Lyon Wood, Bolton Muir, Gifford, East Lothian |

Lyon Wood, Bolton Muir, Gifford, East Lothian |

A former plantation wood, Lyon Wood’s predominant conifer is native Scots pine. These trees have been left to mature and are now of truly magnificent stature. Generous spacing has allowed native species to proliferate with the result that the wood now has more or less a deciduous feel. Several oaks are dotted throughout the wood and are of considerable girth, a lone sweet chestnut has arrived, presumable seeded from elsewhere in the larger wood. Beneath the giants, birch, rowan and the occasional holly give a nicely balanced understorey. A carpet of mosses and grasses covers the woodland floor with seasonal displays from a variety of wildflowers. Along the roadside, a well-maintained beech hedge has produced progeny which are now adding to the overall variety within the wood.

Several drainage channels cross the wood, the largest of which has been spanned with a small footbridge. This watercourse has a semi-permanent flow, enough to support its own microsystem of damp loving plants and provides a welcome breeding ground for frogs, toads and newts.

Roe deer and badgers are frequent transient visitors. As their most active times are around dawn and dusk, an overnight stopover would be an ideal opportunity to observer their activity. The large variety of habitats within the wood support a correspondingly varied bird population whose activities can be enjoyed from the well placed rustic bench.

From the trackside, the topography is relatively flat, once within the wood a gentle slope rises to the north and once again levels out along the boundary. Several paths have been created through the wood linking the various open glades.

Although not visible from within the woods the Lammamuir hills with their excellent walking and cycle tracks are but a short distance away. The nearby historic market town of Gifford is well served by cafes, accommodation and a small general grocery store. This is also the location of Yester Castle, formerly known as Bothans House, whose grounds were added to the Lothian possessions of William the Lyon in the late eleven hundreds.

Although the local area is largely agricultural, several industries were previously centred here. A sizeable textile industry producing fine linen, and a paper mill which once supplied banknotes for the Scottish banks, are the most notable.

A viewing of the wood is definitely recommended; please allow yourself a generous amount of time to fully explore the wood throughout.

Sporting rights: these are owned and included with the land.

Access: is off the B6368 and then along the firm stone track which is accessible by most cars.

The purchasers of the woodland will be asked to enter into a covenant to ensure the quiet and peaceful enjoyment of adjoining woodlands and meadows.

There is a growing interest in hut, bothy and temporary shelter building, especially in Scotland; for those interested in erecting a hut or shelter, here is some interesting and very helpful guidance from Reforesting Scotland’s Thousand Hut Campaign. Your Local Planning Authority should also be consulted.

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