MORE than 300,000 trees are to be planted at Dumyat after a project received approval from Scottish Forestry.

Approval was given to the Future Forest Company, which acquired the 480ha estate at the western end of the Ochil last year.

As reported then, the estate – which also includes parts of Menstrie Glen – was to receive some quarter million of native trees in a bid to reduce the impact of carbon emissions.

Following approval for 300,000 trees, contractors will be assigned planting duties throughout March and April this year.

The trees will include a mixture of native broadleaf species as well as Scots pine trees – all planted by hand to ensure they have the best chance of survival.

On top of the reforestation, several biodiversity projects are being implemented to enhance the site including rock rose planting to benefit Northern brown argus butterflies, expansion of sticky catchfly populations, wetland enhancement and wildflower meadow enhancement.

It follows public consultation last year with reforestation and biodiversity specialists at the company working closely with residents and organisations from Clackmannanshire, Stirling and the surrounding area, ensuring the site plans reflected feedback from the more than 250 responses.

Jamie Adcock, estate manager, said: “Ahead of planting we will be preparing the ground to give our trees a raised, weed free planting position to help ensure successful establishment so visitors may see machinery and contractors working on site in the coming months to prepare the area for planting.

“This will ensure that every tree planted has the best possible chance to thrive and become part of our nature-rich forests of the future.

“We love having visitors to the site and all the main recreation routes are being maintained.

“It will be a big change for the hillside from its previous use for sheep farming but we’re looking forward to enhancing the area for biodiversity, capturing carbon to help prevent climate change and ensuring it will be a place local people treasure for generations to come.”

As a way of improving access for all, the project is providing volunteering opportunities, including with The Conservation Volunteers who have been on site to add steps to the steepest part of the Menstrie track.

The site is also serving as an educational and research resource for University of Stirling groups and students have already planted more than 500 wildflowers.

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