The SAN office has recently taken delivery of a painting created by our founder, former Director and author of the Prove, Improve and Account guide. Now retired, Alan works in Edinburgh and specialises in landscapes and structural painting.
Our painting is of the Forest of Birse; a remote upland area in the upper catchment of the Water of Feugh, which forms the south-western portion of the Parish of Birse, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
…and the Forest of Birse has some relevance to the roots and work of SAN.
Historically, Birse was the personal property of the King of Scots and was used as a Royal Hunting Forest. However, during the 19th century, the rise in the popularity and economic value of grouse shooting associated with the Victorian era led to a series of legal disputes over the hunting rights in the forest. Years later, in the 1970s, the regeneration of woodland in part of the forest and the felling of a small area of mature woodland by Dunecht estate raised awareness of the ancient common rights held by all the inhabitants of Birse parish, as the use of timber was one of these common rights.
In 1999, a historic agreement was reached which saw the ancient rights over the forest held by all the inhabitants of Birse parish were vested in a body known as Birse Community Trust, which uses these rights to manage the 5 square kilometres of woodland that is regenerating in the north-east part of the forest.
The Birse Community Trust exists to promote the common good of the inhabitants of the parish of Birse and deliver wider benefits. It is exactly the sort of community-led business from which SAN emerged around 20 years ago.