News story: First trees planted within Scotland’s WW1 Centenary Wood

A Woodland Trust supporter whose grandfather and great uncle fell on the same day at the Battle of Ypres has planted a rowan tree to mark the start of tree planting at Scotland’s WW1 Centenary Wood and celebrate the support from lead partner Sainsbury’s.

Margaret Murison from West Calder planted the tree to mark the memory of her grandfather and his brother who served in the 2nd Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders. Both fell on the same day during the Battle of Ypres.


Pictured L-R Carol Evans, director of the Woodland Trust Scotland, Marc Watson, Sainsbury's Longstone store manager and Margaret Murison from Mid Calder. [All pictures © Helen Pugh Photography]

Over the next 2 years a total of 50,000 native trees will be planted at Dreghorn Woods on the Ministry of Defence (MOD) training estate in the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh, including 10,000 which will be planted by schoolchildren and members of the public during special planting days. Children from Currie Primary School joined Margaret to plant the first trees today (Tuesday 28 October).

The Woodland Trust Scotland is working in partnership with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), the MOD’s property and services provider, to create Scotland’s WW1 Centenary Wood. This wood is 1 of 4 to be planted by the charity across the UK to create a living memorial of the conflict.

Margaret Murison said:

My grandfather William Balmer and his brother John enlisted on the same day; their numbers in the 2nd Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders are consecutive. Both died at the Battle of Ypres on April 11 1917, a date I always remember and always mark.

Since my mother died I’m the closest family member to them now, and I feel even closer because of this Woodland Trust project. Planting trees in memory of these fallen heroes is a wonderful idea. I’ve always wanted to go and see my grandfather’s grave, but there’s not a very high chance of doing that now.

This is something positive I can do which gives his memory standing. It’s something that’s growing, something that’s living, something that’s fresh and lovely.

Pictured L-R (adults) Carol Evans, director of the Woodland Trust Scotland, Marc Watson, Sainsbury's Longstone store manager and Margaret Murison from Mid Calder. The P5 children from Currie Primary School are L-R: Olivia, Lewis, Karis, Rosie and Andrew [All pictures © Helen Pugh Photography]

Carol Evans, director of the Woodland Trust Scotland said:

The First World War led to enormous sacrifices from the people who served and the people who lived through it. There was also an immense loss of woodland, more than 150,000 acres, much of it irreplaceable ancient woodland, felled to support an insatiable demand for timber.

The Centenary Woods are a tribute to everyone who helped with the war effort, from those who paid the highest price and their families, to the hardworking men and women off the battlefield.

We’re immensely proud to be planting millions of trees with the support of our lead partner Sainsbury’s as well as many individuals and organisations to remember that sacrifice and to create new woods for people and wildlife to enjoy.

The Woodland Trust is planting millions of trees to mark the centenary with the support of lead partner Sainsbury’s, key individuals, landowners, schools and community groups.

Marc Watson, Sainsbury’s Longstone store manager said:

It’s an honour to be part of the first tree planting at the Scottish Centenary Wood. Sainsbury’s has been supporting the Woodland Trust for 10 years and we’re proud to continue this partnership with the support of their centenary woods project.

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