Who we are

Reforesting Scotland is a membership organisation encouraging free and open debate on a wide range of forest and land issues.

Over the years we have produced a range of projects, publications and policy statements, but what we do, individually and collectively, also goes beyond formal projects, and covers a wide range of themes, some of which are illustrated in the ‘What we do‘ section. Our activities are inspired by the Reforesting Scotland vision.

The annual Reforesting Scotland Gathering provides the opportunity for members to meet and share ideas and experiences in an informal and sociable atmosphere. Members also have various online forums through which to communicate throughout the year.

Through its international networking, Reforesting Scotland links with people-focused projects throughout the world, particularly among the temperate and boreal forest zones.

As a grassroots charity we are looking for new members who can help us take up the challenges that face Scotland’s native forests and woodland culture in the future. Whatever your interest, be it as a tree grower, a craft worker, a designer of buildings, or simply as a supporter of Reforesting Scotland’s aims, join Reforesting Scotland and help practical work towards the regeneration of Scotland’s land and communities.


Reforesting Scotland is its members, and one of the most important things it does is to give them opportunities to communicate and collaborate with each other.

Meeting other members

The best opportunity to meet RS members is at the Annual Gathering. From time to time we also have local days where members take a tour of interesting projects in their local area. Any member can offer to run a local day – contact the office for advice and support on how to do this.

The Radical Rowan newsletter

The Radical Rowan is a newsletter by and for RS members, keeping each other up to date with RS projects and RS-related projects we’re involved with. Email if you have material to offer for the next issue or if you can help with collating, editing or layout.

A say in our running

The AGM – held each year during the Annual Gathering – gives Reforesting Scotland members an annual opportunity to review how the organisation is running and what it is doing. It is at the AGM that the charity’s directors are appointed for the coming year. If you are an RS member and would like to serve as a director, get in touch before the Annual Gathering.

Other ways of being involved

Depending on your time, energy, talents and inclination, there are many ways to help Reforesting Scotland! You could arrange for the RS display – or the Forest Garden display – to be on show at a local venue or event. You could simply distribute a few RS leaflets, or help to distribute the Journal. If you’re a public speaker, there’s a Reforesting Scotland powerpoint slideshow which you could use to tell people about RS.

Everything Reforesting Scotland is and does happens because its members make it happen. If you think something is missing from current activities, maybe you’re just the right person to add it to the mix.



Reforesting Scotland (RS) is all of its members, but work done and decisions made are often down to a much smaller group of people, the directors, staff and core volunteers.

Benedict Bate (treasurer)

Benedict is an accountant and has worked in manufacturing and retail as well as the University sector where he was a lecturer and until recently the Leader of the Accounting and Finance Group at Edinburgh Napier University. He has been a keen outdoor activities person since the early 1970s and it was during his travels that he realised what a ‘wet desert’ much of Scotland had become due to extensive overgrazing by sheep and deer. As an orienteer he has experienced a wide variety of Scottish forest terrain and is particularly fond of the pine woods in the Glen Affric area.

A long standing member of RS, he is also a member of the Woodland Trust and gives talks about their work in Scotland and has planted trees in Knoydart, Fife, the Borders and the Lothians. He is always keen to persuade others that planting trees in Scotland is an investment with many future benefits, such as biodiversity, recreation, forest products, water quality and flood management.

Amanda Calvert

Amanda describes herself as ‘thriving on work’, which is just as well given her CV. She started as a
biology teacher but quickly moved out of teaching and into building dry stone walls and gaining a Masters in
forest ecology. She has had a varied forestry-related career, from auditing wood fuel quality assurance
schemes and checking nursery bio-security to researching markets and management systems for small
woods. She has also been a director of the Community Woodlands Association.

Alan Carter (Chair)

Alan has been a member of RS for many years. He is a self-employed forester, and also has hands-on expertise in community parks and forest gardening. He was voted onto the board during the 2011 Gathering, which he had organised, and became Chair after the 2013 Gathering.

Hugh Chalmers

Hugh has been a member of RS for many years (with a few lapses) and continues to be inspired by the RS vision of restoring Scotland’s woods for everyone. He now works for Tweed Forum, pursuing integrated catchment management (involving lots of native tree planting and endless paperwork). Tim Stead at Wooplaw Woods was a great inspiration, as is Trees for Life and Borders Forest Trust where he was the Project Officer for their woodlands, including Carrifran Wildwood for eight years. Hugh is a member of the Carrifran Wildwood Steering Group, Secretary of A Greener Melrose, a trained deer hunter and a member of the Aldo Leopold Foundation. He would be lost without his copy of A Sand County Almanac.

Matt Hay

A former professional weather forecaster, Matt’s interests have always revolved around the natural world. Moving up to Perthshire in 2007, he quickly developed a deep affinity for Scotland’s wild places and the Caledonian forest in particular. Alongside working as a fitness instructor, Matt spends his time writing about climate change and the importance of ecological restoration, both in Scotland and elsewhere. He was delighted to join ‘Reforesting Scotland’ as a director in early 2019 and looks forward to working towards its restorative vision of healthy communities living in a well-forested land.

Nicky Penford

Nicky is a lecturer at Scotland’s Rural College in Aberdeen where she teaches countryside management. She was a farm conservation manager for fifteen years, encouraging farmers to create and manage woodlands and other habitats. She has studied forestry and rural development projects in Eastern Europe and is involved in a project in Romania to maintain hay meadows. She has worked as an ecological surveyor, including surveying the Common Lands of England and Wales. Nicky has been a member of Reforesting Scotland since the early days.

Olly Stephenson

Olly’s background is in GIS and he helped to set up the National Forest Inventory. In his spare time he loves the outdoors, particularly hill running, cycling and climbing, and through these activities and a general interest in environmental matters has become convinced that reforesting Scotland is the way to go.

Ninian Stuart

After an early career in community social work in Glasgow and in the mental health field, Ninian returned to his roots and responsibilities in a run-down rural estate in the 1990s. Since then he has been working with others to revive a landscape, build community and mind the future of this wooded place. This has involved starting up and supporting a range of social enterprises and community initiatives. He is co-founder of Falkland Centre for Stewardship which runs the Big Tent Festival and currently leads a programme of learning activities and public engagement in Falkland’s woods.

Ninian is a recent convert to hutting – and instigator of the RS campaigning vision of “A thousand huts“.

Staff and consultants

Much of Reforesting Scotland’s activities are carried out by the directors and other volunteers, but there are also a few part-time staff and freelancers working on specific aspects.

Paul Ritchie is our Co-ordinator, dealing with most of Reforesting Scotland’s day-to-day admin –

Mandy Meikle edits the Reforesting Scotland Journal

Karen Grant designs the Journal and is currently the Campaigner for the Thousand Huts campaign.

Donald McPhillimy is a founder member and past director of RS. He has carried out various pieces of contract work for us, such as the coppice survey, hutting report and Land Revival study tour.

Alan Carter manages this website, which is updated by a team of RS members and staff –