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Ardgartan Forest History 1951(early version)
Forestry Memories
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No: 4135   Contributor: Norman Davidson   Year: 1951
Ardgartan Forest History 1951(early version)

The documents are courtesy of Glenbranter Forest office staff and in particular Ian Adams who retained these files for many years.

The Glenbranter History, ably written up by Mr S M Petrie who was the District Officer at the time, describes in detail the early planting methods, tools and species along with the problems encountered. Difficulties with early years lack of ground preparation such as turfing, wind blowing over Douglas fir when it was 3-6 foot high and massive plagues of voles in the early 1930s which ring barked and ate the green shoots when they had finished the best grass. Many established plantations 2-5 years old were badly affected and new planting was for a time curtailed to enable beating up to be complete. By 1951 all these troubles were behind them and the Douglas fir was as good as anywhere and the spruce growing strongly.

Descriptions are given of the 14 houses and two hostels or bothies on the forest and mention of two people who act as camp wardens in the holiday season and forest workers at other times. There is no mention of numbers of people camping such as given in Forestry Commission annual reports however but mention of public heavily using the camping facilities, the forest and the sign posted paths. Ardgartan House was then a Youth Hostel.

Names of people listed (no first names unfortunately) who managed the forests and the regions are:
A Watt and J E James (Conservators): A D Hopkinson, J M Murray, O J Sangar, A H Gosling, J A B Macdonald, A Watt, J E James and H V S Dier (Divisional Officers): J Hunter-Blair, J Fraser, A H Gosling, R J Waterman, T E Edwardson, S M Petrie (District Officers): J Kennedy, H Spraggan, J M Reid, A Mackay(Foresters).

Note that this history is not in the usual history format and appears to have been produced prior to the official format being made available to the author. Some changes will have been included in the final format including more details on the labour force. See the next Record No 4136 to follow the year long paper trail of requests for a history and the details of the amendments requested.
Picture added on 21 July 2018 at 19:46
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