Drone photos over Kirkton Wood

These images have been taken by Peter MacKenzie & show the Kirkton area of Lochcarron, the ‘Haven on Earth’ path network, Kirkton woodland and the woodfuel yard in Kirkton wood.

Haven on Earth-part of the Access and Enterprise Programme


LCDC is delighted to announce that a funding package has been granted by LEADER Highland to start developing Kirkton Woodland. 50 % was awarded to match funds from Awards for All, the  Postcode Trust and Lochcarron Community Fund and LCDC.

Building on the successful community acquisition of Kirkton Woodland in 2015 and subsequent development of a new Access and Recreation Plan for the woods in early 2016, Lochcarron Community Development Company will be taking forward a range of initiatives aimed at fostering new connections between the woods, the local population and the area’s visitors. A two-year project will deliver pond creation, construction of a new all-abilities trail, wildlife/quiet zone design & tree planting, old drove track restoration, a cleared village heritage interpretation project and provision of new locally-designed Viewpoint ‘furniture’ & signboards. Aspects of each work programme will encourage primary school engagement as well as working with community volunteers, local arts, mental health and disability organisations in the area.

Within the wider community forest, groundworks/landscaping contract will reinstate watercourse and surface drains in the wake of recent tree harvesting disruption to allow future access development to be carried out by volunteer and contracted labour force.

Contracted survey and design work will result in costed plans for a wider network of forest trails linking the local village to long distance hill paths, riverside picnic areas and vantage points as well as developing circular ‘constitutional/jogging/dog walking’ loops.

Feasibility studies will also be produced analysing viability, scale and definition of a number of eco-tourism & business opportunities within the woods:- a memorial/green burial zone, a campsite & off-grid eco-pod venture, pony trekking & mountain biking provision, woodland crofts and a horticultural/growing zone.

this project will directly address the following:-

  • Improved access for residents and visitors to cultural, natural and heritage assets.
  • Increased community ownership/control of assets and services/activities.
  • People feel better supported to undertake volunteering opportunities.
  • Improved management/conservation/sustainability of cultural, natural and heritage assets
  • People have better access to local services and activities.
  • Improvements in the visitor experience.
  • Increased employment opportunities locally through new business start-ups and existing business diversification/development.

The short-term objectives of the project (trail & pond building, cultural heritage & wildlife area, school and volunteer programmes) are an initial step in a longer-term programme of new recreational, eco-tourism and social enterprise development within the woodland by forest owners, Lochcarron Community Development Company. Delivery methods will engage & utilise local volunteers/associations, schools and vulnerable adults to strengthen sense of local control (i.e. empowerment) & social cohesion that ownership of the forest originally set out to engender.

For local residents, this work provides new opportunities for formal and informal recreation in the area whilst fostering a greater appreciation and understanding of local heritage and the natural environment. For visitors – increasingly encouraged to ‘keep driving” and appreciate the unspoilt scenic beauty of Wester Ross through the car/coach window (e.g. North Coast 500, Wester Ross Coastal Trail) – the establishment of new and significant opportunities to stay a while and enjoy the Lochcarron area at a more intimate and leisurely pace are vital to securing local economic benefit for this remote community.

  • Construction of a 580m all-abilities loop trail with new pond, wildlife/quiet zone & amenity planting;
  • Design, create & install new interpretation amongst the ruins of an old cleared village site;
  • Design, construct & install new Viewpoint furniture & signage/artwork;
  • Undertake a programme of old drove track conservation & renovation;
  • Engage (on short term contract) sessional ‘animateurs’ & seasonal conservation volunteer group leaders to ensure aspects of each work programme engages with – and directly involves – different groups within the community;
  • Undertake a formative, landscape-scale groundworks contract to reinstate watercourses & drains in the wake of recent harvesting disruption – to facilitate easier/safe public access & access development;
  • Engage a part-time forest access & enterprise development officer  to:-
  • co-ordinate, supervise and administer all aspects of access project work;
  • survey, design, cost and prepare a future funding plan for a wider network of forest trails;
  • undertake feasibility studies to consider viability, scale & definition of new business & eco-tourism ventures within the woods –specifically ① green burial zone; ② campsite & off-grid eco-pod area; ƒ bespoke pony trekking & mountain biking facility provision; „ woodland crofts and/or a community horticultural zone.20160123_103751 20160123_105119 20150807_192035 20150405_150233 kirkton (55)

Job Vacancies. Forest workers

Lochcarron Community Development Company (LCDC)

are developing new access projects in the community-owned woodlands at Kirkton, Lochcarron.

