Save the Gillies Hill Redwoods.

Save the Gillies Hill Redwoods.

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Why this petition matters

Started by Matthew Strutt


The five giant Sierra redwoods on the top of Gillies Hill in Cambusbarron, Stirlingshire, Scotland are under threat of removal by renewed quarrying.


BACKGROUND: Gillies Hill, the hill on which it is believed Robert the Bruce’s camp followers hid while waiting for him to call them into the Battle of Bannockburn, lies south of the village of Cambusbarron near Stirling. The hill was the home of the Murrays of Polmaise Castle (now demolished) who in the 1860s planted nine giant Sierra redwoods (Sequoiadendron giganteum AKA Wellingtonia) and two coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) on their estate. Although the redwoods on the eastern side of Gillies Hill are now safe by being within the Gillies Hill Community Woodland, the five giant Sierra redwoods on the very top of the hill are under threat from renewed quarrying.


We the undersigned request that local, regional, and national representatives, the Scottish Reporter who made the decision to approve quarrying, and TM Paterson, Managing Director of Patersons Quarries Ltd., agree to spare the grove of 5 Sequoia trees on Gillies Hill that are currently within the area scheduled to be quarried and seek to have a “Tree Preservation Order” made by Stirling Council.


1.     Tree Preservation Order: A Tree Preservation Order can be applied retrospectively especially if facts were misrepresented.  The 1982 permission was granted before Environmental Impact Assessments were required. "In addition to what is mentioned in the council website there is also specific reference to the protecting trees of cultural or historic interest  in the Town & Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 S159"

2.     Historical value and cultural heritage. The first Sierra redwood seeds to leave California were sent by the Scot, John Matthew, of Errol to his father Patrick Matthew in 1853 and the first pressed specimen of the coast redwood was collected in Santa Cruz, California in 1793 by the intrepid Scottish plant hunter, Archibald Menzies, on the voyage of the Discovery. The redwoods on Gillies Hill were planted by the Murray family of Polmaise not long after the trees were introduced to Scotland. DNA analysis has shown that these five trees descend from the same grove from which Matthew collected his seeds and could potentially have been grown from Matthew’s seeds or cuttings from their saplings.

3.     Ecological importance and high natural value: As coast and Sierra redwood populations are increasingly threatened in California by wildfires and drought, populations of these trees in Scotland stand to serve as “ex situ” populations to help preserve the species. According to Save the Redwoods League, “We have learned that because of ancient redwoods' extraordinary growth rate and life span, immense size, and singular resistance to decay, they store more carbon per acre than any other forest type in the world." Because of their history and size, all five of the redwoods on the top of Gillies Hill have been registered as Veteran Trees with the Woodland Trust. Locally, the grove provides a food source for red squirrels as well as roosting sites for treecreepers. Pine martens returning to the region have also been documented near the grove.

4.     Resilience and longevity:  Instead of developing a tap root, a giant Sierra redwood has roots that spread out 100-300 feet forming a strong mat that firmly anchors the tree. In December of 2011, the five redwoods on top of Gillies Hill survived Cyclone Friedhelm while several surrounding native hardwoods were toppled. Having fire resistant bark and possessing roots that intertwine with each other for stability, this grove could live over 3000 years if not removed. The Sierra redwoods on Gillies Hill have the potential to reach the volume of the world’s most massive organisms such as that of General Sherman in California’s southern Sierra Nevada, that stands at 275 feet (83 m) tall and is over 36 feet (11 m) in diameter at the base; and the coast redwoods have the potential to reach the height of the world’s tallest known living tree, a coast redwood in northern California named Hyperion, that stands at 115.85 m (380.1 ft) tall.

5.     Recreational value: The five redwoods are integral to the scenic quality of the area and represent an essential visual feature in the skyline. The grove is an extremely popular destination with hikers, mountain bikers, educational field trips, and naturalists. Additionally, the Cambusbarron Community Council has stated that the removal of these five trees would cause the loss of an iconic skyline element, a hilltop landmark and beacon to local residents and a living monument visible from across the Carse of Stirling seen by motorists, residents and walkers.




Save Gillies Hill Forum:


Gillies Hill Wikipedia:


Cambusbarron Community Council:


Stirling Council:

            Neil Benny Conservative:

Scott Farmer SNP:

Christine Simpson Labour:

Jane Brooks-Burnett, Senior Planning Officer:



Constituency MSP - Evelyn Tweed MSP:

Regional MSP - Mark Ruskell MSP:



Alyn Smith:


Patersons Quarries Ltd.: TM Paterson, Managing Director, Gartsherrie Road, Coatbridge ML5 2EU


Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004

NatureScot – Biodiversity Duty Reports,sites%20and%20for%20particular%20species

1,340 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!