BCT owns and manages Slewdrum Forest to promote the common good of the inhabitants of Birse parish and deliver wider public benefits. The Forest covers 173 hectares on the eastern edge of the parish and was purchased by BCT on behalf of the community in 2006.
BCT’s aim is to manage and develop the Forest as a native forest that has varied habitats and high amenity, while also producing a sustainable supply of timber that contributes financially to other activities carried out by BCT on behalf of the local community.
BCT has leased the management of the Forest to its wholly owned subsidiary, the Birse Trading Company or BTCo since 2007, and a range of improvements has been carried out in the Forest since then. BTCo is responsible for implementing BCT’s long term, Forestry Commission Scotland approved Forest Plan for Slewdrum Forest 2011-30. Important parts of the Plan are:
- achieving an adequate level of deer control to encourage natural regeneration.
- planting some further native broadleaves in parts of the areas felled by the FC.
- clear felling some stands of commercially mature non-native conifers.
- re-stocking the stands to be felled by natural regeneration and / or planting.
- developing a network of informal paths with links to the Deeside Way.
- carrying out a range of other habitat and amenity improvements.
Slewdrum used to be a local common that was also known as the Lendrum Commonty. The forest is still known locally by some as the Commonty, while the twenty yard wide strip along the banks of the River Dee that no longer forms part of the Forest, is called the Commonty Fishings. However, unlike the Forest of Birse Commonty, Slewdrum was an ancient Crown Common and the last of its kind in Scotland, when the Commissioners of Crown Lands gave it to the Secretary of State for Scotland in 1954 for planting up by the Forestry Commission. BCT then became the next owner in 2006.
BCT acknowledges the grant from the Scottish Land Fund, a part of the Big Lottery Fund, towards BCT’s purchase of Slewdrum Forest in 2006.