What’s been happening at Tiroran Community Forest?

It’s been a busy and exciting spring! After our new Community Forester, Philip Yielder, spent a few weeks finding his feet in the forest and getting up to speed with the role, he was straight into fence building and tree planting. A perimeter fence has been erected around a large area including along the road on the West side of the forest in preparation for mixed broadleaf and native conifer planting. However, due to some unresolved boundary issues it hasn’t yet been possible to complete the fencing over the river and a small protected area within was needed quickly in order to plant our trial trees. This was completed at the end of April and planting of the control trees was able to begin.

7,000 trees, including birch, oak, holly and willow are being planted, half of which are wax treated as a barrier against pine weevil and half of which are untreated. The saplings will be monitored to see how they do – tests have shown Tiroran Community Forest to have a high pine weevil population. May is not ideal for planting young, bare-root trees but circumstances have made it necessary. We are hoping to get some rain soon to help them settle in!

We are always so delighted when Bunessan Primary School has learning days in the forest. Every age group visited in May, led by Emily the Ranger, who always makes their outdoor learning fun and interesting. This time they planted trees, visited the willow Giant Heads and had a great time spotting the fabulous plants and animals in the Woollen Woods. Held on Sunday 19th May, this was the second Woollen Woods event at Tiroran Community Forest, organised by local weaver and creator, Monica Haddock. It was a great day, with over 60 people attending to try out spoon carving, felting and willow weaving. There was storytelling under the magic mushrooms and a chance to plant a tree with the community forester.

Now we are looking forward to our event with Woodland Tribe in July, where everyone will have a chance to help design and build a unique adventure playground structure in the forest! Check out our Events page for more information.


New Community Forester!

Thanks to funding from the Leader programme we have been delighted to be able to appoint a full-time Community Forester, Philip Yielder, for Tiroran Forest. The role of Community Forester is a varied one, from working with our commercial timber operators, to replanting trees, to overseeing the development of recreational facilities such as footpaths and heritage interpretation, to ensuring the forest school is safe and that there is sufficient toilet roll in the compost toilet!


Contact Philip on pyielder@swmid.co.uk









An invite to Woollen Woods at Tiroran Forest

After a year and a half of focusing on roads and plant health notices – the nitty-gritty of forest management – we are looking forward to 2019. Thanks to receiving Leader funding we will be advertising for a forester in the new year and are already planning some activities.
Following on from the success of the woollen flower meadow event in March, thanks to Monica Haddock, a bigger woollen woods event is being planned for May. Emily Wilkins, the ranger, and Monica have already started to invite people to start making their woollen creations. Click on the link below for helpful suggestions about what you could make!

Woollen Woods Invite

Here are some creations people have already been busy making.

If you have any great ideas about an activity you would like to organise in the forest, please get in touch.

Bendoran Buyout?

Bendoran Boatyard

SWMID are looking into a proposal for us to buy the land and houses for sale at Bendoran for the benefit of the community. One of the properties has already sold but we are exploring the possibility of buying the remaining sites. Ideas for the sites include an outdoor activity centre run as a social enterprise, shoreside facilities to support a potential community-owned seaweed farm and affordable housing. A public meeting is due to be held on Thursday 22nd November at 7pm in Bunessan Hall. Please come along as we are keen to hear your views.

Also if you are interested in what other things SWMID has been up to over the last year come along to our Annual General Meeting which is being held on Saturday 24th November at 11am in Creich Hall. 

We are seeking new directors with energy and commitment to help drive forward SWMID’s many and varied projects. If you are interested in joining the SWMID Board, please get in touch.

If you need more information on Bendoran or you are keen to become a Director please contact Morven on;

01681 700021 or mgibson@swmid.co.uk

If you need more information regarding the AGM please contact Saskia; 

01681 700021 or admin@swmid.co.uk

Welcome to Saskia and Helen!

At South West Mull and Iona Development we seem to be busier than ever! We have welcomed two new members of staff over the past couple of months, bringing our team up to four.

Saskia Davidson (on the left), our new administrator, started at the beginning of September and has been quickly getting to grips with our finance package, organising and minuting meetings, taking charge of our social media and whatever else we throw at her. 

Helen Petrie, our ScotGrad, started on 1st October and is supporting Morven with project development. The ScotGrad programme is 70% funded and is for someone who has acquired a relevant qualification within the past three years and has appropriate skills to fit with the role.

Both women have brought a new energy to the SWMID team and we are delighted to have them on board.

