Directors/Trustees for the current year 2017-18

Jean Barnett, Dunnet- Chair and acting Treasurer.

Maureen Clarkson, Scarfskerry- Co. Secretary.

Robert Keith, Castletown.

Chris Scatchard, Lybster.

Jean Clasper, Thurso.

Sue Clarke, Canisbay.

Andrew Wands, Canisbay- Health and Safety.


Annual General Meeting

Castlehill Heritage Centre,


23rd May 2018


Everyone Welcome,


Dunnet Forestry Trust.

Spring news letter 2013

Ee Forest Craik

Dear DFT members,

This year the AGM will take place on the 29th May at 7.30pm in Castlehill Heritage Centre, Castletown. The two longest serving directors John Crowden and Annette Ward will stand down by rotation but being eligible would like to stand again for re-election; if the Board members that are standing down by rotation are re- elected there will still be two vacancies on the board to fill. Any member, wishing to stand for election to the Board of Directors, should please intimate their interest to Heather Urquhart, DFT Administrator at the office tel. 01847 598205 or email or by post to Dunnet Forestry Trust, Castlehill Heritage Centre, Castletown, KW14 8TG by noon the 15th May 2013.

Yet another busy year in the forest! The building work on our beautiful log cabin was finished in July although tidying up is still an ongoing project, we are planning to plant small flowering trees and shrubs as well as adding a few more seats and a picnic table in the surrounding area .This last weekend ( 20th&21st April) a drystone wall building course was held and a small wall was constructed by ten trainees in front of the cabin, this may help to stop small tots from running down into the nearby burn and will also add extra seating facilities for visiting groups. The course was funded by the Community Woodlands Association and the tutor was Master Drystone Dyker George Gunn from Castletown.

We had a wonderful family event day in August, the ribbon was cut and the log cabin was declared open to all by Board Director Annette Ward; DFT celebrated the 10th birthday anniversary of the forest at the same time and to mark this special day asked Mrs Sheila Moir from Scarfskerry to come and plant another tree; Sheila planted the very first tree in the forest marking the formation of the Trust in 2002. It was a lovely day, the sky was blue, the sun shone and a lot of ice cream was eaten!

The Trust has held several training courses in the past year. A green woodworking course was held in July, shave horses and pole lathes were made, these have been very useful and have been used since by visiting school groups. A chainsaw course was held in August with four volunteer members of the Trust taking part, it was a week of very hard work followed by another day spent taking a practical exam in the forest under the watchful eye of a qualified assessor, all passed the Government tests and have been working very hard on a voluntary basis since then clearing wind throw left from the December 2011 storm. The volunteers have made a big difference to the forest but as there is still plenty of storm damage left to remove, it will be ongoing for quite some time, both of these courses were funded by SDS and CWA. In November the Trust won an award presented by the Community Woodlands Association for the best training project held throughout Scotland by a community forest in 2012; the training was a four week log scribing course for ten trainees and took place during the log cabin build- under the guidance of Master Log Cabin builder Dan Franklin from Devon, this free training course was funded by the Caithness and North Sutherland Fund.

The Woodland Trust kindly donated 450 trees to the forest in January from the Jubilee Woods plant Six Million trees project, our tree planting season has just about ended but will start again in November - volunteers for planting always needed. Forestry Commission Scotland has funded two events organised by our Ranger Kirsty from their seedcorn fund in the past twelve months, one was the drama project Grandpa Tree held in August and the other a Green Woodworking Course for a group of SDS and CJS placements (15 to 18 year olds)-held during December and January, this group has made a lovely bench and notice board out of green wood from the forest under the tuition of Mike Ellis from Helmsdale.

Members may have noticed that only one news letter has been sent out this year instead of the usual two, I would like to apologise for this but the cost of postage has risen so much that we have had to cut back on the news letters. This is an ideal time to ask you to please, please send in your email address to the office at if you haven't already done so, then information (and news letters) can be sent out quickly at no extra cost to the Trust.

A reminder that monthly log sales are held on the first Saturday of the month and the dates for the rest of the year are:- May 4th, June 1st, July 6th, August 3rd, Sept 7th, Oct 5th, Nov 2nd, Dec 7th. The extra Christmas sale date in December for logs and trees, still to be arranged. For all up to date news and current activities why not follow DFT on Facebook! Just look us up under Dunnet Forestry Trust. Not a Facebook user? - then our web page for information is for you!.

