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Pressmennan Wood

A prominent woodland surrounding Pressmennan Loch in East Lothian, Pressmennan Wood extends to 86 ha (212 acres) on the northern slopes of Deuchrie Dod and is accessed via a car park a mile (1.5 km) south of Stenton. Especially aimed at children, a circular walk takes visitors through a sculpture trail amongst what is believed to be one of the last traces of Scotland's ancient oak woodland, lying next to a coniferous plantation. Planted in the late 1950s, the coniferous trees comprise predominately European Larch with lesser numbers of Norway Spruce, Douglas Fir and Scots Pine. A strip of ancient oak trees survive along the banks of the loch. Further mature broadleaved trees are scattered throughout the wood, mostly sessile oak and ash, with some beech and birch.

It is thought that oak from Pressmennan may have been amongst the wood used to build The Great Michael at Newhaven in the 15th C. although definitive records do not exist. The woodland is recorded on Roy's map of c.1750. A significant number of mature oak trees were still extant in 1955 when the Forestry Commission bought Pressmennan from the Biel and Dirleton Estates, but was clear-felled and replanted with a mixture of commercial species predominately conifers. The Woodland Trust bought the wood from the Forestry Commission in 1988, and subsequently thinned the conifers to open up the forest canopy allowing more light to reach the forest floor, which is home to primroses, bluebells and wood sorrel. Where conifers were felled native species were introduced; namely oak, ash, birch, hazel and rowan, with the long-term intention being that these species dominate.

Pressmennan is rich in wildlife, with roe deer, woodpecker, tree-creeper, tawny owl, vole, badger and bats.


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