Friend of the JSF, Dan Morell took a visit up to the Isle of Skye to check out Rebels Wood, which is a forest planted in living memory of Joe back in 2003.
Rebel’s Wood, Orbost, Skye
Update Report- Autumn 2021
Rebels wood is a beautiful story of survival. The trees have finally established themselves, having had to battle against the winter, a hundred miles an hour – salt winds, poor quality soil, a short growing season, browsing by dear, and especially the bracken.
The woodland was initially planted in 2003/2004 with native broadleaves, the main species being Birch, Rowan, willow, with smaller proportions of Oak, Cherry and Hawthorn.
The higher, more exposed parts of the woodland have struggled due to the exposure, and the areas of best growth are in the more sheltered glens around the old settlements at Brandersaig and Idrigill.
In the early years, there was considerable deer browsing, which severely restricted tree growth. Still, a programme of deer control and ongoing fence maintenance reduced this, and now the young trees are developing well on the lower slopes. There is also considerable natural regeneration of trees and shrubs present on the site before planting, mainly along with burns and gullies, which is another good indication that browsing by deer is currently not an issue. In the best areas of growth, the trees are over 5 metres tall!
Following species have been sighted in the local area: –
Buzzard, Golden eagle, White-tailed eagle, Meadow pipit, Raven, Hooded crow, Wren, Herring gull, Black-headed gull, Red deer, Otter.
Recently a suggestion of Re-Wilding has been proposed to the landowners.
The trees are sufficiently established to create their own saplings. A small quantity of Rebel’s Wood, Saplings have been collected from the wood and will be planted at Rockaway Temple Cloud Bristol, and we will invite people to a plant in day. We are at present identifying a further site for the Rebel’s Wood extension near London, so people will be able to again have trees planted. Will keep updated on this.
Rebel’s Wood is on a public footpath from Orbost to Macleod’s Maidens, sea stacks approximately 1km south of the end of the forest.
We found a nice blog about the walk, visit the Skye for All website for info.