Again do we have your email address? If not please help us to keep our postage costs down and email it to the office- ,

Kind regards, Jean Barnett

April 2013. Ranger news

It has been a year of outdoor learning at Dunnet! Volunteers have been trained in greenwood working, young people have learned how to build benches and notice boards and I completed a course in forest school leadership. Primary 6 and 7 from Watten School were the first pupils to attend the forest school, coming along on Fridays; using our cabin as an outdoor classroom. The green gym volunteer group continue to turn their hands to any new job we present them with and are responsible for a huge amount of work done this year.

It's not all been learning and hard work, the fantastic outdoor play 'Happy birthday Grandpa tree' was a hit with families, children from NOSCA and the Monday club. Drama workshops from the same company were also enjoyed during our open day last summer. Our next venture is to create a sensory experience for our forest users, the Health and Happiness work party (compromising Wick High learning support department and a local charity providing support to adults with learning disabilities) is building a barefoot 'tickle trail'. The trail will have a grand opening at the beginning of June, come along and get your toes dirty!

Sadly, my post at Dunnet will come to a close shortly, the three years have flown in and the project is coming to an end. I am pleased to say that I'll not be going far and will look forward to taking groups to the forest in my new job with the council ranger service instead.

Kirsty Rosie, Dunnet Forestry Trust Community Ranger.

April 2013. Dunnet Forest Research The forest has been playing host to an anthropologist this year! PhD student, Louise Senior, will be focusing on two forest research projects over the coming months and is relying on your help to complete them. First up is a social history of Dunnet Forest. She is looking for stories of how local people have been involved in the forest, so whether you have family anecdotes or tales of childhood adventures amongst the trees, perhaps you or a family member have worked in the forest, or maybe you have information about particular features in the forest, please send your story or memory to All the stories will be posted on a Forest Blog and the most exciting entries will appear in a visitor leaflet available at the forest car park over the summer holidays.

Secondly, Louise will be carrying out a questionnaire to collect information about who uses the forest and what they value about it. This will provide us with vital information for potential funders and will help us to make sure we are managing the forest in the best way possible for the people who use it. Keep an eye on our website and Facebook page this summer for the link to the questionnaire. Louise has a blog where you can read more about the inspiration for this project and about the other aspects of her research throughout Caithness:




Dunnet Forestry Trust.

Spring Newsletter 2012

Ee Forest Craik


Dear DFT members,

This year the AGM will take place on the 30th May at 7.30pm in Castlehill Heritage Centre, Castletown. The three longest serving directors Jean Barnett, Maureen Clarkson and David Glass will stand down by rotation but being eligible, will stand for re-election. If the Board members that are standing down by rotation are re- elected there will still be one vacancy on the board to fill. Any member, wishing to stand for election to the Board of Directors, should please intimate their interest to Heather Urquhart, DFT Administrator at the office tel 01847 598205 or email or by post to Dunnet Forestry Trust, Castlehill Heritage Centre, Castletown, KW14 8TG by 5.00pm on Tuesday 15 May 2012.

The Climate Challenge Fund project 'Caithness Community Woodfuel' came to completion at the end of March 2012; it has been a great success. The grant enabled the Trust to buy a new Kubota utility vehicle and forestry trailer with hydraulic grab as well as providing a new wood and equipment store. The woodstore has meant that we are now able to sell a much improved product at our monthly log sales as our rings and splits are now stored under cover and are kept dry! Over the duration of the year long project DFT have managed to increase firewood sales by over 50%, thereby helping to reduce some of our 'carbon footprint' and the increased productivity has helped to stabilise the financial outlook of the forest. Our thanks must go to the Dounreay Communities Fund and Highland Council for the additional funding that they gave to DFT for this project.

The forest took a severe battering from the big storm that blew in during December 8th; many trees were either ripped up or twisted and broken, paths were badly damaged and ditches blocked and overflowing, it was depressing to walk around the forest , if you could, before Christmas. However our forest ranger Kirsty organised several volunteer days and I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who took part because the response was amazing. Armed with little more than hand saws of all descriptions, loppers and a lot of good will and muscle most of the well used paths were opened up and made passable again. The clearing up of debris and fallen trees is still an ongoing occupation and will be for many months to come, the green gym members continue to cut, clear and dig on an almost weekly basis, pausing only lately for a few weeks to plant a few (1000 conifers and 250 broadleaved) trees!, we couldn't manage without them. The main avenue path is still in a sorry state with large muddy areas and potholes but we are planning to have this repaired within the next four weeks; other areas are not forgotten and whilst it will take a while to clear up, repair, reinstate, and replant, rest assured we will do it.

