New book tells story of Bute’s historic woodlands

Bute Museum hosted the launch of The Historic Trees and Woods of Bute on Saturday. Author Peter Quelch is in the centre of this group, which also includes Billy Shields, Jessica Herriot, Angus Hannah and Donald Kinnear.
Bute Museum hosted the launch of The Historic Trees and Woods of Bute on Saturday. Author Peter Quelch is in the centre of this group, which also includes Billy Shields, Jessica Herriot, Angus Hannah and Donald Kinnear.

A NEWLY-PUBLISHED book revealing the hidden history of many of Bute’s woodland areas was launched in Rothesay on Saturday.

The Historic Trees and Woods of Bute, written by Peter Quelch, has been published in partnership with the lottery-funded Discover Bute Landscape Partnership Scheme, which met all the costs of producing the volume.

All the proceeds from sales of the book will therefore go to Bute Museum, where the launch party for the new title was held.

“I was looking for the connection between the trees of Bute and why they grow where they do,” Mr Quelch told The Buteman.

“Some people like old trees for their own sake, and I used to be like that myself, but increasingly I’ve become more interested in the way in which old woods which now look very natural are actually associated with places where people used to live – and there are a lot of those on Bute.

“Associating old trees with the ghosts of people who lived and worked around them is a subject I find fascinating, and the sheer number of those places on Bute is very noticeable.”

Discover Bute project co-ordinator Bridget Paterson said: “The story of this book dates back to June 2007, when Bute Museum and the Buteshire Natural History Society held a conference at which Peter Quelch was a speaker.

“I was so impressed with what he said that I immediately told him if we could get the funds together I’d like him to come and do a survey of the woods of Bute.

“The end result is a wonderful publication, and it’s been a pleasure working with Peter.”

The book, priced £10, is on sale at Bute Museum in Stuart Street, Rothesay, which is open from 10.30am-3.30pm Monday to Saturday and from 1.30-3.30pm on Sundays.