Work to eradicate an invasive species of rhododendron from Lews Castle Grounds is well under way and has created eight local jobs.
The five year clearance programme, now in its third year, will see the Castle Grounds transformed, restoring them to their former glory and adding additional trails to the much loved Stornoway asset.
Vistas which have been hidden for generations are being uncovered as the rhododendrons are painstakingly rolled back to open up the grounds and make way for new growth.
Costing £497,000 the clearance is just one part of a 20 year vision which also involves extensive restocking of trees. Already nature is taking over with saplings rooting where the rhododendrons have been removed.
The whole project is expected to cost approximately £1 million with funding from a range of sources including the Scottish Rural Development Program, The Stornoway Trust and the Comhairle.
The end result will see a diverse range of plants established instead of the current ‘monoculture’. The sterile environment created by the rhododendrons will be replaced by the regeneration of native flora and fauna. It will also open up the grounds for locals and visitors alike.
The slideshow featured shows a selection of photos taken on a recent tour of the grounds with Scottish Woodlands Ltd contract forester Geoff Stone.
For the full story see this week’s Stornoway Gazette, out today (Thursday 8th).