Community Land Week Event: Thursday 16th August

Community Land Scotland represents community landowners all over Scotland, including South West Mull and Iona Development, supporting and driving forward community land ownership. 

Scotland’s first ever Community Land Week runs from Saturday 11th to Sunday 19th August and celebrates community ownership, as well as encouraging people to find out what is happening on community owned land in their local area, or further afield. 

As part of this week, on Thursday 16th August, South West Mull and Iona Development are holding an event entitled: “Tiroran Community Forest – Then and Now”. The event takes place in the forest and explores three aspects that have been affected by changes in land ownership and use over time; People, Forestry, Biodiversity & Nature. We are very lucky to have three distinguished experts to guide us through these topics! Christine Leach will be talking about the people that used to occupy the forest and there will be an opportunity to find out from us about possible future repopulation through the introduction of woodland crofts. Chris Marsh of the Community Woodlands Association will be exploring the forestry plantation of the 1970s in comparison with future plans and aspirations. John Clare will be looking at the species in the forest and the impact of previous and future forest management.

It promises to be a fascinating afternoon. Please join us from 1pm to 4pm at the main forest entrance by the bridge.

Booking is not required but contact Morven on mgibson@swmid.co.uk or 01681 700021 if you would like more information.

Click here for more information on Community Land Week.




Fèis Mhuile: 9th, 10th & 11th February 2018

Thank goodness for Fèis Mhuile. February weather: the wind is howling, it’s grey and wet. But all is well, because in ten short days the bright, sparkly and warming Fèis Mhuile is back!

Friday 9th February, Argyll Arms, 8.30pm
Dihaoine 9mh Gearran, Argyll Arms, 8.30f

Tutor’s Ceilidh Cèilidh an luchd-oide
Listen to a fabulous session with our Fèis tutors/Cothrom èisteachd ri luchd-ciùil nam fèis aig seisean-ciùil 

 Saturday 10th February
Disathairne 10mh Gearran,

Classes for adults: Singing and Step-dancing. Book your place!
Clasaichean do dh’ inbhich: Seinn agus dannsa-ceum. Thigibh ann!  

Saturday 10th February, Bunessan Hall, 8pm
 Talla Bhun Easain, 8f

Fèis Dance Dannsa na fèise  Cosgais | Cost: £5/£3
Tickets on the door Tiocaidean air an doras

Dance the night away with the Fèis Ceilidh band/Ceòl le luchd-oide nam fèis – bheir leibh ur brògan-dannsaidh 

Sunday 11th February, Bunessan Hall, 2pm
Didòmhnaich 11mh Gearran, Talla Bhun Easain, 2f

 Fèis Concert Consart na fèise Cosgais £1

All weekend there are classes for children with spaces still available for all ages. 

For more information, please contact Celia:
Gheibhear tuilleadh fiosrachaidh bho Celia: 

01681 700021/admin@swmid.co.uk












Farewell to John

John and Colin, SWMID’s chair, overseeing felling in the forest.


We are sad to be saying goodbye to John Clare at the end of the year. 

John has given so much time and energy, both as a SWMID director and then as Forest Officer, from November 2015.

John’s expertise and knowledge have been invaluable. We are hoping we can persuade him to lead some guided walks and activities in the forest this spring and summer. Watch this space! 



John with his lovely wife Sue having a quiet break at the forest opening celebration in June 2016





Housing Needs Surveys


At our Community Consultations in 2016, a lack of affordable housing was identified as a key challenge to the sustainability of thriving communities in South West Mull and Iona. This was linked to the need to retain and attract working age individuals and families to live in this area.

In response to this key issue, South West Mull and Iona Development have commissioned Our Island Home – Rural Housing Scotland to carry out housing need surveys for South West Mull and for Iona. Please see the links below.

Anyone can fill in a survey – you don’t have to be in need of affordable housing yourself. This is an issue that affects us as a whole community as well as having an impact on individuals’ lives. If you know of anyone who lives outwith the area but would like to live and work here if affordable housing were available, please ask them to fill in a form too. The results of these surveys are a way of demonstrating housing need to funders and decision-makers and can be used to support affordable housing developments.

Closing date is 31st December 2017 – please don’t leave it too late. 

 South West Mull Survey – https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/T2DZVDM

 Iona Survey – https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TVF77M2

 If you know of anyone who might prefer a paper copy to fill in, please contact Cameron Anson on 07933424812  or cameron@ruralhousingscotland.org