We are currently seeking applicants to deliver the following fixed term contracts:-

Forest Access & Enterprise Officer (2 days/week, Jan 2017 – Dec 2018): To supervise all aspects of project work, financial & contract management; prepare new access proposals; promote, liaise & report on project outcomes. Prior experience of community-led development work preferable.

Forest Path Workers (2 people, 280 hrs each, Feb – May 2017): To construct a new all-abilities Heritage Trail with associated landscaping in Kirkton Woods. Prior experience of manual & machine-based woodland and path construction work preferable.

For further details & to apply contact:  Kristine Mackenzie, LCDC Development Officer

by telephone: 01520 722490 or email: kristinestrathcarron@gmail.com

Closing Date: 3rd January 2016.

Forest and access officer duties, details PDF

Forest Path workers PDF

leader-faeo-contract-duties-1-1 leader-faeo-contract-duties-1-2


LCDC/ KT NEWS October 2016

The July and August Market Days at Lochcarron Village Hall were exceptionally busy. We want to say a very big ‘Thank you!’ to all the volunteers for their hard work in running this monthly fund-raising event. The October Market Day will be the last one for this year, on Friday 28 October. Next year’s dates are already organised. Come along for a tasty homemade lunch, and browse the stalls selling local art & crafts and produce.

The iGallery at the Smithy Hub will shut for the season on Friday 29th October, giving us time to organise the Christmas Fair in there, running from Monday 21st November to Friday 2nd December, Mon – Fri 11am – 3pm. Anyone who would like to showcase their talents – crafts, baking, produce, etc., will be very welcome. To book a place call us on 01520 722 952, or email infosmithyhub@gmail.com, or pop into the iGallery to discuss your requirements (the sooner the better, as space is at a premium as usual).

The monthly Volunteer Workparty in October will be on Sunday 9th, from 11am – 3pm. Meet up at the Smithy Hub. Wear warm outdoor clothing. Lunch provided. All welcome!

As part of this year’s Highland Archaeology Festival we are holding an exhibition of The History of Kirkton Settlement. A visual timeline from 1583 to 2016. Maps, documents, photographs, text relating to Kirkton . In the Smithy Hub Treehouse, Mon 3rd to Thurs 6th October, 10am to 4pm. Free.

kirkton poster 1 copy barn-door-1

You can download the HAF Events Guide from www.highlandarchaeologyfestival.org 

The Railway Exhibition in the Treehouse throughout September had many visitors. Thank you! to all the folk who have given or lent us historical photos to add to our archive. We still have some photographs to scan and add to the archive and will be working throughout the winter to do this. If you have any historical photos of this locality we would be very grateful to borrow them so we can scan them and add them in. See some of our Heritage Photographs on this website www.lochcarroncommunity.com

We are holding a fund raising event for the Treehouse at Halloween. Spooky Stories by Lynda Beveridge and a Sweetie Hunt on Sunday 30th Oct. 4 – 5.30pm. £3.


We are currently organising our Autumn/Winter programme of Adult Education classes and courses. What would you like to have on the programme? What classes would you like to attend? Could you run some classes to teach people some skills you have? Please get in touch by email on infosmithyhub@gmail.com

 Micro Dairy and Artisan Kitchen update:

With planning approval granted the next phase of the project engages the services of a professional team, tasked to deliver Stage 2 – 4 drawings and submit for Building Warrant purposes. LCDC is working closely with Just Enterprise, HIE and the Lottery Assets team to deliver this exciting project.


