In all weathers, the volunteers worked energetically to clear old, dead remains of trees and shrubs and also to clear rubbish and rank vegetation. Paths, suitable for wheelchair access, have been created, an entrance and drystane dyke built, new trees and shrubs planted and some seating provided. Children from the local primary school helped in the planting of spring bulbs. Little Mitchellwood was opened to the public in the late summer of 2008 when the work was completed and the new planting established.
There was an emphasis on ensuring a wide range of native plant species and on creating a suitable habitat for wildlife. Wildlife is encouraged by the provision of bird and bat nesting boxes, by log piles for other small animals and by including trees and shrubs to provide berries and fruit. Signs on plants will help both young and old in identification and encourage school pupils to learn more about nature.
The woodland owes it name to the memory of Miss Elizabeth Mitchell (1880-1980) who planted the woodland, which was a part of her estate.
Miss Mitchell believed strongly in providing open spaces in the proximity of housing estates, which the wood adjoins. She was the first lady town planner in Scotland and the then owner of the Langlees Estate, bought by her father when she was a child. For many years she lived at Langlees House after early years in Edinburgh, before spending her final years in Stirling. In her time Miss Mitchell had been involved with the Rowntree Trust (while she was at Oxford University), and the development of the new town of Letchworth. She was instrumental in the development of Scotland’s first new town, East Kilbride.
It was believed she had gifted the woodland to the town of Biggar, which then was an independent town with its own provost. That was not the case and it was sold along with the rest of the Langlees estate to the late Lord Clydesmuir (Ronald). In 2004, the then Lord Clydesmuir (David) granted a 50 year lease at a peppercorn rent, to BDCH to restore the woodland as a community resource.
To further improve the woodland for wildlife, some of the pine trees will be felled and replaced with native broadleaved trees like birch and oak. We also plan to fell the small sycamore trees which can spread quickly and cast a dense shade over the wildflowers. Some of the wood will be left to rot as dead wood provides a valuable habitat for beetles, birds, fungi and small mammals. We have also planted a new hedge along the roadside that links the Little Quarry to Little Mitchellwood making it easier for birds and animals to move between the two woodlands. The hedge is made up of 10 different species including hawthorn, blackthorn, elm and holly. We’ve also included gooseberry, loganberry, blackberry and crab apples which will provide a valuable food resource for birds and people in the autumn.
Please come up to the Little Quarry to have a walk round and enjoy this quiet little corner of Biggar.
Membership of BDCH is open to all in Biggar and the surrounding area
Membership is free, and enables you to keep up to date with our activities.
It also gives you the opportunity to volunteer for working days if you wish.
If you are interested, please complete our online membership form.