About

Who are we?

The Findhorn Hinterland Trust (FHT) is a charity (SC045806) set up as a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation) in July 2015 and as such has a formal constitution and is regulated by OSCR (Office of Scottish Charities Register) for which it produces annual reports and accounts. The Trust has picked up and is developing the work of the now dissolved Findhorn Hinterland Group, an unincorporated community group who worked productively for ten years to bring together local land and people for the benefit of both. The FHT has a two-tier structure of up to twelve trustees, many of whom represent local landowners and organisations, and a growing membership of over 170 local people interested in the land and who are willing to get involved in the work of the organisation. The various areas of the trust’s present work and the roles taken on by trustees can be seeen on the mindmap of trustee roles with more detail and explanation given in the associated trustees’ roles notes.

What are our purposes?

The Findhorn Hinterland Trust does not own land but works with landowners and other stakeholders in the local area to help integrate land management and involve the local community.

Its specific purposes, related to land in the Findhorn area, are to:

  • Promote environmental protection and improvement.
  • Educate the local community and wider public in relation to the outdoor and environmental opportunities local habitats and environs provide.
  • Encourage community development through offering activities related to the land and by promoting cooperation and collaboration amongst owners and stakeholders.
  • Providing recreational facilities and activities with the object of improving the conditions of life for local people and others in West Moray and beyond.

What do we do?

There are at present a wide variety of activities related to the Trust’s four main purposes that are carried out by the FHT and its members:

Conservation.  This involves on the ground activities such as tree clearance on nationally important lichen beds, tree planting and care on other parts of the land, encouraging conservation grazing of ponies, new pond maintenance and bird box erection as well as activities such as promoting integrated land management with landowners and bringing people’s attention to important documents such as the Findhorn Dunes Trust Lichen Survey and the Draft Local Biodiversity Action Plan.

Education. The FHT encourages groups ranging from school groups of all ages, adults with learning difficulties, courses held by the Findhorn Foundation etc to use the land for different educational purposes.  It also has a small apiary and hands-on learning of the art of beekeeping is offered.  A demonstration Edible Woodland Garden has been developed and members regularly meet to look after this and have a social time. Regular talks and public events are put on to promote different aspects of the Charities educational work.

Providing Recreational Activities. The Trust maintains and develops paths for access in the woods and to and from the dunes, provides informative weekly walking tours, and offers a booking system and guides for the responsible use of  the woodland shelter,  fire areas and small group camping areas.  It also works with the Moravian Orienteers to help make sure that the land can be used for this sport with little impact on the land’s important features.  Two ponies continue to use the land on a regular basis.

Community Building. Public consultation, attending events such as those of the Community Woodland Association, providing opportunities for people to meet through monthly work parties on the land and weekly gatherings in the Edible Woodland Garden, gatherings for special events such as the celebration around becoming a charity and a Christmas gathering where people come to collect trees and share time around a fire all provide opportunities to build local community.

The small green burial ground in the middle of the wood and run by the Findhorn Hinterland Trust, is a local community resource that helps fund much of its charitable work as well as helping bring people together and enriching and conserving the land that it operates on.

Does the Trust have a management plan?

red squirrelNot at present but this is something that is being worked on at the moment as the trustees recognise that the many activities undertaken need to be prioritised through a formal plan.  Before that is possible a clear vision and mandate from the public has been sought.  In spring 2016 the trust went out and consulted with the general public and other stakeholders on their vision of how this land should be cared for and what they might want to see happen on it.  A Drop-in-Day, hands on Woodland Festival and a survey were all part of this important process and an official Public Consultation Report 2016 was produced entitled Findhorn Hinterland, Developing a Vision for Action.  This will form the basis for the much-needed integrated management plan for the land.

We manage 3 types of land – woodland, gorse and heath, and grassland.

Wilkies Wood is in the process of being transformed from a neglected pine plantation with trees too closely planted in rows, no variation in the age of the trees, no other native species of tree and no understorey – into a vibrant, naturalised woodland environment that can support typical Scots Pine forest flora and fauna – red squirrels, crested tits, creeping ladies tresses, etc. This change is being achieved by thinning some of the trees and planting others and the felled trees are then used as firewood.

The monoculture of gorse on the dunes is not ‘natural’. It is the result of malicious fire damage over many years. Fire destroys self-seeded trees, lichens, heather and shrubs but gorse is re-invigorated by it. We are putting in firebreaks to limit any future fire damage and to re-introduce avenues of biodiversity – look for wild rose, honeysuckle, elder bushes and young rowan trees. The heath parts of the land are part of a site of National Importance for lichens with up to 150 species.

The grassland is ‘rough grazing’ land and we have ponies grazing on part of it – a welcome return to the type of pre-MoD use and an expansion of the land’s biodiversity. The grassland is the site for 4 wind turbines.

Where do we operate?  See Map.

Findhorn Hinterland Trust, Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) SC045806
228 Pineridge, Findhorn, Forres, Moray IV36 3TB