Findhorn Hinterland Trust Newsletter - Issue 5 - May 2017
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Welcome to the Spring newsletter from the Findhorn Hinterland Trust!

Find out about the news, events, stories and pictures to do with the Findhorn Hinterland.

Hello, and welcome to the Spring 2017 edition of the FHT newsletter. We have an update from our recent AGM, news of a UK first sighting of a rare lichen in fertile fettle, as well as details of all the work which our vigorous volunteers and members have been doing to care for this remarkable area of land

We also have a new board member, who also happens to be the new editor of this newsletter - that would be me! I'm looking forward to keeping you all up-to-date with what happens on the land, but do send in your own pictures, stories and comments. You can post to our Facebook page, or email me on

Newsletters will now be quarterly instead of monthly, themed around the seasons, but we'll keep you posted of any important events between editions by Facebook and the occasional email.

Yours sincerely, Tom Moon. 

Findhorn Hinterland Trust AGM 2017 - a sustainable vision

The 2017 FHT AGM was a a well attended event, packing out the meeting room at the James Milne Institute, and as a newcomer to the organisation, I was struck by what a diverse, engaged, and enthusiastic group of people the board and membership of the FHT is, with an incredibly breadth of experience and talents.

One of the key themes of the meeting was making the organisation and its work more sustainable, both financially and in terms of the way the work of the organisation is shared out. Our current Chair Jonathan Caddy, who has worked tirelessly for the organisation, made it clear that this would be his final year as chair, and hopes to transition to a more collegiate style of organisation with the work load more evenly spread between board members and supporters.

To that end we are actively looking for new trustees to take an interest in steering and developing the trust at this time - if you'd like to step up, please email Jonathan on

Whilst the FHT is also in a relatively strong position financially, largely due to sales of lairs in the Green Burial Site, there is a pressing need to diversify and find new, sustainable sources of income so that we can continue to employ a dedicated land manager. Kajedo has been doing exceptional things in this role for the last year, but funding for his role will need to be found for the coming year if he is continue that work.

A dedicated team is being put together to explore both grants and other income making projects, so if this is an area that you could help with, please get in touch. In the meantime, if you'd like to support us in our work we always welcome small donations!

You can read the 2016-2017 Trustees' Report and Financial Statement here.

A new lichen is spotted!

We're very excited to report a UK first for the hinterland – the first recorded sighting of a fertile variety of a rare lichen! According to our resident lichen expert Heather Paul, the Antlered jellyskin lichen (Scytinium palmatum) is a little like a very tiny seaweed. It is paper-thin when dry and swells up after rain, and forms shiny wrinkled dark brown tubes.

What is a lichen? Click here to find out more...

It grows in sand and with moss and heather, and usually reproduces by a piece breaking off and growing on its own - but unusually, Heather has found some that are fertile, producing pinkish' fruiting bodies' which will release spores. If a spore then meets up with a blue-green alga a new jelly lichen can grow.

It is thought that this is the first time that this rare lichen has been found to be fertile in the UK. Just another reminder that amongst all those dunes there are tiny, complex and delicate worlds waiting to be discovered.

There have now been 160 species of lichen identified in the Hinterland - to find out more about them, please check out our detailed Lichen survey.

Our monthly work parties are a great way to get involved in the conservation work in the Hinterland, and also a fun social event. The last three work parties show the breadth of the type of work involved managing the land – tree planting, clearing gorse to preserve a firebreak and path on the eastern edge of Wilkies Wood, mulching memorial trees planted near the edible woodland garden, and carrying large logs from felled trees from the woods.

There is always a range of work on offer, from relatively light tasks to more physically demanding, so that we can cater for different ages and abilities - so don't be shy, give it a try!

Red squirrels – breeding again in Wilkies Wood?

Red Squirrels are under threat in Britain due to competition from the non-native Grey Squirrels and various diseases and that is why they are on all biodiversity action plans; Uk, Scottish. Highland, North-East Scotland and the Draft Hinterland one.

There was a small population in Wilkie's Wood but they had not been sighted for about four years – but last summer that changed. The first evidence of their reestablishment was the discovery of lots of gnawed pine cones - followed by sightings of the squirrels themselves.

With member's help we carried out a cone survey in the autumn to establish that most activity was happening in the most westerly compartment of the woods with some also in the extreme north-east compartment. FHT member and keen naturalist, Helen Watts, reported the possible formation of a dray on the western edge of the forest but confirmation of nesting is still sought.

Do enjoy the antics of these fascinating creatures when you are out in the woods and tell us of your sightings of these remarkable animals. What would be really amazing would be to get some photos of our resident squirrels in action - if you manage this feat, please post any photos to our Facebook page!


