteer-led woodland group is to be commended for sensitive and inclusive woodland management, caring for this special area while providing valued community spaces and activities since the community took ownership of the site in 2007.”

Gifford Community Woodland was the recipient of the Large Community Woodland prize in 2019.

Angela Douglas, executive director of Scotland’s Finest Woods, said: “The strength of the awards depends on maintaining very high standards and recognising entries that deserve the title ‘finest woods’.

“After a Covid cancellation in 2020, I’m delighted we have been able to bounce back with such a high-quality programme – and I would like to congratulate Lochend Woods and all the people involved for its commendation.”

The 2021 winners ranged from a small playgroup in Perth to Scotland’s largest landowner, Anders Holch Povlsen, who won the New Native Woods Award for Killiehuntly Woodland in the Cairngorms.