Woods 1 internal banner image

Bute Community Land Company

Bute Community Land Company is a locally controlled and managed charitable organisation with over 400 members. In 2009, 93% of 2739 people (52% of the eligible population) voted in favour of purchasing the forest at the north end of the island. They wanted to see new jobs created and better recreational facilities developed for local people and to attract new visitors to the island. BCLC was formed to allow the community to purchase the forest and manage it as an asset for all.

The goal is to manage the Community Forest in a responsible and environmentally sensitive way, to increase environmental education and to enable greater access to the Forest by residents and visitors.

Bute Community Land Company created a subsidiary, Bute Forest Ltd, to manage the forest in 2010. Activities of BFL have ceased as the business model proved not to be viable. The directors of BCLC are seeking other ways of managing the forest. The Forest remains available to the members and the public.

The current directors of BCLC are as follows:

  • Richard Whitcomb – Chairperson
  • Mel Hindley
  • Peter Atkins
  • Anne-Frances Mason
  • Martin Catlin
  • Lucia Swanepoel
  • Patrick Doherty
  • Don Murray (co-opted)

Meet Our Team

Richard moved to the Isle of Bute in 2010 with Andrea, who grew up here on this beautiful isle. An economic and social research consultant by profession, Richard became involved in the Community Forest as a Trustee in 2018, becoming Chair in 2020. Richard is passionate about the Isle of Bute and has - over the years with his family - enjoyed the wide variety of landscapes and environments the island offers, from moorland, to beaches, hills to forest and woodland. A strong environmental enthusiast, Richard is keen to promote the ecology and habitats in the Community Forest, whilst making the Forest accessible to more island residents and visitors. Richard has successfully attracted a wide range of organisations to partner with the Community Forest in support of its objectives and aspirations.

I moved to Bute in 2021 looking for a more rural lifestyle and lots of opportunities to get our family outside. We love Bute’s fantastic beaches, hills and of course the forests - so the opportunity to join the board of the Community Forest was a no-brainer! With a varied background in arts management, I hope to help encourage a vibrant arts element to our inspiring piece of beautiful Bute forest. The community here are fantastic and I think the environment helps shape that positivity and ‘can do’ attitude. It’s wonderful to see how regular visits to the forest add value to children’s wellbeing and education here - whether that’s through school, walks with parents or making dens with mates. Environmental matters are close to my heart, I’m proud that the forest is moving to replant the Sitka trees with native woodlands that will shelter and inspire future generations and I love seeing exciting projects realised, for example, the Charcoal huts have been created to offer an opportunity to have a few nights away in a super environmentally friendly but comfortable retreat.

My name’s Anne-Frances and I’m a new committee member for the Bute Community Forest. My work background is in community education and teaching, and I have a lot of experience delivering training and group work in different community settings, schools and more recently in the family wellbeing hub in East Renfrewshire. Whilst working for Glasgow’s social work services I trained as a multi-systemic family therapist and in 2020 my passion for running took me in a different direction and I qualified as a Scottish Athletics running coach.

I love the outdoors and recently set up a Jog Scotland group on Bute to encourage people to get more active and engage with the stunning scenery that’s on our doorsteps. I’m a great believer in exercise for boosting energy levels and positive mental health so the ethos of the forest belonging to everyone on this island community inspires me. I completed the John Muir Leadership Award in 2022 and hope to use my skills and this training to make more people curious to care for their very own wild and wonderful woodlands on Bute.

My name's Patrick Doherty and I'm a new Board member. Anne-Frances (fellow board member) and I moved to Bute last April and we have enjoyed settling in and making new connections, partly through our Couch to OK cic, which we set up to encourage better mental health through movement. My background is in education, addictions and mental health and I am keen to ensure that, as a board, we find new ways to attract people into the forest. I would like the local community to feel that the forest is a place to come, not only on a summer's day but in all seasons, and in all weathers. If we can create a space to gather, talk, relax, create and celebrate, then we will be better placed to find the hearts and minds needed to ensure that this precious space is cared for and protected for future generations.

Birch and Alder at Moss Wood square

Become a lifetime member

Become a lifetime member

If you'd like to help out the organisation you can become a lifetime member.

Find Out More
View near Bunker square

Getting to the forest

Getting to the forest

Find out how to get to the forest if you are unsure.

Find Out More
Ditch digging square



There are a wide range of things that we can always use volunteers for.

Find Out More
View point and poetry trail sign square

Moss Wood & Poetry Trail

Moss Wood & Poetry Trail

Find out more about Moss Wood and the Poetry Trail.

Find Out More