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Always expect the unexpected

It is fairly common to find oddities and noteworthy features when working on and walking through the forests we manage.

They can range from unrecorded archaeological features to old abandoned machinery. Last November we uncovered one of the more unexpected items on one of the sites we manage in Perthshire.

Bamff Farms, near Alyth, has recently undertaken a large area of native woodland planting. The second phase of planting was taking place last autumn at Balduff Hill when this particular item was found. The site is fairly remote, more than a kilometre fromthe farm, and planting was almost complete when the discovery was made.

While I was on site, the contractor called to tell me that one of his planters had unearthed what he simply described as “a bomb”. 

The object was later identified as a three-inch mortar round, probably dating from the Second World War, which had been brought to the surface by the scarification used to cultivate the site before planting. 

We immediately evacuated the area and called the emergency services.

About 30 minutes after the call to the emergency services two police officers arrived to relay information to a bomb disposal unit and guard the site until their arrival. Later that evening a bomb disposal team successfully disposed of the bomb. Planting was able to continue and was completed the following day.

Finding this mortar round on the planting site was unusual and a little concerning for a number of reasons. Uncovering any sort of unexploded ordinance is, thankfully, not a common occurrence and was even more unusual in this situation as there was no record of any military training having been carried out in the area.

This was potentially a near miss for both the ground prep contractor and the planters – and it goes to show that you can never be certain what is underfoot.