In the spring of 2015 we installed two 96kW Angus Super gasification log boilers, which supply heat to two 5000L Akva accumulator tanks. This allows us to produce enough heat to heat a workshop, storeroom, farm office, chemical store as well as the farmhouse. The Eco Angus range of boilers have great track record, are very efficient and robust. They have a minimal ash output and are therefore easy to clean and maintain. Overall they require very little maintenance and are very reliable. We burn softwood in the boilers, which is bought in as a raw material and processed on the farm into logs approximately 50cm in length. We have a contractor who comes in to process the wood for us, which is much more cost effective and time saving than us trying to do it ourselves. They are able to process 50 tonnes in approximately 15 hours. It was estimated at the outset that we would use in the region of 95 tonnes of wood per year, we are using more than that. Ideally the moisture content of the wood needs to be between 15-20%. The system is labour intensive but works for us, we manage between us to make sure that the wood is sourced regularly, processed and the boilers stoked. It’s a simple system, which works well.
West Fife Woodlands is a community group dedicated to the preservation, enhancement and accessibility of West Fife's woodland areas.
In the autumn of 2016 we worked in partnership with the West Fife Woodlands group and gave them access to a woodland area on our farm. The group received funding from ‘Paths for All’ (www.pathsforall.org.uk) to improve and extend the path network that the group have established over recent years. Cyclists and horse riders as well as walkers will be able to use the path and the path will contribute to the group’s long term aim of creating a network of Paths linking the communities of Blairhall and Valleyfield to the Devilla Forest. The path on our land has now been completed and gives access from Balgownie wood to the Fife Coastal Path at Culross using quiet country roads. This path will allow people better access to the other paths in the area.
The proposed network of paths will link us directly to the Devilla Forest. The forest attracts walkers, cyclists and horse riders and is a fantastic facility to encourage people to make the most of the outdoors. The Devilla is very much a family forest and has so much to offer. There are many different routes within the forest which are easy to access and not too strenuous and includes the red squirrel trail where the children have the opportunity to explore and spot the squirrels, this route is accessible to everyone, of all abilities.
We were fortunate enough to receive 50% funding through LEADER, which is part of the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP), to help us with our farm diversification project of renovating the existing farm cottage to provide holiday accommodation for tourists and people visiting the area.
The help and support we received from the team at LEADER, as well as Business Gateway and the Royal Bank of Scotland enabled us to complete this project.
To find out more about LEADER and the support available, visit them at www.leaderinfife.org.