Dragons and Damsels in Culag Woods

August 12th 2020

Dragons and Damsels in Culag Woods

If you go down to the Culag Woods today, or any other day from now on, you’d better prepare for a surprise!

Over the winter of 2019/20 Assynt Field Club and Culag Community Woodland Trust jointly funded seven new wooden dragonflies and damselflies; these have now been installed in different locations throughout the woods. Achmelvich based woodland crafts artist Chris Goodman was commissioned to produce the much larger than life size sculptures. One of the main requirements was that the pieces were to have minimal impact on the environment.

The aim of the installations is to help people visiting the woods gain a better understanding of the variety of dragonflies that can be seen around the pools and along the paths of the woodland.

The making of a dragon!

Rather than us trying to explain the work involved here’s how Chris described it –

I made use of some fallen larch for the bodies and the paints came 
from two companies that use only natural oils and colours. Also, they
don’t have any VOC (volatile organic compounds) or plastic in them, unlike acrylic paints.

It was difficult finding the right colours as the living insects are really 
bright and vivid so I had to do a bit of mixing to try and get them as
accurate as possible.

I didn’t want to put any screws into living trees so the pieces have been attached either to standing dead wood or some reused old fence posts. The final consideration was the screws. I ended up using specialised decking screws which will last longer than standard screws given our wet climate.

So, these seven new dragons and damsels add to the two already well established in the curling pond. However, we’re not going to tell you the exact locations of the new ones since part of the fun is looking out for them! Although we have added photos of them to this post to help you recognise them.

Have fun, and if you would like to read more about Assynt’s dragonflies and damselflies here’s a link to an introductory page on our website.


David Haines (words and photos)

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Great Spotted Woodpecker

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Single bird foraging, Culag Woods (DAH) (12/01)