Harmeny Community Woodland is a small area of mixed woodland located on Harlaw Road, Balerno, adjacent to the Bavelaw Burn. The land is owned by Harmeny Education Trust Ltd (at the other side of the burn) but was gifted to the community in 1998.
A woodland management group oversees the work of occasional volunteer working parties, including selectively cutting back non-native trees such as Sycamore and replacing them with native species such as Oak and Ash. Advice and support with funding applications is provided to the management team by The Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust (ELGT). The management also group co-ordinate school and community events such as bat and moth nights, storytelling and bushcraft courses.
In 2010, the path network was repaired and a seat (built by children at Harmeny School) was installed in the lower portion of the wood, overlooking the waterfall. A boundary hedge of Holly, Hawthorn and Hazel was planted on the eastern side.
Trees that have been cut down or have fallen during the gales are often left to rot down naturally on the ground. This may look untidy but the woodland benefits from having a continuous supply of new and old rotting wood to provide shelter for insects and food for fungi, which in turn support birds and animals in the woodland ecosystem. Rotting wood also returns nutrients to the soil to benefit living trees. If this process is interrupted, the natural cycle is broken.
Every year a creative programme of events and activities is organised within the woodland , in partnership with Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust, to promote the woodland, encourage people to visit and explore and to discover what is to be found there.
All the events and activities are free and are open to all and include some of the following:
- Bat Walks and other wildlife identification
- Bushcraft workshops for families
- Nature activities for school pupils
- Storytelling for all ages
- Expressive arts workshops
- Fungi Forays.
We are very grateful to have received funding from a number of groups and organisations, such as the Neighbourhood Partnership Community Grant Fund, Forestry Commission Community Fund, Currie & Balerno Round Table and Friends of Harmeny, in order to allow these events to take place.
Using the woodland
Perhaps you are a dog walker whose pet enjoys roaming the network of paths? Or a family who come to picnic at the toadstools? Or maybe you enjoy the solace of the bench overlooking the waterfall? The woodland is there for everyone in the community to share.
You can find out more about the woodland and any of our community events, through emailing the Harmeny Wood Group at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by contacting Kevin Aitken, Estate Gardener / Ranger on 0131 449 3938 or at email@example.com.
Please note: Harmeny woodland can only be accessed from the gate on Harlaw Road and NOT through the school grounds.