As you know, this is a long term project, with many different strands.  Our Access and Recreation Plan gives a flavour of our project timelines together with an indication of costs. It is worth noting, that the early stages of development will be heavily reliant on grant funding and therefore subject to amendment

Priorities – Immediate Short Term

Years 2016-2018 – Capital Costs;

  • Construct 1st leg of new forest roading including new woodfuel hardstanding, relocate woodfuel operations Circa £25k
  • General purpose shed to be erected within close proximity to wood yard Circa £40k
  • Reinstate drainage network across entire harvested site. Construct ATV trackway through lower forest area
  • Fund raise and build new all abilities trail around old  settlement  £15k
  • Purchase Woodfuel equipment, forest tractor, processor, log trailer with crane, quad with heavy duty trailer, generator £72k
  • Establish memorial “quiet” zone £25k
  • Clear brash from settlement zone. Re-purpose threshold hard standing for car parking zone
  • Investigate social housing proposals – self build and affordable. Housing Needs Survey carried out Summer 2016
  • Source agreement with private landowner for acquisition to allow new threshold access for woodland trails  Circa £80k including District Valuer and other professional fees
  • Explore options for fencing – neighbouring land ownership boundaries
  • Investigate collaboration with neighbouring landowners to achieve broader, cross-boundary objectives
  • Negotiate standing sale, road building for 2nd tranche clearfell
  • Engage with a broader network of stakeholders
  • Implement lower slope restocking with commercial broadleaf and conifers
  • Continue to clear brash from social zones
dog walking

dog walking

Revenue Costs;

  • Forest Officer – 50%fte Circa  £30k
  • 2 Forest Workers – 50% fte Circa £29k
  • Memorial/Quiet Zone – path, pond, amenity planting Circa £3.5k
  • All abilities heritage trail – circular trail to Kirkton settlement ruins Circa £15k
  • Walk to village trail – paths, hard and soft landscaping Circa £10k
  • Drove Road trail – renovation and drainage Circa £10k
  • Cnoc na Staing Viewpoint – access and furniture upgrade Circa £500
  • Event site – hard and soft landscaping Circa £5k
  • Quad Training £900

Funding applications in support of the above are at various stages of development, some approved, some awaiting a response, some yet to be submitted.

vision statement2



Kirkton Woodland Recreational and Access Plan

LCDC Kirkton Wood - Rec and Access Plan - FINAL lo-res-1
Click the thumbnails to read the recreational Plan online or Download the  PDF here LCDC/ Kirkton Wood – Recreational and Access Plan –

Many thanks to Chris Marsh for all his work in this plan.

Artists vision statement of Kirkton Woodlands

Local Artist Lynne Roberts has painted for us some of the ideas that are being investigated or being worked on for Kirkton Woodland. This visualization will be used in conjunction with the recreational plan that Forest Officer Chris Marsh is currently working on, to explore, fund raise and communicate  some of the ideas for Kirkton Woodland in the future.vision statement2

These are some previous artists interpretations of ideas from the community by artist Vicky Stonebridge.

Volunteer events Spring 2016

Despite the horrible weather at the beginning of 2016, our volunteers have been busy in Kirkton Woodland. So far a long length of pathway has been cleared – The next event is February 13th 1030am at RVP at the woodfuel yard. more details below.
Many thanks to those who have been coming along and working so hard!027 028 029 030 20160123_103751 20160123_105119 20160123_105123 20160123_112403 20160123_113254



workparty poster spring 2016

Latest News Jan/ Feb 2016


At the Smithy Community Hub plans are underway to get ready for the reopening of the iGallery once again towards the end of March.

The Visitor Information Desk will be open as before, as several thousand visitors came through our doors last year. This service is run on a voluntary basis and we are looking for volunteers to help man the desk. Please get in touch if you could spare a couple of hours a week or so.

Anyone running a B&B, a holiday cottage or any services or events for tourists should let us know the details and we will pass these on to the visitors.

The iGallery will also be stocked up with locally made arts and crafts, and farm food produce. Do get in touch if you are an artist/maker/food producer and wish to use the iGallery as an outlet to sell, or simply to showcase, your stuff.

