THE temperature was just above freezing as two woodland charity volunteers cut Christmas trees recently.

And Friends of Leadburn Community Woodland (FLCW) will sell them from 10am to 3pm on each weekend till December 18, to raise money for charity.

The trees are self-seeded, Canadian Lodgepole Pine and Sitka Spruce from original Forestry Commission (now Forestry Scotland) planting and are being felled by bow saw.

FLCW volunteer Rik Smith said: “This is our 12th year of selling charity Christmas trees.

“We need to cut down these self-seeded, non-native, Christmas trees to make sure that they don’t grow too thickly in the woodland.

“Long-term they are replaced by our planting of native Scots pines.

“We have Lodgepole Pines which are lovely soft pines which are great for holding their needles and should last well into January.

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“We also have Sitka Spruce, which some people prefer as they have more branches and smaller needles.

“The Sitkas will shed more needles but are absolutely fine if you keep them in a water stand.

“Prices will again be £20 for trees less than six feet tall, or £25 if six feet or taller.

“Bring your wellies and a saw if you want to cut your own.

“As always, we’ll have the usual mixture of all shapes and sizes, all freshly cut from the woodland.

“Last year we sold about 600 trees which raised £11,000 for other seven woodland charities.

“The money might allow them to buy equipment.

“We can afford to do this as we still retain a healthy bank balance from previous Christmas tree sales.”

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The charities benefitting from the sales were: Green Team, Lothian Conservation Volunteers, Butterfly Conservation Bog Squad, Three Hares Community Woodland, Trees for Life, John Muir Trust and Carrifran Wildwood.

Appropriately the trees are being cut from the ‘Sales Stand’, though it is actually named after former FLCW chairman David Sales who moved to Yorkshire.

FLCW chair, Wendy Cunningham said: “About 30 trees have been cut so far today.

“The cutting does not take long it is moving them to the sale site (in the layby, off the A703, at the top of the Leadburn road).”

Ms Cunningham trailered some behind her car and the remaining trees are stood trunk down in a wet ditch to keep them fresh.

Mr Smith, who took early retirement from the NHS, to work as a volunteer in the environment, added: “Volunteers come every Monday, though we will be working through this week and we have a roster of about 40 people ranging in age from 20s to people in their 70s.

“To some extent Leadburn is under control but there is still path maintenance and the management of new trees.”

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Leadburn Community Woodland continues to be a popular walking area for locals and visitors from further afield, enjoying the trees, wildlife and views.

Mr Smith added: “In 2022 we continued to improve the paths and now have more than three miles criss-crossing the woodland.

“We planted new trees, replaced lots of plastic tree tubes with less visible mesh and removed a lot of excess fencing around the new raised bog.

“Occasionally when I am working here people walking the paths tell me how they used to come 60 years ago.

“It was possible to travel in 45 minutes, by train from Glasgow to Leadburn Junction, without going into Edinburgh.”