Significant ongoing changes to improve Fullarton Woods in Troon are helping to put the area on the map as a go-to destination. The progress over the last three years is down to a partnership between Friends of Fullarton, South Ayrshire Council and East Ayrshire Woodlands.
As part of this programme Friends of Fullarton have secured funding for features including a noticeboard, cycle rack, litter bins and play equipment, as well as galvanising a regular number of volunteers who have cleaned ditches, improved drainage, and planted trees – the latest project of which is the formation of a new avenue of cherry trees.
The native cherry trees (gean) were chosen to provide a balance between the spectacle of the bloom and the provision of nectar for many pollinating insects.
These trees are the first part in a campaign that will see nearly 600 trees of varying native species planted throughout the woodland. As this is a woodland for all, Friends of Fullarton are keen to involve the community in the planting of the trees. The five primary schools in Troon along with Marr College were all invited to send along some pupils to help plant the first trees in the rejuvenation of Fullarton Woods. This work was generously funded by local company CCL who have helped the Friends of Fullarton Woods progress their aim of returning the area to its former glory.
As part of South Ayrshire Council's ongoing partnership with East Ayrshire Woodland, Fullarton has acted as a base for woodlands skills training to six trainees. The trainees are gaining a range of skills and vocational qualifications including safe use of chainsaws, wood chippers, brush cutter, and pesticides. The team have been repairing fences, removing non-native invasive species such as Rhododendron ponticum, clearing areas to allow for new tree planting and will be undertaking footpath work.
The Council has also continued to invest directly in the park with additional play equipment, new tree and Rhododendron planting, forestry works, with the car park due to be resurfaced and relined in March.
Councillor Ian Cochrane, South Ayrshire Council's Portfolio Holder for Environment said, "The progress being made at Fullarton is a great example of different organisations working to a common goal and the improvements we're seeing right now will leave a positive legacy for the community.
"With work ongoing to make sure as many people as possible can access the woods and enjoy their trip we hope that our joint efforts help to make Fullarton a go-to destination for people far and wide."
Crawford Young of Friends of Fullarton Woods said, "CCL's generous donation has allowed up to make a huge leap in progress with funding such a large number of trees. This money, along with the hard work of EAW trainees as well as volunteers from the community over the last three years is ensuring that the woodland is enjoyed by people for many generations to come."
February is a busy time in Fullarton Woods as there will also be paths getting upgraded, drainage improved, and some more tree felling activities. The bridle path from Marr Rugby Club down to the golf course and along the western side of the woods to Wilson Avenue will be closed to horses from 16th February for several weeks.
This is to allow the path to be scraped prior to upgrade. During this process sharp stones will be exposed which may damage horse's hooves. Once complete, this path will be accessible to all users; horses, cyclists, and walkers of all abilities (without needing wellies). Keep an eye on social media, local newspapers, and the notice boards in the woodland for updates.