The Smithy Hub did not entirely shut down over the winter as Kiki’s Craft Corner and Vicky Stonebridge’s Pop-Up Pottery continued to stay open throughout the whole year. The ever-popular patchwork and handicraft workshops at Kiki’s are regularly full to capacity, and Vicky’s Pop-Up Pottery has quickly become very busy.

Terry Hitchin’s Woodturning Studio/shop will reopen at the same time as the iGallery, selling his own wide range of stock and for woodturning tuition.

The Treehouse situated on the riverbank in the woods behind the iGallery will be used as an exhibition space this year, as well as being a venue for craftwork activities, and meetings of all kinds. More about this in next month’s issue.

For any information about The Smithy Community Hub, contact Lynne Roberts               on 01520 722 952 or lynnesmithyhub@gmail.com

Lochcarron Community Development Company Website                     

This website  www.lochcarroncommunity.com and our Facebook and Twitter are kept up to date with information and photos about LCDC, the Smithy Community Hub, the monthly Produce Market Days at Lochcarron Village Hall, Adult Education Classes, Training Courses, and developments in Kirkton Woodland.

Down the road at Kirkton Woodland there has been much activity over the winter with the establishment of the woodfuel business run by Kirkton Trading. The relatively dry September/October allowed us to cut a substantial amount of logs.  To date, we have been able to supply over 70 households in and around Lochcarron with woodfuel. The woodsmen Brian and Ewan are setting up the woodfuel processing yard in Kirkton Woodland in readiness to do a second chopping blitz in April to provide enough stock for next autumn and winter.

For woodfuel enquiries please call 01520 722 952 or kirktonfirewood@gmail.com

2016 will mark the start of recreational events in Kirkton Woodland including classes, workshops and volunteer days organised by LCDC and Kirkton Trading.

LCDC and KT  Public Meeting
Coming up shortly there will be a Public Meeting held locally, where members of the community will be invited to attend to get an update on LCDC and KT, and to have their say and have any questions answered. More details of this in the next issue of An Carrannach.

HIGHLIFE ADULT EDUCATION   Our programme gets into full swing this spring, details will be on local notice boards, our website and social media. We are also holding a range of Events where the community can come along and get involved, and gather themselves some firewood into the bargain!

Dates for your Diary in February;
Ongoing Pottery course, new participants welcome. 4th feb, 11th, 18th . 10.30am to 12
at the Pop Up Pottery.  £6 per session.

Pottery – Raku/Sawdust Firing day. 27th Feb
12 to 5 at the Pop Up Pottery. £3 per person.

Woodwork – Design & Build Log Tables & Benches,
Fri 5th  & Sat 6th Feb. 11am – 4pm. The smithy. £3 per session.

Design & Build a Woodland Shelter. Weds 10th,  Sat 20th, Weds 24th Feb. 1030 – 1530. At Kirkton Woodland, £3 per session.

Firewood scavenging and clearing archaeological features- Sat 30th Jan & 13th Feb. 1030 – 1530. At kirkton woodland. FREE.

all classes need booking;             on  075 63 90 93 56  or lochcarronkwhg@gmail.com

Spring Volunteer events at Kirkton Woodland

workparty poster spring 2016
exploratory digging and clearing on the Coffin route
Date – Saturday 23rd January
time – 1030 – 1530
venue  – Kirkton woodland
RVP at the yard
wear suitable outdoor work clothes and footwear as the ground is currently VERY muddy.
please bring packed lunches . hot drinks will be provided.

Firewood scavenging and clearing archaeological features
Date- Saturday 30th January
time 1030 – 1530
venue  – Kirkton woodland
wear suitable outdoor work clothes and footwear as the ground is currently VERY muddy.
please bring packed lunches . hot drinks will be provided.

Firewood scavenging and clearing archaeological features
Date Saturday 13th February
time 1030 – 1530
venue  – Kirkton woodland
wear suitable outdoor work clothes and footwear as the ground is currently VERY muddy.
please bring packed lunches . hot drinks will be provided.


for further info lochcarronkwhg@gmail.com
01520 722 232