A SPECIAL prize to mark 100 years since the introduction of the 1919 Forestry Act has been added to the awards on offer in the competition to find Scotland’s best and most inspiring woods.

Following its successful launch year in 2018, Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards 2019 will include the one-off 1919 Forestry Act Centenary Award, and a second award for farm woodland.

Executive director Angela Douglas said: “We are delighted to have two new awards for 2019, including the one-off centenary prize to celebrate woodland created during the past 100 years that has evolved through careful and skilled management, has resilience to face the future and justifies the title of one of Scotland’s finest woods.

“We are also very pleased to build on the successful introduction of the Farm Woodland Award, which attracted a very high standard of entries in 2018.”

SAC Consulting has agreed to sponsor the Farm Woodland Award for three years, while Scottish Woodlands Ltd is supporting a second Farm Woodland Award for farmers or crofters and/or their forest or woodland managers aged 40 or under – also for three years.

Ms Douglas added: “We are so grateful to SAC Consulting and Scottish Woodlands and also to the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland for their generous support.”

Last year’s inaugural Farm Woodland Award was won by Peter Gascoigne, who farms at Broughton in Peeblesshire, who said that creating a woodland shelter belt on his farm had led to heavier and healthier lambs.

The ever-popular Crown Estate Schools’ Trophy is back, won last year by St Mary’s School in Melrose, which has just planted a Centenary Avenue of trees to mark the First World War with part of its prize money.

Other returning categories are: Community Woodlands (two competitions: small and large community woodland groups); New Native Woods; and Quality Timber (three competitions: new commercial wood; multi-purpose forest or whole estate; and a single stand/compartment or small wood).

Head of Forestry Commission Scotland, Jo O’Hara, said: “We are strong supporters of Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards and very excited to be donating a special award to mark the centenary of the 1919 Forestry Act that will identify a truly outstanding woodland.”

The winner of the centenary award will win £1000 and specially commissioned trophy. All winners receive £1000 and there is a different trophy for each category.

Senior Forestry Consultant at SAC Consulting, Malcolm Young, said: “The 2018 competition showed real quality in Farm Woodland and it’s clear there are a lot of other great examples out there – and we look forward to finding out about them and rewarding them in 2019.”

Managing director of Scottish Woodlands, Ralland Browne, said: “We are starting to see barriers between different land uses breaking down – and an understanding that farming and forestry can work very well together. Scottish Woodlands wants to recognise the younger generation who are embracing this and creating high-quality woodland on farms.”

Ms Douglas added: “We have some exceptional forests and woods in Scotland and our annual programme sets out to find them and recognise their excellence – from helping school children discover the wonder of woods to rewarding dedicated community groups who persevere, often in the face of adversity, to improve their woodland, to honouring highly experienced forest managers.

“The Awards aim to shine a light on our woodland stars from all over Scotland – and give them the recognition they deserve.”

This year’s cream of the crop will be honoured at the annual Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards ceremony at the Royal Highland Show on Friday June 21, 2019.

Entries must be submitted by March 31, 2019. For the full list of awards, criteria and entry forms, go to www.sfwa.co.uk