These are now available on the website and can be found as a bottom right hand tab on this page.  Now those who have just joined can find out what has been going on and all can access and share the FHT information contained within them more easily.
Adriana Bijmin was a dynamic, outspoken and creative member of the Park community for almost the last twenty years who recently died at the age of 63 from an unknown illness. Over two hundred people turned out on the 14th May to her memorial service in the Universal Hall and joined the procession to the FHT run Wilkies Wood Green Burial Site. 

(Mostly) sweet news from our beehives

Jonathan Caddy and John Willoner have continued their work as Hinterland beekeepers, and have successfully brought four of five beehives through the winter months, perhaps helped by an unusually dry and mild winter. Hopefully the good weather continues and results in a better crop of honey this year.

John and Jonathan have plenty of spare beekeeping suits and gloves, and would welcome any folk interested in learning more about the art of beekeeping in return for a small donation. With bee populations in decline in the UK, spreading this skill is one of the best things we can do for bees – and for ourselves, since they are the principle pollinators in our gardens and countryside.

To find out more, please call Jonathan on 07825212816 or email or see our website for more info.


Get involved! Regular Hinterland activities 

Hinterland Work Parties - the last Saturday every month, 9:30 to 12:00 - meet at the Hinterland Information Point in Wilkies Wood.
Map here...

Weekly work party in the Edible Woodland Garden on Wednesday's from 9.30am to 12:00 - tools and gloves are provided, but if you prefer your own bring them along!

Weekly tours round the Hinterland by Kajedo and George - Thursdays at 2pm - meet outside the Visitor Centre at the Park.

Details here...

Whins residents take on conservation work in sensitive firepit and dancing green

With such a large area of land to manage and care for (and only one paid member of staff) it's been a exciting development to have a local group of residents in the Whins take on the care and conservation work of a sensitive area of rare lichens around the firepit and dancing green.

Ably co-ordinated by John Moon, who is building a new home in West Whins, and supported by lichen expert Heather Paul, volunteers have now held two well attended work parties; they have cleared hundreds of baby lodgepole pines, removed young gorse, cleared paths, and signed and bordered five lichen “heaths” with local stones to help people identify and avoid trampling these sensitive eco-systems. Duneland, who own the land between East and West Whins, have supplied fire beaters, and FHT land manager Kajedo Wanderer has removed some mature lodgepole pines by chainsaw. It's been a fantastic example of collaboration.

Kajedo, expressed his deep appreciation for the work done in and around that sensitive 'fire-pit & dancing green' area, which “looks much improved & cared the spirit which guides the work of the Findhorn Hinterland Trust.” It also meant he could go on holiday with an easy mind!

Handing responsibility for this area over to a group of local people means that they will be more likely to protect and look after it – and, of course, enjoy using it for events such as the recent Beltane celebrations – which was a great opportunity to burn the gorse which has been cleared.

The Edible Woodland Garden to get ScotLAND centre status

The Hinterland Edible Woodland Garden is to receive official recognition from Permaculture Scotland as a ScotLAND permaculture centre this summer – which goes to show just how much work has gone into the garden in the last few years! 

ScotLAND centres are considered “excellent demonstrations of permaculture in action... Along with skill in applying permaculture ScotLAND Centres have demonstrated their ability to explain their use of permaculture ethics and principles to visitors and volunteers and offer opportunities for learning.”

The Edible Woodland Garden is due to become one of only nine such centres in Scotland by July this year. There are sixteen recognised ScotLAND learner and centre sites, all of which can be viewed on this map.

Everyone is welcome in the garden, and the information packed signs are intended to provide people with enough information to get started on a project of their own. There are also weekly work parties there from 9:00 to 12:30 on Wednesday's if you want to help out!

For more information, please check out the Hinterland website.

Former journalist Tom Moon is the newest addition to the FHT Board of Trustees. Tom started his career in community radio in America, before freelancing for the BBC and the Guardian.

He is co-director of the Innertube Map cycling project, and in 2015 co-founded ReforestNation, a reforesting project that works to restore ex-plantation woodland and rough grazing land into healthy forests.

Tom recently moved to Findhorn from Edinburgh with his young family of five - Sarah, Scarlett, Ash and Oran, and is living the Park. 

He's also the new editor of the FHT newsletter, so if you have a story or a picture you'd like to share, drop him an email on
For an update on the FHT purchase of the Wilkies Wood Green Burial Site from the Findhorn Foundation go to the main page and find in the Recent News section.
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Findhorn Hinterland Trust · 228 Pineridge · Findhorn · Forres, Moray IV36 3TB · United Kingdom

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