Corehead is a stunning upland farm in the Southern Uplands north of Moffat. It comprises 5 valleys at the head of the Annan Water and contains the Devil’s Beef Tub and the shoulder of Hart Fell, the second highest hill in Dumfriesshire. Borders Forest Trust, a local native woodland conservation organisation, bought the farm in July 2009 with a vision of restoring lost wildlife and habitats whilst retaining low intensity farming practices and involving people in the process. More than 800 individuals and 30 charitable trusts bought in to this vision and the Trust is grateful for their donations which made the purchase possible and is helping to turn the vision into a reality.
Tree planting at Corehead
When Corehead was bought, there was only one small fragment of native woodland in a steep gully. Now more than 195ha of new native woodland has been planted and is being established along 3 valleys on the eastern part of the farm. The woodland comprises a range of native species including oak, ash, elm, aspen, birch, cherry, alder, hazel, juniper, blackthorn, hawthorn and willows and many of these are now growing out of their protective tubes to create a young woodland.
On the hill tops above the planting, the ground is currently excluded from grazing in the hope of the regeneration of heathland species and montane habitats. Heather species and blaeberry, released from grazing pressure are now becoming evident across the hill tops. Promisingly, Black grouse, a nationally important species requiring a mosaic of habitats to thrive, appear to be increasing in numbers since the changes in land management.
On the western part of the site, a flock of 350 black face sheep graze the land and are cared for by our contract farmers from Henderland Bank Farm.
In the low in-bye ground a range ofbiodiversity enhancing measures have been carried out, working around the farming requirements for this ground. A pond and wildlife scrapes have been dug to create open water habitats, rushes are cut to prevent over dominance of the wetlands, yellow rattle has been introduced to hay fields as a first phase of diversifying wildflowers and a field of wild bird cover crop has been sown to provide winter feeding and shelter for seed eating bird.
Fundamental to the work at Corehead is the involvement of the community, both local and from further afield, with an aim of connecting people with the cultural, historical and ecological heritage of the site. A range of opportunities are available for people to participate in and find out about Corehead.
Educational activities and site visits are available to schools and further education establishments. A calendar of varied events designed to appeal to a wide range of interests relating to the historical and wildlife aspects of Corehead is delivered.
Young Trees at Corehead
There has been a tremendous amount of voluntary effort made to the Corehead project by locals and others from further afield. Volunteers make a very valuable contribution to the work at Corehead both in the management of the project and in the practical work such as tree and hedge planting, dyking, wildlife surveying and monitoring and wild flower sowing. The Trust is very grateful to everyone who has given up their time to assist with the project, helping to bring back lost habitats, improve biodiversity and gain a better understanding of the wildlife of the farm.
Volunteering opportunities are available at Corehead both during the week and on the 1st Saturday of the month during the tree planting season (October to March, weather permitting). Activities can be arranged for groups wishing to volunteer as well as individuals. Educational activities and site visits are also available for education and community groups.