FARMERS from around Peeblesshire and beyond took to the hills last week to look at diversifying their land towards forestry.

Peter Gascoigne of Gascoigne Farm near Broughton was host for the Forestry Commission Scotland event.

Around 30 local landowners took part in the farm walk which was organised in an effort to encourage them to think about diversifying their sheep farms with more woodlands and forests.

Mr Gascoigne told us: "It went really well I think, and I hope that the landowners in the area will take up the idea of planting woodlands.

"It would be a good move for their children’s pension and to provide future income from timber.

"At the same time, the trees will in the future provide farm shelter, property capital value and enhance the landscape."

During the farm walk there was a short presentation by Mark Scott of the government's SGRDIP.

Hamish Howie of Armac Vets in Biggar and Douglas Mathison of Agriforest were also in attendance to provide information.

And Chris Boles, Scottish Borders Council's archaeologist, along with Forestry Commission Scotland’s landscape and heritage officer Nicholas Shepherd, brought their expertise to the gathering.

Walk organiser David Kennedy, who is a Forestry Commission Scotland’s woodland officer, said: "It was good to see a number of landowners attending, considering how busy they are with ongoing farm management.

"I hope that they found the farm walk useful and will get back in touch with me to arrange a site meeting on their farm.

"The benefits of woodlands are considerable, and the grant support available is excellent.

"Combine this with no loss of basic farm payment then the planting of trees becomes a bit of a no brainer for bigger schemes.

"However, I realise every farm and every owner is different, and only by having free discussions on their own farm, can a germ of an idea develop.

"I’m very happy to help them with this."

The Friday walk and presentations was followed by a lunch.

Any landowners interested in forestry diversification can contact Forestry Commission Scotland on 03000676007 or