There are three areas of woodland under our care; Crow Wood; Hopeward Wood; and Bathing House Wood, and these are shown on the map on the “About” page. These woodlands have existed in these locations at least since 1811 when they feature on a map of that time showing the Donibristle estate of the Earls of Moray. They are for the most part on areas of land unsuitable for agriculture, being often steep and rocky, and would have been retained as shelter belts and areas for timber and game. Some would probably have been woodland before this time because of the nature of the land, but the development of the Donibristle estate may have seen more deliberate planting with an eye for a crop of timber as well as improving the look of the estate with discrete patches of woodland. The rocky knolls or knowes are where the volcanic intrusions of dolerite lava flowed some 300 million years ago and this hard acidic rock, being more resistant to erosion, stand proud of the softer Carboniferous sandstones. This is clearly shown in the shot of the cliffs on the seaward side of Bathing House Wood.
For the most part the trees are Sycamore with Wych Elm and occasional Oak, and in Bathing House Wood there is a plantation of Sitka Spruce dating from the end of the Second World War.
Each of these woodlands also contains some significant open grassland areas. Some, like Downing Point and the seaward side of Bathing House Wood have a diverse array of attractive wildflowers, adapted to the strong winds and salt airs. Others, such as at the E and SE of Crow Wood, and the W end of Hopeward Wood are mainly just grasses, but there are plans to improve these areas by their management for grassland and woodland edge wild flowers. These open areas are vital for much of the wildlife that also uses the woodlands as they provide feeding areas for insects, birds, and bats.
More detail of the individual woodlands can be found on the following pages