Community and Schools Projects
2007 The Forest of the Future
In 2007 a steep slope of land to the north of the Great Glen Way on Dunain Woodland was chosen to create a forest of the future. Children from 3 local schools; Muirtown Primary, Kinmylies Primary and Charleston Academy, each planted a native tree sapling with a stake bearing their name on a copper label. Over 1000 trees were planted. The pupils and teachers from these schools have since taken charge of developing the area. An entrance of steps, a notice board and benches have all been completed and an earth path cuts in a loop through the young trees that are individually guarded from deer and rabbits. The new trees of the future forest are birch, hawthorn, rowan and hazel (each one representing one letter of the celtic alphabet) Red squirrels are in the mature woods that border the area, buzzards fly overhead and yellowhammers and finches sing from the gorse bushes. More tree saplings will be planted each year by the infant pupils when they start school.
Duck Pond Path
The old Craig Dunain Hospital Duck Pond has existed since the 1880s when it was created to enhance the lives of the patients. Until the hospital closed the duck pond was fenced off from the surrounding woods to protect the many domesticated varieties of ducks, aviary birds and peacocks that were kept there but once the hospital closed in 1999 it became a neglected, overgrown and gloomy place without any birds remaining there. Dunain Community Woodland successfully applied for £10,000 funding from the Lottery (BBC Breathing Places). Using the award, the ugly high fence was removed, the area was cleared of undergrowth and a new family friendly aggregate path was made. Children from local primary schools were invited to a 'Do One Thing' event on Oct 31st 2008 when they planted bulbs and bog plants, went on leaf hunts and toasted marshmallows on a fire with sticks they had whittled themselves . An expert local chain saw artist, Iain Chalmers, worked on the giant stump of an old leylandi tree which had been removed to give more light to the pond. Iain used his chainsaws to create a fox in his lair at the foot of the tree then added a hedgehog and baby owl. He will return to carve more animals that live in local woodland.
Also at the duck pond is a pet cemetery from days past, which was used in memory of dogs kept at the hospital by some staff members. Nowadays it is illegal to bury animals on public ground. A new pet cemetery has been created at Inshes, Inverness
A grant from Awards from All has enabled Dunain Community Woodland to commission signs to be situated at 3 places of entry to Dunain Woods. These signs will show maps of the area and direct people to places of interest, giving information about the animals and plants and other background information.