Good news now-our woodland shelter is under way! Planning permission for our woodland shelter was granted last summer but then came the daunting task of finding the funds to enable DFT to build it, finding funding is never an easy task and now made much more difficult in our current financial climate. Applications were made in December to both the Caithness Environmental Fund and the new Caithness and North Sutherland Fund and I am delighted to be able to say that both approved our project and have granted DFT funding towards the costs. Work has already started, timber is being felled and 8 and 6 m lengths are in the process of being 'de-barked' as I write this newsletter. There are 60 lengths to de-bark, if you'd like to help in any way just get in touch with Heather in the office or email Dan Franklin from Devon, one of the country's leading log cabin builders, will be coming north in June to oversee and direct the building of our shelter and at the same time run a three week log scribing course for ten trainees. The woodland shelter is to be built at the top of the apprentice all ability path; the path will be closed from now until the middle of July so I apologise for any inconvenience. There will also be heavy lifting gear using the main avenue throughout June, signs will be in place, please take care and do not cross any red and white hazard tape, any inconvenience will be well worth it, our woodland shelter will be a great benefit to the community, please come along to see it when we have our forest open day.

After a lot of thought it has been decided that there needs to be a price increase on some of our firewood products; prices have remained the same since July 2009 and fuel prices alone have doubled since then. 2m lengths and rings will rise by £3-00m3 each, splits and bags of splits will remain at their current price and this will take effect from the 1st July 2012. As from the 1st July prices will be 2m lengths-£28-00m3, 1m length £30-00m3, rings £38-00m3,with splits and bags remaining at the same prices £65-00m3 and £3-00 per bag respectively; for all firewood information, prices, log sale dates please visit our web page

Kind regards, Jean Barnett. Chair, April 2012.

Ranger news

Hello Members As the year turned I anticipated adding little to the spring newsletter other than 'cleared windblow, clearing more windblow…..' That enormous task was rendered manageable only thanks to our cheerful group of volunteers. The Forest Gym group also played a major part and continue to make a big difference to the woods, taking care of the nursery, planting and innumerable odd jobs. Various visiting groups have enjoyed lost elves, bear stuffing and subsequent bear hunting, and believe it or not, building a medieval style mountain bike shelter! I came out from under the trees to take our climate change workshop on tour to local Primaries and to work with Castletown P3/4 to create a bird spotting display in the bird hide, which is worth a look.

Please get in touch if you would like to bring a group or get involved in any way during what looks to be a busy summer. Kirsty

Monthly log sales are held on the first Saturday of the month and the dates for the rest of the year are:- May 5th, June 2nd, July7th, August 4th, Sept 1st, Oct 6th, Nov 3rd, Dec 1st. The extra Christmas sale date in December for logs and trees, still to be arranged.

For all up to date news and current activities why not follow DFT on Facebook! Just look us up under Dunnet Forestry Trust. Not a Facebook user - then our web page for information is for you!. Do we have your email address? If not please help us to keep our postage costs down and email it to the office-

Dunnet Forestry Trust Autumn 2011 News Letter

Ee Forest Crack

Dear DFT members,

The nights are drawing in, autumn is here and its time for another Forest news letter; it's been a very busy summer season in the forest.

The Trust's AGM was held on 25th May at Castlehill Heritage Centre and as usual, there were board members standing down, this year Mrs. Jean Clasper, Mr. Irvine Smith and Mr. David Bertram; as there were no other nominees put forward for election all three agreed to stand again for a further three years and were elected 'en bloc'. There is still a vacancy on the board for a treasurer, please get in touch with Heather in the office if you would like to help.

Heathsfield, the Trust's small woodland at Brough, was officially opened by Mrs Betty Heath on 4th June; a Caithness Environmental Fund grant enabled the Trust to improve public access with new paths and boardwalks, renovate the pond and wetland area and add a picnic table & benches. This is a unique area for all wildlife and biodiversity, a lovely calm place to visit; found just past Brough on the road to Dunnet Head.

