Scotland's Tree Oscars are back for 2022 – and the hunt is on for more excellent examples of the successful integration of farming and forestry.

Last year's Farm Woodland Awards provided a rich harvest of entries in Scotland's Finest Woods Awards, with two winners, one highly commended and two commended entries, ranging from a wildlife croft on Skye to a large grain-producing farm in the North-east.

Read more: Scotland's finest farm woodland awards go north-east

Each of 2021's successful entries had different, and specific, reasons, for making the decision to plant trees or expand existing woodland, and derived a range of different benefits from doing so. Now the awards' organisers are hunting for 2022's winners, with the entry deadline of March 31 approaching fast.

Wendy Seel and Anne Taylor won last year's overall Farm Woodland Award, sponsored by SAC Consulting, for integrating trees very effectively into their organic vegetable-growing business at North Tillydaff in Midmar, Aberdeenshire. Judges said: “The viability of the horticultural enterprise is entirely dependent on the shelter provided by woodland and associated hedgerows. The business could not have been established without this shelter.”

The judges also found that North Tillydaff’s woods were well-cared for, with a great deal of thought given to their ecology and future management: "The scale and planned integration in land-use, along with the future management plans including cattle grazing to better manage the field layer, make this an outstanding fit for this award.”

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Woodland is also integral to another Aberdeenshire farm business – Howemill, near Huntly, run by James and Nikki Yoxall, winners of the 2021 Young People Award for Farm Woodland, sponsored by Scottish Woodlands Ltd.

The Yoxalls believe agroforestry, holistic planned grazing and pasture-fed livestock is crucial to environmental balance and delicious, nutritious beef. They graze Shetland cows in woodland on their own seven hectares and through grazing agreements with neighbours on a further 32 hectares. Judges described Howemill as a 'wonderful example of a unique integration of trees and farming' and had set up a 'highly impressive grazing system where few would even consider it possible'.

Ms Yoxall said Howemill was a 'harmonious system' with benefits for both livestock and woodland: "The cattle bring benefits to the woodland and the ground flora and fauna, and the cattle benefit in terms of nutrition, and general health," she said.

"Out-wintering can also reduce respiratory problems, make calving easier and cut costs of straw and other items. And we can also reduce our inputs. There are still tweaks and learning to be done, but we are well on the way to seeing that it works and both cattle and woodland are better for it.”

Read more: Sign up to celebrate Scotland's Finest Woods

Ms Seel at North Tillydaff stressed the point of learning from others who have been there before: “If you have an opportunity to plant trees, then do so. But visit other sites with young stands of trees – and speak to others and learn from them.”

Integration was also clearly evident on a larger farm (almost 600 hectares) highly commended in the 2021 awards. Ednie Farms, near St Fergus, Peterhead, owned by the Booth family, has 70 hectares of woodland integrated into a large commercial farming operation – with the trees delivering multiple benefits. For example, 500 tonnes of thinnings are used to dry the farm’s annual 1500 tonnes of grain produced, the chips in some years are also used for cattle bedding and an income is gained from selling dried chips. There are shelter benefits both to cattle and cereal crops.

Rather like North Tillydaff, the judges noted that the woodland was absolutely central to the farm business. They said: “If no trees were present, this business would be unrecognisable both in landscape terms and financially. Ednie Farms is a fabulous example of farm woodland.”

The judges said a commended 2021 entry – Wildlife Croft Skye, run by Phil Knott – had 'potential to be a demonstration of what is possible in what might otherwise be thought of as a bleak, treeless landscape'.

Also commended were Walter and Margaret Dalgleish who farm almost 100 hectares, a third of which is woodland, at Parks of Garden, Arnprior, near Stirling. Judges were highly impressed with Mr Dalgleish’s use of the mature woodland – and praised his 'ingenious self-built extraction equipment' to help with thinning. This has created an income stream for the farm by selling birch logs to a local firewood merchant.

The judges concluded: "The vision for how the woodlands could benefit the farming business both now and in the future was very striking.”

Angle Douglas, executive director of Scotland’s Finest Woods, which runs the awards, said: “All the entries recognised in the farm woodland awards in 2021 are very different – from a small croft to a large grain producer. However, each one has put trees and woodland at the heart of their specific business model, and integrated it highly successfully into their operations. We look forward to more brilliant examples in 2022.”

Find out more about the Farm Woodland Awards – which both carry cash prizes of £1000 and a unique trophy – at

Entries must be submitted by March 31, 2022. For full details, criteria and entry forms for all 11 awards. see: