Pencaitland Primary School pupils began their summer term by planting trees on Winton Estate. Two classes at a time walked round from the school with their decorated tree tubes ready to be foresters for a morning. The wood, next to the River Tyne, is popular amongst walkers and had been prepared for planting. Thinning work with a timber harvesting machine was carried out last year to create space, watched by the P7 class. Mounds were created for 300 trees so all 160 pupils from P1 to P7 had the chance to plant one or two trees with guidance from Winton Estate gardens staff and contractors Crawford and Dougie.
The trees were a mix of oak, beech, lime, Norway maple, cherry and red oak for added visual interest. Sir Francis Ogilvy offered an introduction, explaining how the wood is managed to balance amenity, recreation, production of timber, wildlife habitat and management of the floodplain. After planting the trees, all grown by Cheviot Trees in Berwickshire, the pupils fitted the tree shelters to protect against deer browsing and offer a greenhouse for the young trees.
The ground had been very wet and the tree variety was limited. It is hoped that by deepening the ditches, adding a pond for wildlife and a link track, it will benefit wildlife and be further enjoyed by walkers. It provides an outdoor classroom for the school – relevant this year in particular as they study the environment. The path is to be known as ‘Jenny’s Walk’ in memory of Jenny Black who died last year aged 97. Jenny had worked at Winton for most of her life and lived in the lodge house near the school. She was a well-known, friendly face to generations of pupils.
Separately, P6 pupils from Ormiston Primary enjoyed a night away under canvass at Winton Castle last week. They learned much about eachother and their teachers in the process and had a great time building towers, cooking for themselves and earning house points in the process. They enjoyed a tour of the castle and even wheeled the brave Miss Dunn around in an old ‘bath chair’ before walking back to school.
Next month, it will be the turn of Saltoun Primary School to have a walk in Saltoun Big Wood.