Evanton Wood Lottery Funded 20170825054813

Evanton Community Wood: A National Lottery-Funded Success Story in the Scottish Highlands

Evanton Wood, a picturesque 65-hectare woodland located in the Scottish Highlands, stands as a testament to the power of community action and the transformative impact of national lottery funding. Owned and managed by the Evanton Wood Community Company, this beautiful woodland has become a cherished focal point for local residents and visitors alike.

The story of Evanton Wood begins with the people of Evanton, a village nestled near the woodland. When the forest was put up for sale, the villagers took decisive action to ensure its preservation for future generations. They formed the Evanton Wood Community Company and launched a campaign to purchase the forest. In 2012, their efforts bore fruit with crucial support from The National Lottery, allowing them to secure ownership of the woodland.

Since then, Evanton Wood has flourished under community stewardship. The woodland now features a variety of attractions, including sculpted seats, secret trails, an orienteering course, an adventure play area, and a pond area. These developments have made Evanton Wood a popular destination, attracting 4,000 to 5,000 visitors each month.

The woodland is particularly beloved by children. Nursery groups make weekly visits to explore and play, while schoolchildren participate in activities like shelter building, fire making, cooking, and orienteering. The creation of a new pond area has added pond dipping to the list of popular activities, with a tenfold increase in the number of newts recorded since 2016.

Volunteers are the backbone of Evanton Wood’s success. Regardless of the weather, they gather five times a month to carry out essential tasks such as tree planting—over 3,000 native species have been planted—ditch clearing, walkway construction, and general woodland management. These efforts ensure that the woodland remains accessible and enjoyable for everyone, regardless of age or ability.

Evanton Wood is also a hub for community education and engagement. The woodland hosts a wide range of educational programs, events, and practical activities. One notable initiative was a 10-week program for people with early-stage dementia. Participants engaged in activities like shelter building and carpentry, which provided therapeutic benefits. One attendee, Ray, experienced significant positive changes. His wife shared, “The sessions in the wood have been absolutely wonderful. They are the best thing that has happened for Ray and he comes back from every session beaming full of joy.”

The success of Evanton Wood would not have been possible without the support of The National Lottery. The funding provided by lottery players across the country was instrumental in enabling the community to purchase the woodland and develop it into the thriving communal space it is today. This story highlights the profound impact that national lottery funding can have on local communities, transforming visions into reality and fostering a sense of shared purpose and pride.

In conclusion, Evanton Wood is a shining example of what can be achieved when a community comes together with the support of national lottery funding. It stands as a beacon of communal effort, environmental stewardship, and the enduring benefits of preserving natural spaces for future generations.

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