A rural community project is preparing to branch out after receiving grant aid from the Scottish Land Fund.
Members of the Dronley Community Woodland charity has been given £394,000 which will allow it to purchase the 50 hectare Dronley Wood and secure its future for generations to come.
The group will also use its funding to appoint a part-time woodland-manager.
The site comprises mature mixed woodland midway between Dundee and the Sidlaws.
It is laced with a network of paths leading from its public car park and its Scots Pines are home to a community of red squirrels and a wide range of other wildlife.
There were fears for the wood’s future early last year when it was announced it was to be sold by Forest Enterprise Scotland.
The Dronley Community Woodland charity was formed under the chairmanship of Shiona Baird with Garry Stewart as secretary in the hope it could purchase the wood under a community asset transfer scheme and become its trustee on behalf of the communities of Auchterhouse, Dronley and Templeton.
The £394,000 will now enable the charity to move forward with their ambitious plans which include the possibility of a forest school.
Commenting on the funding Shiona Baird said: “We are absolutely delighted Dronley Wood’s future now looks secure.
“We’ve worked hard this year to get our proposal together and this award makes everything worthwhile.”
The charity wants to manage and improve Dronley Wood for the benefit of the community, educate the community about the biodiversity and protected species of the woodland, as well as facilitating opportunities for activities to help to the physical mental and social health of the community.
The Dronley Wood award was amongst a wide range of initiatives sharing in £1,903,516 from the Scottish Land Fund.
Fund chairman John Watt said: “It’s wonderful to see such a wide range of community land and asset projects, from many different parts of Scotland, sharing in these Scottish Land Fund awards.
“With community acquisitions of woodlands, shops and land for housing, this funding shows just how creative, forward-thinking and committed local groups are in their ambitions of turning their community ownership project ideas into reality.
“I wish them all every success as they follow in the footsteps of those communities who are already creating stronger and more sustainable futures, thanks to the Scottish Land Fund.”
The Scottish Land Fund, funded by the Scottish Government, is keen to support more applications from across Scotland and particularly within urban areas.
Groups considering applying should contact the Big Lottery Fund to discuss their idea at email@example.com or by phoning 0300 123 7110.