The Dounreay apprentices had their annual visit to the forest in July, they worked very hard during the week, the end result being several much needed bridges over a large boggy area which was previously a no go spot for the quad bike and trailer, a big thank you to them from the Board. One of the highlights this year has been the Government's Climate Challenge Award. The Trust was awarded £26,613 out of a total of £32,613 towards the cost of our project 'Caithness Community Woodfuel'. Dounreay Communities Fund added another £1000 and the Highland Council's Discretionary fund £4000, leaving £1000 to be found from the Trust's own budget. The money has been spent on a small 4x4 utility vehicle and a forestry trailer, very much needed equipment, and a large woodstore meaning our firewood will be dry and kept under cover in the future ensuring a better product.

In October the Trust held a series of 'Woodfuel Information Events', these were part of our Climate Challenge Project and were sponsored by Use Green Heat, Natural Scotland and Energy Saving Scotland. The events included information and training for foresters, land managers (including most of DFT's Board) etc, an information evening about the Government's Renewable Heat Incentive scheme for both business and domestic users, and last but not least, a family woodfuel day in the forest. Various forestry demonstrations were carried out during the family day, these included timber hauling using a low impact forwarder, a firewood processor and horse logging; the latter demonstration was given by local man Henry Riley and his horse Ruby and was very popular with the children. There was also plenty of energy heat/ boiler installation advice organised by Use Green Heat and Energy Saving Scotland and children's quizzes and activities organised by our own Forest Ranger Kirsty Rosie. It was a very successful day.

Once again we are selling Christmas trees, if you would like to order one please, please either phone our office (you may need to leave a message) or send in an email with the approximate size and type, Lodgepole or Sitka. The trees will be ready for collection from the forest on the 10th December 10am to 1pm, this coincides with a log sale.

Are you thinking of planting more trees in your garden this coming spring? Please get in touch before the end of November we may have just what you need in our tree nursery! As usual we will be tree planting in February/ March and will need volunteer help again - if you'd like to take part, just phone or email your name and address into our office and we will add you to our volunteer list and contact you nearer the time, all help is appreciated.

Log sales are being held now on the first Saturday of every month throughout the year, and we are holding one extra sale on December 10th, not only for firewood but for Christmas tree collection as well. Future Sale dates:- Dec 3rd & 10th, 2012 Jan 7th, Feb 4th, March 3rd, April 7th, May 5th, June 2nd, July 7th. We are always needing volunteers to help on log sale days, if you would like to help to pack splits into bags and load rings into trailers please do come along you'll be made very welcome.

A simple way to help the forest raise money is to use the giving machine website when buying your Christmas presents on line. Go to click on shopper/giver; choose Dunnet Forestry Trust as your beneficiary and then continue to your shopping site, a percentage of your sale will go the forest at no cost to you, so far this site has raised just over £62 for the Trust, a big thank you to everyone who has used it. Another big thank you must go to all those members who have given the Trust donations since the last news letter, we are trying hard to improve the amount of working capital and eliminate cash flow problems, not easy in this financial climate, so thank you again for your support.

Kind regards, Jean Barnett.

Chair, Dunnet Forestry Trust.

Ranger chat from Kirsty

Hello DFT Members

Walkers in the forest may have noticed that the cheerful resonations of the xylophone are sounding a good deal more tuneful of late. The instrument, a favourite with many of you, has seen much wear and tear since it was built in 2006 by Henry Fosbrooke. We won some funding from International Year of the Forest to employ Henry to service the giant percussion instrument and provide music workshops for music students of Thurso High School.

Volunteers are making a bigger and bigger impact on the forest, last year planting over 800 trees as well as collecting seedlings and nurturing them in the tree nursery. If you have green fingers and have space to bring on some native tree seedlings we would be very glad of them. A plethora of odd jobs from stuffing bears to clearing drains has been tackled by our Green Gym and Health and Happiness groups. Our warmest thanks to everyone who lends a hand. If you or a group you are involved with would like to visit the forest for some organised activities please get in touch with Kirsty at

Best wishes Kirsty.

DUNNET FORESTRY TRUST Spring Newsletter 2011


The AGM will be held on the 25th May at 7.30pm in the Castlehill Heritage Centre, Castletown. Three directors Jean Clasper, David Bertram and Irvine Smith will stand down from office by rotation, being eligible they will stand again for re-election. Any member who wishes to stand for the Board should contact Jean Barnett, Chair, on 01847 851353 by 1st May 2011. The Trust is still in need of a Treasurer, if you feel you could help please get in touch with Jean.

