An Update From Rebel’s Wood

Rebels Wood - Joe Strummer Foundation

Rebel’s Wood is a young forest on the Atlantic-facing North West side of the Isle of Skye. This was planted in 2003 in living memory of Joe Strummer. Some 8,000 saplings were planted in dedication to Joe. Now this healthy young forest at the beautiful location of Orbost is doing well after taking a while to poke their heads above the bracken, due to the slow growing conditions of the far North.

Hidden away on the shores of Loch Bracadale is this beautiful woodland of native broad leaf trees. The planting here has been predominantly Birch, Alder, Rowan, Oak and Willow, with woody shrubs in between. Oak has been planted in anticipation of temperature rise due to Global Warming.

This community woodland has generated significant enthusiasm amongst local residents who have carried out maintenance and protection work. Interspersed within the greenery are areas of archaeological interest mainly ancient crofting infrastructures, which the forest will help to protect from the elements. Overshadowed by the majestic McLeod’s Tables mountains, Joe’s “ Rebel’s Wood “is now home to hundreds of species of wildlife, including Otters, Red Deer and Foxes and is a haven to the increasingly threatened nesting Sea Eagle.

Rebels Wood - painted by Paul Simonon

Rebels Wood – painted by Paul Simonon

Joe became the first Carbon Neutral citizen, following a meeting backstage at Glastonbury Festival. After many a long year trying to get people to plant trees to soak up pollution Joe said “Let’s do it”.

Originally ‘Carbon Neutral’, was conceived as a way of getting as many trees in the ground as possible. Through photosynthesis trees change CO2 into Oxygen and Wood. Undoubtedly they are one of the most beneficial and effective ways of tackling Climate Change and significantly improve the environment as they clean the air.

From these humble beginnings we managed to cause the planting of many millions of trees around the world. The early-stage idea was pure and simple- plant a tree to soak up your pollution and improve the environment. This was thought up before CO2 and Climate Change was on many people’s radar.

The brilliant news is all the trees are doing fine, and that Joe’s Forest on the Isle of Skye is exemplary and beautiful. There are 72 other forests like this in the UK. Worldwide there are forests on every continent.

Fourteen years ago the planting of Joe’s Rebel’s Wood took place on the Isle of Skye. which seems like a long time in a human life, but is a very short period in the time frame of a growing forest. It is a joy to see a young forest maturing and looking so beautiful now.

Joe’s strong alliance to the area comes from the fact that his Grandmother Gilies was from the Inner Hebridean Island of Raasay.

Directions – From Dunvegan follow the A836 South for half a mile; turn right onto the B884 and follow for half a mile; turn left to Orbost ( signposted ) and follow for 2 miles. Park in the yard and follow on foot the track to Bharcasig (Barabhaig) and continue south to the site. The principal planting for Joe is in this valley bowl. From the Rebel’s Wood sign walk down to the left towards the sea and you will be among the young trees that are now popping their head up above the bracken for Joe.

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