The Water Tower

The Water Tower
The Water Tower at Dusk

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Trossachs National Park visit

Posted on Reforesting Scotland's Thousands Huts Campaign.

We recently had a lovely visit from folks involved in planning in The Trossachs National Park. 
Mainly because we have built around trees without damaging the trees and they are interested to see that done.

We haven't built an off grid hut but some of the construction and planning issues are similar.
Our build is cheek and jowl with a double stemmed sycamore, a beech and a poplar. The final result will be a build nestled in the trees.

I'll post more photos when it's finished. Roof and walls are to be clad in pine.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Potting Shed Furniture

Found in T K Maxx...... Just perfect. 2 Potting shed potting trays. With wine racks!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Potting Shed Progress Report 1

Weather has been kind this February. After a slow start to establish acceptability of the foundations with the engineer, we finally managed to begin works on the site.

  • The old sitting out area was demolished and materials stored for potential re -use.

  • A mini digger was carefully taken on site to dig the holes for the foundations.

  • The soil from the holes re used throughout the site. Good soil spread onto garden beds. Sands and gravels slipped easily onto the old landslip to rest at the base above the river. 

It's never worth writing too much. Photographs tell all.

The site in Feb 2013

Sitting Out Area Demolished Feb 2017

The mini digger on a stunning day in February 2017


Setting Out
Pretty tidy site I think.

Potting Shed Feb 2017. Tree Works

It's been a busy time at water tower wood. Even the dreaded month of January slipped by without concern for short daylight days. It's now mid February and in the last 2 weeks the Potting Shed works have started.

But lets go back a bit, to the end of last year. 

Not long after planning permission was granted for the potting shed, a "works to trees" application by Dalkeith Tennis Club appeared on the planning web site. The application included the removal of a poor specimen Poplar tree on our ground. Should permission be granted they said, then our permission would be sought. May seem strange to some, but it is perfectly acceptable to raise a planning application on any property. If planning permission is given it is up to the owner of the land to then allow the works to go ahead.

Not surprisingly the Poplar tree was granted felling/planning permission and we happily engaged with the contractors who came to price for the task on behalf of the Tennis Club. This same Poplar tree was requested to be felled about 6 or 7 years ago by ourselves, but at this time, permission was not given. 

Hey ho. I'm sure there was good reason at the time.

This Poplar tree is hard against the tennis club fence and directly behind the new potting shed site. Felling will have to be completed before the shed is built to make life easy.

Meeting with the contractors made me look at hard at the grouping of trees. Meeting with one particular contractor, Frontier Forestry, I was less than impressed at their attitude on our site and as a result, after much discussion with G, we decided that we would carry out our own tree works and keep all under our own control. 

Looking at the site of the Poplar then and taking our own advice from Wilson Jamieson Forestry, we raised an application to fell the Poplar and the Sycamore next to it. The tree officer visited and discussed. Their agreement and approval is documented on the planning web site reference; 

17/00062/WTT | Felling and pruning of trees within the Eskbank and Ironmills conservation area | RP9 Dalkeith Water Tower Cemetery Road Dalkeith

Sycamore LHS with split trunk. Poplar RHS. Both to be felled. 

The e mail correspondence at the time.

5th Nov 2016


Yesterday we had a visit from someone in your company who was preparing an estimate for tree works at The Dalkeith Lawn Tennis Club. In discussion on tree works, the death of a TPOd sycamore tree was raised by your company as “honey fungus - I can smell it” and “how long has your house been built - that’s what killed your tree”.
Such loose language accompanied by a criticism of the Forestry Research organisation is unacceptable.
I make no further comment at this juncture but I attach a copy of the report on the tree from the Forestry Research. Please beware raising opinions on house build foundations, tree death and any other comments/criticisms associated with the property behind the tennis club, when your lack of knowledge was so very evident.
Susan Goldwyre

I attach the tree report and e mail from the forest pathologist for your info.

Report attached from Dr Steven Hendry
Forest Pathologist
Forest Research
Northern Research Station

EH25 9S)


Dear Susan,

Thanks for your email.  I am just back from holiday.

I have been an arborist for 25 years and been involved in the investigation and removal many hundreds of dying and dead trees so I can assure you that my knowledge and experience isn’t lacking.  I have also worked on a number of sites where Forest Research have also been involved (we are also based at the Bush Estate) and as it happens I have the highest regard for the good research done by members in this organisation.

I have no interest in the reasons why your tree died because I have not been asked to look into it and FR have clearly investigated it in great detail and drawn their conclusions.

Best wishes, Andrew

Andrew Jenkins (Managing Director)
FRONTIER FORESTRY LTD - Urban and Rural Tree Surgeons
Bush House, Edinburgh Technopole, Milton Bridge, near Penicuik, Midlothian EH26 0BB

Tel: (0131) 445 8652  Fax: (0131) 445 8699
Company No: SC192 181  Registered in Scotland.    VAT No: 789 7792 31


Dear Andrew
If it was yourself who visited at Cemetery Road recently then it was yourself who gave a less than glowing opinion on Forestry Research. 
I am delighted however that you have them in the highest regard after all.
Kind Regards
Susan Goldwyre 


Friday, August 12, 2016

Potting Shed and New Access Gate

16/00540/DPP on the councils' planning site.

On the planning system today, an application for a potting shed for me :-) and a new access gate into our garden because the sycamore tree that died (was poisoned) is no longer an issue.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Ironmills, New Path

Sadly I missed the recent "paths day" with Midlothian Council Ranger Service targeting ironmills Park last week. Today though, I took the opportunity to survey the work that has been put into making good a circular path in the High Woods at Ironmills. 

Perhaps this path has always been there and it fell into disuse. It certainly had signs of being a path before. But now it has been way-marked and cleared for more able passage.

Here it is in photos.

I started here by climbing up a fairly steep section from the park into the high woods, you could start at the entrance off the more formal path in the park.

The new way marker posts

The path meanders through the woods.

You can smell the garlic

A wee narrow path through the wild garlic
Arrive at the rope-and-swing.

Light at the arrive at Lugton

Nicely marked with wooden poles

Follow the right of way heading up to the top path in the High Woods

It doesn't look too steep.

Head downhill into Ironmills Park

The junction where the top path at one time took you over the Viaduct. Now lost to the Borders Rail Line.

There's a couple of sections on the path where it is boggy due to water running off from the land above ironmills. There's even been some of the dreaded landslip but it doesn't look threatening. It's just nature re-shaping the land. 

A short route then that will raise the heart rate but won't tire you out. Any suggestions for improvements to this path gratefully received. 

Enjoy x

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Second Ironmills Landslip

A second landslip has taken place at Ironmills Steps. This time the landslip has tracked further East, heading in the direction of the Dalkeith Bowling Club. The original landslip started on the corner of Ironmills Steps and after a period of time this looked to have stabilised and the council carried out repairs and re-opened the steps to the public. 
Unfortunately though, after a spend within a budget of 58K, all the good works to the steps has been thwarted by this second slip. 

Its sad to see this after all the efforts. The ground was clearly damaged after the first slip and the rain in December and January was depressing, it seemed to rain every day. This rainfall probably caused this second slip (although the ground was clearly damaged after the first slip therefore its not so surprising that a second slip would happen).

The landslip that started in January 2016

Movement recorded by March 2016

The steps have been closed again to public access whilst the council seek expert opinion on what to do now. Our house is not affected by the landslip but the woodland ground that we purchased from the council is very close to part of the slip at the edge of the access route. 

Measures to ensure the public stay away from the bridge and the steps are as shown in the photo below. Quite an attractive fence I think. Looks like its going to be fenced off for a while.