This has been a busy winter for the Board with several projects on the go. In the autumn of 2010 the Trust applied to the Caithness Environmental Fund for an improvement grant for Heathsfield Wood, Brough and I'm very pleased to be able to say that the application was successful. This small woodland was gifted by Mr and Mrs Heath to DFT in 2008; during the winter new pathways have been created, boardwalks fixed in place, ditches cleared and the pond refilled. The project is almost at an end now and the woodland has become a safe and beautiful place for general public use. It is proposed to have an "Opening Ceremony" on Saturday June 4th to coincide with Brough Harbour Day, more details of this nearer to the day but in the meantime please feel free to visit and use the woodland, you won't be disappointed.

The Trust is also planning to build a Woodland Shelter in Dunnet Forest, this project is being managed by Nettie Ward, board member, it is almost at planning permission stage now after months of discussion, planning and paperwork! The building will be made from our own timber and it is proposed to run a training course in log scribing to coincide with the construction of the shelter. Henry Fosbrooke from Milton near Tain will be supervising the building and training once we get to that stage. He has already paid the forest a visit and we have picked out and numbered the trees that will be used for the project.

More excellent news!, the forest has just been awarded a grant from the Scottish Government Climate Challenge Fund, the Trust were awarded £26,613.00 out of a total project cost of £32,213.00, so some local matched funding will be needed. This project called Caithness Community Woodfuel will enable the Trust to buy the following much needed forestry equipment; a quad bike suitable for hauling out timber, forestry trailer with winch, a woodstore and lock up container. Our present equipment is no longer fit for purpose but with new machinery we will be able to build on and expand our present log sales, this will not only help to lower the carbon emissions in the Caithness area but will help to make the forest more financially viable by improved timber efficiency and output.

As from now the Trust will be holding log sales on the first Saturday of every month throughout the year and as our new woodstore should be in place before the autumn, we will be able to offer our customers a much improved product as all rings and split logs will be stored under cover and kept dry. Monthly log sales will also help our customers to plan ahead for the winter and to organise a stockpile over the summer months.

A big THANK YOU to all our members who supported the donation appeal in the autumn news- letter, to date the appeal has raised a magnificent £1,400-00 which will be a great help with forest cash flow problems. Some future fund raising events have been planned as we want to improve our financial reserves. The first event will be held at Ackergill Tower, in the Opera House on the 13th April, Lady Claire MacDonald will be giving a cookery demonstration. DFT has been given the use of the Opera house free of charge whilst Lady Claire MacDonald has waived her usual fee, so all money raised after expenses will be going towards the forest upkeep. All tickets are now sold, many thanks for your support if you have bought one.

Tree planting has been going ahead well this year, especially as the weather has been favourable. A volunteer planting day was organised on the 19th March by our own Forest Ranger, Kirsty, and over 450 trees were planted. A donation of 840 mixed broadleaves by the Woodland Trust in January has meant that planting costs have been kept to a minimum this year, we will have some trees left over from the donation after beating up has taken place, these will be planted in the nursery and allowed to grow on for another year before being planted out so next year's costs will be reduced too. Another volunteer tree planting day is scheduled to take place on Friday April 22nd during the Easter holidays, we have at least another 100 trees left to plant, all with tree guards and stakes, volunteers -young and old- are wanted, please do come along.

Our Forest Ranger, Kirsty Rosie, has been very busy over the winter months. Green gym work parties are now organised on a weekly basis on Thursdays and are a great help with forest maintenance. Regular visits are made by health groups and excluded pupils, everyone helping to keep your forest well maintained. Would you like to be a volunteer? If so please email Kirsty at for more information.

The forest has practically a non existent tool kit!!! Have you got hand tools lying idle in your shed/garage that you no longer need such as a battery operated drill and drills, socket set, screwdriver various sizes, hammers, pliers, files etc ? If you want to find them a good home we'd love to have them. Phone or email the office and we can arrange a collection time.

Following our newsletter appeal, a number of life members suggested the Trust should look at an annual subscription rather than a one-off payment. The Board had also been discussing this but are all too aware of the life-time membership promise made to members when they joined, and want to honour this. The Board are thinking of forming a "Friends of the Forest" made up of individuals willing to pay a small subscription to the forest every year. The Board have also discussed tree sponsorship, and the possibility of new members paying an annual fee whilst existing members do not. We'd like to hear your views - please email to let us know the following:

Kind regards, Jean Barnett. Chair.

