24 August 2023

Battlehill Wood now partially accessible to the public after storm damage cleared

Aberdeenshire Council contractors have successfully cleared the southern half of the storm damaged Battlehill Wood near Huntly, making it accessible to the public; however, the remaining woodland will take longer to address.

Popular for walking, running, cycling, family picnics, and dog walking by visitors and residents of Huntly, the sign-posted, southern-most walk is now cleared and considered safe for the public to access again.

Damaged and windblown trees from storms Arwen and Malik were cleared in 2022 but subsequent damage in February of 2023 from Storm Otto made large areas of Battlehill impassible due to extensive windthrown and hung-up trees.

Aberdeenshire Council officers have been drafting work schedules to deal with the damage and identify the resources and contractors needed to clear the wind-damaged timber.

Work will continue to extract and clear the windthrown spruce plantations blocking access across the northern half of the wood but could take into 2024 to complete.

Income from the sale of harvested timber salvaged from these operations will contribute to the replacement planting of native deciduous trees that will create improved habitats for local wildlife.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee Chair, Councillor Alan Turner, said: “Trees and woodlands are essential to our landscape. They enhance the vistas of our rural towns and villages and make a positive contribution to our environment and quality of life. Now that these woods are accessible again, they provide a healthy destination for leisure and learning for the local community and visitors alike.”

Vice-chair Councillor Isobel Davidson added: “The hilltop archaeology site of Battlehill Wood has also been cleared, opening access to this piece of history for local pupils learning about the former residents of the area from a thousand years ago. With the wood also being home to deer, red squirrels, pine marten, and speckled wood butterflies, it’s well worth a visit for wildlife enthusiasts and will be even more full of life once the whole area is cleared of storm damage and more replanting takes place.”