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Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards

These awards celebrate the contribution that woodlands can make to the people, environment and economic prosperity of Scotland

Farm Woodland Awards

We are delighted to be running Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards in 2024 again – entries are now open.  We will provide any updates about the Awards’ programme here on the website or through our social channels – Twitter and LinkedIn.

What are the Farm Woodland Awards for?

Farm and croft woodlands are an important part of Scotland’s landscape with a variety of woodland types.  The Awards are to reward the very best of Scotland’s Farm Woodlands that demonstrate exemplary use of both woodland and agricultural practice with benefits being delivered to both the farming/crofting operation and the quality of woodland management.  With 2 separate competitions, the Farm Woodland Award category demonstrates the integration of trees into the farming business to show the added benefit of trees on a farm which may help the business to grow, become more resilient, or increase biodiversity.   

Please note where ‘farm’ or ‘farming’ is used this also applies to ‘croft’ or ‘crofting’.

Who can enter which Award?

Entry is open to active farmers/crofters and/or for one competition their forester with the active farmer/crofter’s support, anywhere in Scotland.  The farm/croft must have a Rural Payments’ Business Reference Number (BRN) and the farmer/crofter must be directly involved, to a greater or lesser extent, with the farm/croft woodland management that forms part of the farming business and is to its benefit.  For the Young People competition so long as the farmer/crofter has a BRN and the entry is made with their prior agreement, the Young Person can be the forester/woodland manager only where they are different to the farmer/crofter.  Entries for this competition where both the farmer/crofter and forester are younger are especially welcomed.

There are two competitions and entrants can choose the one most applicable to them:

  • Young people where entry is open to the farmer/crofter and/or forester/woodland manager who at the time of the closing date will be aged 16 years and under 41 years of age (i.e. the same age eligible for the Scottish Government Rural Payments – “Young Farmers” Scheme).  One person may fulfil both roles or there may be one or both of these roles where the person is 16-40 years old.  Whilst you will be younger, you will be the person(s) considering the options for the land and its management demonstrating the integration of farming and woodlands/forestry by young people.  You will have significant influence on the way the farm/croft woodland is managed, ideally encouraging others to also manage farm/croft woodlands in a positive way.  This Award is sponsored by Scottish Woodlands Ltd.
  • All farm/croft woodlands that are located in Scotland that may be managed by one or more people, and there is no need to give your age!  This Award is sponsored by Fountains Forestry UK Ltd.

What type of farm/croft woodland(s)?

The area of woodland must be 2 hectares (4.9 acres) or more in size, with tree canopy cover of at least 20% (or the potential to achieve this if a young woodland).  It can be of any established tree species or woodland type and contain integral open space and/or woody shrubs or other farm crops/ground cover.  If the woodland is younger or of mixed age it may have been established by planting or natural regeneration on previously bare or cropped land or on land that has previously had tree cover.  Any young woodland must have had at least five years minimum of growth and can be of any older age.  Therefore if planted, that happened in, or before, the 2018/19 planting season.  There may be one or more woodland areas on the farm/croft that are included in the entry.

There must be benefits to the farming/crofting operations, ideally improving productivity and the wood(s) should form part of the financial sustainability of the farm/croft holding.  The farm/croft’s woodland(s) will be used in a sustainable and potentially enterprising way with responsible management providing direct farming benefits.  For example:  generating income from sustainably managed woods; using biomass, fuelwood or wood chips on site or selling these as a renewable, clean, carbon neutral energy; or creating new woodlands to off-set carbon produced from agricultural operations; or for livestock shelter, sporting interests, amenity or other objectives.  The farm/croft must be actively managed with a BRN.

Full entry criteria are in the entry form – see link below.

Judging

The judges aim to visit short-listed entries during April/May.  You will be contacted by the judges directly regarding any site visit during April – early May.

Our judges’ task is to find and reward the pursuit of excellence!

Prizes

A £1,000 cash prize is normally awarded to each winning project at the discretion of the judges and other high quality entries may receive a judges’ commendation.  For young people there is either one cash prize or it can be split between two people where the farmer/crofter and/or forester/woodland manager are different with each receiving £500.  In either case, the payment is made to the individual entrant(s) personally.

In addition, the Scottish Woodlands Ltd Trophy for Young People is available to be awarded for one competition.  The prestigious Lilburn Trophy (kindly gifted by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland) is awarded as the Fountains Forestry Farm Woodland Award for All Farm Woodlands.  Both are at the discretion of the judges with custody for one year.  The winner(s) and commended entries will also receive a certificate and a wooden display plaque recording their achievement.

How to enter Farm Woodland Awards

A simple, short entry form is to be completed with basic location, contact details and a statement in no more than 500 words why you think your entry would make a worthy winner of this prestigious award and be an exemplar to others.  Any supporting information such as visuals (e.g. photographs or weblinks), a summary management plan, woodland composition – species/age/type map(s), soils maps and any publicity or information document(s) that will help our judges make their decision can be provided.  In addition, up to three short videos if available can also be made available.

Closing date for entries:   You can submit your entry now and until 23:59 on Sunday 31st March 2024 (Easter Sunday).  Do you have a winning project in 2024?  Any late entries will not be considered.

More info …

See list of past winners here >>

Contact person:

Jean Nairn
Scotland’s Finest Woods
1 Ravelston House Loan, Edinburgh EH4 3LY

Tel: 07954 847055
Email: admin@sfwa.co.uk
Socials:  Twitter; LinkedIn


Award Sponsors:

The Farm Woodland Awards are supported by:

     Fountains Forestry UK Ltd - logo