Log sale dates for the rest of the year will be the following:- May 7th, June 4th, July 2nd, August 6th, Sept. 3rd, Oct. 1st, Nov. 5th, Dec. 3rd. For sales out with these dates please ring Jean Barnett on 01847 851353 to arrange a convenient collection time.

If you have received this newsletter by post but have an email address, please help us keep costs down by providing us with your email address. Contact the office -



At the AGM in May a vacancy on the Board was filled by the election of David Glass who has been a long term supporter of the Trust. The office bearers then elected for the year 2010/11 were as follows. -- Jean Barnett, Chair; Will Menzies, Vice Chair; Stuart Young, Treasurer; Maureen Clarkson, Company Secretary; David Bertram, Director responsible for Health & Safety; and Jean Clasper and Irvine Smith, Board members.

Kirsty Rosie was appointed as part-time Community Forest Ranger commencing work on 1st June for two full days a week. She has settled into her job extremely well, infectiously injecting an enthusiasm to harness more voluntary participation within the forest. She has had various groups assisting with nursery operations where it is important that young stock of sound local provenance is grown and cared for prior to planting out as replenishing stock.

Our administrator, Andrea Sinclair, who had given sterling service resigned at the end of June. In September, she was replaced by Heather Urquhart who has now settled into the job working two mornings per week in the office at Castlehill.

In August Stuart Young resigned as Treasurer after having been in post since DFT came into being. Shortly after, Will Menzies retired from the Board hopefully to be replaced by one who would be younger and fitter. Will had been chairman of the Forest Steering Group set up in 1999 when SNH invited the community to consider management of the forest and prior to the founding of DFT when he became its first chairman. John Crowden, who in the past, has been Vice-Chair agreed to be co-opted to the Board once again. There is currently a need to fill the post of Treasurer.

Our two part-time forest workers, Kevin and Paul had three voluntary helpers from Nuvia for about seven weeks in the early summer. This was a most unexpected help and proved to be a great benefit. Later Dounreay apprentices spent a week bridge building in August under direction of Jim Swan their training officer. Jim has annually put apprentices to the forest for one week. He is personally very interested in the work of the forest and since 2003 has been one of our most staunchly active and generous supporters.

In September, Diane Oliver started work as Development Officer for the Community Woodland Association. She is to visit DFT sometime in November to discuss social enterprise ideas and any training that may be needed by employees or directors for future social enterprise projects. As DFT is one of six Highland community forests participating in an employability project we will have frequent contact with Diane who will have an input to the project.

Kirsty and I represented DFT, recently at the AGM of the CWA at Callander so have made an initial contact with Diane. I was elected to the Board of the CWA at the conference, so DFT is well represented in the field of community forestry. It is important to be involved and while we are one of the peripheral groups this has never been a hindrance to participating.

Forest operations have Kevin and Paul continuing to thin and clear timber to furnish demand at log sales, clearing areas for replacement planting and maintaining paths and bridges. Log sales provide the only unrestricted income for DFT with the exception of personal donations. In the present climate finance is difficult but in spite of great difficulties the Board is determined to try to keep going to implement the plans for the forest - to save, sustain and preserve it for all.

Cashflow remains a serious problem, our reserves have fallen sharply over the past three years due to the protracted delay of the Management and Business plans. These were finally accepted in October 2009 by the Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage. Substantial reserves are necessary to even out the peaks and troughs in funding and enable work to be carried out in advance of funding receipts; forestry grants are often paid eighteen months in arrears. A contingency fund is also needed for dealing with unexpected events and to give confidence to employees that DFT has the ability to pay salaries for a reasonable foreseeable future. For these reasons the Board have decided, very reluctantly, to include an appeal for donations in this autumn's newsletter, all donations no matter how small will be most welcome and will help to increase our cash reserves. The Board, in the meantime, will continue to actively fund raise and to try to seek out additional funding streams.

Should you pay income tax and wish to make a donation, please fill in and return the enclosed donation form, DFT can then claim an extra 25% back from the Inland Revenue at no extra cost. The forest is a great asset to the community but has always been a financial liability.

There is also another way to help us to raise funds; do you like to shop online? --------- The Giving Machine - You Shop, They Give. You can now generate free cash donations for Dunnet Forestry Trust every time you shop online via TheGivingmachine website. It will not cost you anything extra- the online shop pays the donation on your behalf. Just go to

Join as a shopper/giver.
Choose to support Dunnet Forestry Trust,
Remember to shop via TheGivingMachine every time you shop online.

