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Have your say: Dufftown campaigners developing proposals to improve local woodland

The Dufftown and District Community Association is launching a bid to take ownership of woodland near the town to run community projects for locals. Pictured, from left: Fraser Maclennan and Joe Gribben of the Community Housing Trust and Fraser McGill, chairman of Dufftown Community Association. Photo: Michael Traill.

Campaigners in Dufftown have launched a consultation to investigate the possibility of securing ownership of nearby woodland.

The Dufftown and District Community Association (DDCA) has identified three areas it considers need better management.

Now the group is asking locals what it thinks is needed at Meg’s Widd, also known as Princess Royal Park, Tininver Brae and Masters Well.

What improvements could be made to Dufftown woods?

Dufftown Community Association believes the woods, which are currently owned by Moray Council, could be used better by residents.

It believes more investment in maintenance and paths would make them more attractive for locals and visitors.

A community consultation is also gathering views on outdoor educational facilities, woodland garden, tree sponsorship, cycling opportunities and a dedicated space for campervans to control wild camping.

It is hoped the woodland can be used to benefit Dufftown residents as well as visitors. Photo: Jason Hedges/DCT Media

The community association has partnered with the Communities Housing Trust to support its investigations and its potential plans for the Dufftown woodland.

Community association chairman Fraser McGill said: “The DDCA began a partnership with the Communities Housing Trust in April 2020 after learning of the underlying challenges in our community.

“We are aware that the areas of woodland were not very well managed, from fallen trees blocking paths to accumulation of litter. Some residents have already taken time to approach us to help improve the situation.”

What happens now?

Because the woods are owned by Moray Council, there is an option for the community association to submit a request to own or lease the land – providing they submit a case what they would do with it.

The survey currently being run is to gather views as part of the process before any submission is made.

Businesses and other community groups have already been invited to share their views.

The Community Housing Trust, which supports rural project across northern Scotland, is helping to develop possible options gathered from feedback.

Joe Gribben, community-led housing officer at the trust, said: “Communities Housing Trust is delighted to be working with DDCA on this exciting project which could transform the three woodlands and make them really positive assets for the community to use.”

Views can be submitted to Dufftown Community Association’s online woodland consultation here.

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