EARTH trip to the Borders Forest Trust

A group of Senior School pupils and staff spent a day at a Borders Forest Trust site to gain a better understanding of Scotland’s biodiversity and landscape.

The site at Corehead, near Moffat, was once a typical example of a treeless, sheep-grazed landscape, but has been transformed in the last decade by a vast rewilding and reforesting initiative. In this time, Corehead has become a symbol of hope for what a community can achieve and how nature can be positively shaped.

Adrian, our guide from the Borders Forest Trust, was a font of knowledge on ecology, biology, geography and history, and he brought the Corehead area to life for us during a fascinating walk around the rewilding project area.

The trip gave the geography pupils in particular an invaluable opportunity to interpret features of the landscape that had been carved by ice and rivers, and share this knowledge with the rest of the group. Corries, v-shaped valleys, meanders and the source of the River Annan were just some of the features we spotted from the National 5 course.

We also discussed land uses, land management, sustainability, land use conflicts and increasing impacts of Climate Change. Learning about the landscape and the biodiversity in the woodlands, wetlands and heathlands helped us all to develop a new appreciation of the need to look after our wild places and consider how ecosystems can adapt to changing climatic conditions through an enlightened approach to land management, which combines traditional methods with the latest scientific understandings, and a mixture of native and non-native species.

The historical significance of the Devil’s Beeftub and surrounding area for the gathering of troops by William Wallace to fight the English in 1297, and for the Border Reivers to hide stolen cattle was highlighted, providing a sense of drama and intrigue to our day.

We hope to return to the area in October to carry out practical conservation activities, including planting trees and removing plastic tree tubes.