Changing our community for the better
June 2019: Installation of community fibre
19 properties (8 local businesses, 11 private houses) received fibre broadband resulting from our government funding application. This directly improved children’s education, allowed residents to significantly improve their online charity work, and helped local businesses develop our local economy. Increased internet speed has been invaluable during the Covid-19 pandemic, when much of normal life has inevitably moved online.
December 2020: Tree planting in Blackwood Estate
A successful application to The Woodland Trust provided 420 saplings for improving a public path within Blackwood Estate. This path was originally constructed in 1999 (funded by the Millennium Project) and links the Blackwood and Boghead estate roads, allowing a circular route between both villages.
Planting was carried out over one weekend by BECA trustees and Kirkmuirhill Men’s Shed volunteers, boosted by tea/coffee/rolls and bacon. Luckily, the weather was good (for December) and the trees are now forming a great shelter belt for wildlife, and a source of wild food for future years.
March 2021: Publication of childhood wildlife journal
In 1973, aged 11, Stephen Reilly, his brother and a close friend produced a detailed journal of Blackwood Estate’s wildlife (with a few extras thrown in for artistic licence). The boys regularly played in the woodland and sketched the wildlife they spotted, researching the written content to produce a 58-page journal. 48 years later, Stevie still walks the Estate and feeds the birds. We are in the coming weeks publishing 100 copies of his journal, to distribute free of charge to our local schools, nurseries and community groups.
We are very grateful to Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill Co-ordination Group for fully funding this project.
April 2021: Loch Wood Community Woodland, Blackwood Estate
This has been our most challenging venture to date, involving a funding package of almost £250,000 sourced from a wide range of public agencies. Their support and advice over the past two and a half years enabled us to purchase 65 acres of Loch Wood in Blackwood Estate, for use as a community woodland for Blackwood, Kirkmuirhill and Boghead.
Local consultation revealed that the community wishes to keep most of Loch Wood as a wild area to conserve the local wildlife and protected species within. However, there is also demand for a limited path network around the boundary, and provision of outdoor learning areas for schools and community groups.
UPDATE: November 2021
Three outdoor learning areas are now being used by our local schools. We are currently preparing to install a small crossing over the Cander Water to open up further areas for education: this should be completed by early 2022.