Down in the Wildwood, Something Stirs

I love this time of the year, especially once POP is over and I can enjoy it, and above all I love the colour of the just-emerged spring leaves which is so fleeting and so gorgeous with the sunlight filtering through it that the Germans, of course, have a word for it:

Today, then, with the Weather Gods relenting and bringing us some proper May weather (I knew they read this blog), was the perfect day to finally visit Carrifran Wildwood, which I have blogged about before. We pass it every time we go back and forth to Duns, and we have watched with interest over the years as the tiny trees have grown up from a barely visible fuzz on the hillside, but we’ve never properly visited.

Carrifran Wildwood

Today we took the opportunity of a guided walk led by one of the people who’s been involved from the start (and joined by the contractor who planted several thousand of the trees we were there to see over the years). It was a gloriously sunny day, loud with birds, and a fascinating glimpse into a project I’ve long been admiring from afar.

carrifran new trees

It was great to hear about its history from the people involved and learn more about the wildlife that was coming back alongside the trees – but you don’t need a guide to see what an amazing difference a few determined people can make if they stick at it year after year (and don’t let anyone tell them what they’re doing is impossible).

trees emerging on the hillside

We even got to see the original rowan, the sole surviving tree in the valley when it all started, now surrounded by its own emerging offspring.

Original rowan

We’ve got used to Scottish hillsides being cropped bare by sheep and deer, and the rest of the valley where the wildwood lies does have its own bleak beauty, but Carrifran is something else.

Carrifran track

Such a contrast between the emerging native woods – and the bare hills and plantation forest beyond

Go if you can, in May if you can, when all the birds are singing their hearts out and the trees are just putting out their leaves. You won’t regret it.

Carrifran track

Though maybe bring some boots.

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5 Responses to Down in the Wildwood, Something Stirs

  1. Charles says:

    Last year we’d had a week staying in Longformacus at the end of June. It was the coldest midsummer I have experienced since we were in Inverurie and Perthshire ten years before. It is a very pretty area Duns but warm it is not.

    Lovely pictures, I do find the idea that anyone would walk up there without boots quite frightening, but then when you are local you probably take your children up in trainers.

  2. disgruntled says:

    To be fair, everybody except the dog was wearing boots.

  3. Karl says:

    The German (very obscure) word is ‘Maienschein’ actually. (Sorry to be pedantic.)

  4. […] goats that roam the area, and the sheep that were busy keeping everything close cropped. After our visit to Carrifran, I couldn’t help wondering what the valley might be like if the sheep and goats were vanished […]

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