Frequently Asked Questions

View of the Forest

If you have a question about South West Mull and Iona Development, please send it to admin@swmid.co.uk. Not only will we answer your question, we might also post it on the website!

1. Can we walk or cycle in Tiroran Community Forest?

Yes – as long as you are observant of the forestry management signs. If you follow this link it will take you to our Forest News page where there is a description of a lovely walking and cycling route. This link takes you to a map. Please park in the parking area by the bridge and enjoy the forest!

2. Why do felled areas of forest look such a mess?

It has been necessary to fell large areas of the forest quickly so all areas are freshly felled and at the same stage.

The felling machinery cuts the trees as close to the ground as possible, avoiding the very lowest section where buttresses form (these odd-shaped ends cannot be handled by timber mills). The brash (twigs, side branches, etc that are removed by the felling machinery) is left between the stumps to help provide a firm surface for the forestry vehicles to drive on when replanting, fencing etc. They also rot back into the ground quite quickly to provide nutrients for the new crop of trees.

The stumps and brash don’t currently have any commercial value, but we will be investigating biomass, composting and other projects in the future to create uses and values for at least some of the material.

All felled areas have to be replanted within five years. When the areas are due for replanting they will be cleared of stumps and brash.

Meanwhile, the newly opened up vistas are amazing!

3. What are the future plans for the forest?

Our first priority is to establish the forest as a sustainable commercial enterprise that can provide a long-term income for the communities of South West Mull and Iona. We also wish to open up areas of the forest for locals and visitors alike to access. We have consulted the local community about what they would like: bike trails, walkways, a visitor’s centre and an adventure playground are among the suggestions. There will also be scope for timber-related businesses to develop in the forest, hopefully some with training opportunities. The forest has a rich ecosystem that we are committed to enhancing by replanting with more native species. There are also a number of sites of archaeological interest that we plan to develop with interpretation signs and accessible paths. It’s early days, but there are lots of plans – keep an eye out for the changes. You can find out more if you look under the Tiroran Community Forest section of our website.

4. Why is there felling taking place on the Eastern side of the forest?

Our plans have had to change. We have paused the felling that started in August and are felling an area of larch on the eastern side of the forest. This is in order to comply with a Plant Health Notice issued by the Forestry Commission. The larch have been found to carry Phytophthora Ramorum and we are obliged to fell all of the infected trees. In order to ensure the safety of the contractors working in a confined area, it is also necessary to fell an area of Sitka spruce around the larch. On the bright side, this is opening up the watercourse corridor which will allow for natural regeneration.

If you have a question about South West Mull and Iona Development, please send it to admin@swmid.co.uk. Not only will we answer your question, we might also post it on the website!

5. Is it possible to buy logs for wood fuel from Tiroran Community Forest?

Unfortunately, at the moment, it is not possible to buy wood fuel from any of the forests in South West Mull. This is due to the prevalence of Phythophthora Ramorum – a disease that has been found to have infected much of the larch in the area. Plant health regulations dictate that movement of larch is restricted in order to prevent the further spread of infection. This situation may change and we will keep you updated.

6. Are there grants available this year from Mull Eagle Watch?

With the introduction of the Waterfall Fund and the changes to Mull Eagle Watch, the takings at the end of the 2016 season have been distributed in a different way. Each of the community forests that host Mull Eagle Watch – that is Tiroran Community Forest and NW Mull Community Woodland Company – have been given an equal percentage of these funds. This year, we need to spend a proportion of these funds on upgrading the facilities for Mull Eagle Watch at Tiroran Community Forest. There will also be £500 sponsorship available to Bunessan and Iona Primary Schools for transport for visiting the forest and £350 sponsorship given to the annual Island Schools’ Sports Day at Garmony.