You'll find more than 300 different shops at TheGivingMachine including all your favourite High Street names. Dunnet Forest Trust will be given up to 2 ½% of the purchase price with no cost to you.

Still on the subject of funds, Joanne Kaar has made a very generous donation to the Trust of two of Robert Dick's flower prints, these drawings of Dunnet links plants have been printed onto Joanne's hand made paper and measure 30cmsx43cms approx and would make someone a special Christmas present. Joanne has given them to the Trust to sell to raise funds, the prints can be viewed on the forest website shortly and the first offer of, or over £42.50 for each print (current retail price) after November 26th will be accepted, just email in your offer. (These prints have now been sold)

The Trust will be selling a limited number of Christmas trees again this year priced at £2.50 per foot, please email or phone in your order as soon as possible for either a Lodgepole or Spruce tree, ready for collection from the forest on Saturday 11th December between 10am and 1pm--- our December log sale day, or a pre-arranged time if the 11th is not convenient. Dates for future logs sales are Nov 20th, Dec 11th, Jan 8th, Feb. 5th, March 5th, April 2nd, May 7th, all sales information is on our web site.

Volunteers are always needed, if you'd like to help out please come, help is always needed at our log sales, with tree planting, forest maintenance (pruning etc.) not chainsaws! Just phone or email the office and leave your name and number, we'll get back to you!

Kind regards Jean Barnett, Chair


Community Forest Ranger News

Hello DFT members, Since taking up post in June it has been wonderful to watch the community use of our forest steadily increase in pace. With forest schools, health walks and volunteer placements for excluded pupils peeping over the horizon we'll soon be approaching full tilt! Any ideas for future projects, or skills/volunteer time you could offer would be greatly received.

There has been no shortage of visiting groups. Active schools, the 'Monday' club, holiday clubs, nurseries and schools have all enjoyed ranger led activities in the forest. A popular family event in the summer holidays welcomed almost a 100 people and saw the creation of an even more popular sculpture. The bear achieved celebrity status amongst our youngest visitors whom I'm sure will be glad to hear of his return from hibernation in the spring. This event was run by volunteers from DFT alongside the Highland Council Rangers.

A group of adults with learning disabilities forms the backbone of the fortnightly work party undertaking a variety of conservation tasks with remarkable good cheer. I'm sure you will have noticed that the areas around the disabled trail are looking well cared for. The group will be working on a 'Christmas tree in a pot' project and I would encourage all members to please support the Trust by coming along to the log sale on the 11th of Dec to buy a small potted tree.



Do you have an email address?

Please send it into the office if you haven't already done so---
This will help to keep our administration costs down and also save on stamps.



If you would like to download a membership form click here. Please send the completed form along with the membership fee of £5.00 to Dunnet Forestry Trust, Castlehill Heritage Centre, Harbour Road, Castletown Caithness, KW14 8TG.



The AGM will be held on 26th May at 7.30pm in the Castlehill Heritage Centre. Three directors, Jean Barnett, Maureen Clarkson and Stuart Young, will stand down from office by rotation. Being eligible, they will stand again for re- election. Any member who wishes to stand for the Board should contact Jean Barnett, chair, on 01847 851353 by Thursday 1 April.

This winter has been severe, protracted and unsuitable for much that needs to be done in the forest. The severity of frost enduring for so long has meant that planting and restocking could not take place as young trees were frozen in the nursery and the ground was too hard to prepare for planting out. Now that the weather is improving we need to catch up with planned restocking and beating up previous plantings. It will be helpful to encourage volunteers willing to assist with various tasks which need to be done throughout the year. Any one who feels able to help with tree planting, path maintenance, removing shelterguards from established young trees, ditching, or seed gathering for nursery should give their name to Andrea Sinclair, Forest Administrator, Dunnet Forestry Trust, Castlehill Heritage Centre, Harbour Road, Castletown. Please indicate what times one may be available. Any help will be greatly appreciated by the Board and by Kevin and Paul who are working two days per week in the forest.

Dounreay apprentices wish to have a building project designed for this year. Details have been discussed by the Board and with Jim Swan who is in charge of Apprentice Training at Dounreay. Plans are being drawn up and will be presented to the Highland Council Planning Department for planning permission. It is hoped that this will be dealt with promptly and that work will then go ahead. This, when completed, will be a lasting tribute to the work apprentices have done every year within the forest. Apprentices will design and build structures using timber from the forest. Funding will be required but initially a very generous donation from Nettie Ward has given momentum to any funding request DFT may seek. When plans are finalised and ready to be presented to HC Planning for Planning permission , they will be published and exhibited in a public place for members to peruse and to comment.

