Letter to RSFS Members

Letter to RSFS Members

Dear Member,

I am writing to you to advise you that sales particulars for Cashel will be published on Friday of this week.  The primary objectives for Cashel have been successfully met and the trustees have spent much time over the past two years considering where the future might lie. 

Following extensive discussion, the trustees have concluded that the future management of the property may be effectively carried out by a new, better resourced custodian more capable of providing the investment required to build on the achievements of the last quarter century.

Background to Cashel

Evolving forestry policy through the late 1980’s and 90’s recognised the importance of protecting and expanding our native woodland cover.  The result was the widening of grant support for the establishment of new native woodlands; at the time a relatively novel concept.   In the late 1990s the RSFS applied for, and was awarded, a grant from the Millennium Forest for Scotland Trust to purchase Cashel farm, a tick and bracken covered sheep farm on the east side of Loch Lomond. The aim was to demonstrate how a typical land holding might be re-afforested with native species. 

However, this acquisition represented a major departure from the Society’s long-established role in the delivery of lifelong learning about woodlands and their management.  The scale of the investment and accompanying obligations saw the formation of the RSFS Forest Trust Company (renamed Cashel Forest Trust in 2017) to derisk the project from an RSFS perspective.

Enormous achievement

Some 25 years on the evidence of successfully rising to the challenge of establishing a major new native woodland at Cashel is there for all to see.  Cashel’s native woodland has been delivered thanks to the hard work of countless volunteers, funders and trustees, for which the Trust is deeply grateful. Cashel estate now boasts some 300ha of native woodland, one of the largest and oldest of the ‘new’ native woodlands in Scotland.

Public access has been encouraged with a visitor centre and the creation of five walking trails of which three are accessible by wheelchair. More recently a Jubilee Orchard, commemorating the late Queen’s 70 years as monarch, has been established in the policies, a wildlife dipping pond rebuilt and a red squirrel viewing hide installed. As responsible land managers the Trust has initiated peatland restoration and the removal from the open hill of a large number of self-seeded non-native conifers. 

The way forward

The disposal of Cashel has been carefully considered and detailed expert advice taken.   Based on current plans, we anticipate the sale of all or a substantial part of Cashel will be concluded by the end of 2024.  We will keep everyone updated, in due course, through the fortnightly eNews.

Kind regards

Raymond Henderson
Vice President