Woodland Creation Opportunities

Swanston is situated within 5 miles of Edinburgh city centre set in the foothills of the Pentlands. The Swanston area dates back from 1200s when the farm was set up and leased out by the estate.

Swanston is a mixed enterprise on the urban fringe with a farm, residential and holiday cottages, a golf club, brasserie, offices, pony trekking and livery.

In addition to the business, the family are keen to promote access, improve woodland and biodiversity creation.

Currently, woodland cover in the Lothians is significantly less than the national average figure of 17%, and is barely half of the Scottish Government’s target of 25% woodland cover by 2050.

However, as the ‘Edinburgh and Lothians Forestry and Woodland’s Strategy’ evidences there are large swathes of the region where woodland creation could deliver multiple benefits for the public and land managers alike, including the fringes of major towns and lower quality agricultural land.

In an attempt to develop a model that could address this, in 2012 Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust commissioned the production of a Feasibility Study into woodland creation opportunities on the North-East slopes of the Pentlands. The study identified major opportunities for balanced and sustainable woodland expansion, amounting to 94ha spread over roughly 20 different sites. If all sites were implemented, woodland cover would rise to around 23%.

Swanston Farm, with Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust assistance, successfully applied for grant support, and three individual woodlands were planted in spring 2014, with a total area of 11ha. Further plans are currently being developed for additional woodland creation on the farm.