It is our intention to move the container to a site nearer to the road which, on the advice of the local police crime prevention officer, will improve its safety situation. The apprentices will make a covered area for the storage of split firewood adjacent to the container. This, hopefully, will be done before the next season's firewood sales commence in September.

DFT chair, has successfully negotiated with Forestry for People, for a part-time post of Community Forest Ranger. This post is currently being advertised. It will not impinge on, but will complement, the good work already being done by the Highland Council Ranger whose job is not confined to Dunnet Forest. The work of the HC Ranger within the forest tends to be seasonal rather than all year round. Naturally, a good liaison between the HC Ranger and the new appointee will be vitally important to avoid duplication of effort, particularly during the schools summer term. Highland Council Discretionary Fund is supporting this venture for a three year period. DFT is grateful to the local councilors for their interest and commitment.

This new post of Community Forest ranger will emphasise and develop education, recreation, health and well-being as well as forest maintenance and bio-diversity. It is designed to strengthen, encourage and maximize involvement of forest users with forest activities throughout the four seasons of the year. For example -- collecting seeds for future stock is done in autumn, while planting out new stock is a late winter early spring task. Hopefully more volunteers will become involved in the day to day workings within the forest so that the burden presently carried by a few will be shared by the community. It may eventually be possible to establish a "Forest School."

Community Woodland - Employability Services is a new scheme to be pioneered by the Community Woodland Association. Dunnet is one of six Highland forests invited to participate. along with Abriachan Forest Trust, Laide and Aultbea Forest Trust, Milton Forest Trust, Assynt Foundation and Culag Community Woodland Trust. All six are seen to be Social Enterprise Groups and constitute the project steering group. The aim is to offer a range of services to excluded groups with a view to providing a full suite of opportunities from confidence building through woodland skills to securing land management and forestry SVQ qualifications where appropriate. The services would be provided in mainly rural areas where there is currently little provision for local people.

Funding has recently been secured by CWA for this project. A work plan June 2010 until March 2012 has been drawn up for implementation once CWA appoint a Social Enterprise Development Officer who will arrange training events for groups and networking meetings between them. Funding has become much more difficult since SNH's financial support to DFT to manage their forest has been withdrawn. This means a considerable shortfall in what is required to fund the on-going forest works. Therefore other funds need to be found if DFT is to be able to continue in the long term to manage the forest as a community forest. It is proposed to take a stall at a car-boot sale on 17th April to be held in Castletown Drill Hall from 10am until noon. Have you anything to contribute?

Because of the severe frost, log sales in February had to be postponed. The March sale was disappointing but hopefully April and May will improve our sales. This income is DFT's only source of unrestricted finance. All other income from funders is for specific use and has to be accounted for accordingly. Unrestricted income allows a degree of flexibility and helps to put the icing on the cake!

Any member who is on e-mail should please send their e-mail address to the Trust if they have not already done so. This will facilitate the issuing of information to members and be financially beneficial to DFT.



The funding support from Scottish Natural Heritage, the current landlord, has dried up and we are now 100% self supporting - which is a huge task. The trust is reorganising itself and must try to balance its books.

We need to save labour costs so we are setting up a volunteer list to help with the planting of trees and path and forestry maintenance that doesn't involve chainsaws. We need volunteers in November and February for the tree planting. If anyone has a couple of hours to spare and wishes to volunteer, please contact us by email at or telephone 07770697711 and leave a message.


"Friend of Dunnet Forest"

It only costs £5 to become a life member of Dunnet Forest. Anyone interested should email asking for an application form, and once completed, should send with £5 to Dunnet Forestry Trust, Castlehill Heritage Centre, Harbour Road, Castletown, KW14 8TG. Members receive a Newsletter twice a year.


E-Mail Addresses

If you are a "Friend of Dunnet Forest", ie a member, could you send your email address, with full name and address to to enable our database to be updated. In future any newsletters or correspondence will be sent by email wherever possible to reduce postage costs.


People Counter

Dounreay apprentices completed a project to provide DFT with two counters, one at each end of the forest. They were fitted on 17 September 2008 and have been checked regularly. Counts in and out have averaged 110 people/day which in turn means 40,000 people visit the forest each year.