Craigmillar Castle Park
Focusing in and around Craigmillar Castle Park, this project has delivered a wide range of community engagement activities and volunteering opportunities that have fostered a greater understanding of nature and its value through community events, nature walks, natural play activities, workshops and practical conservation tasks.
By delivering a series of community events we have enabled the local community to learn new skills, get involved in volunteering activities, engage with nature and meet other local residents.
We have worked alongside local schools, organisations and community groups to deliver several initiatives to further strengthen the project’s outcomes.
A key local organisation we have been working with is Youth Build to provide a programme of practical upskilling for local young people to help them develop their skills and confidence.
The project is has also identified opportunities for woodland improvements within Craigmillar Castle Park through the Woods In and Around Towns scheme (WIAT).
For upcoming events or to contact us please visit our dedicated Craigmillar Castle Park Facebook page here.
Previous Events and Activities
Our programme of events can be accessed below and demonstrate the wide array of wonderful activities that ELGT organise in Craigmillar Castle Park.
Peace Day was a day of cultural sharing and learning about nature with nature walks, arts and crafts, food, song and dance. Participants from all over Edinburgh from all cultures and creeds enjoyed sharing cuisine and culture; including traditional Indian and Chinese sweets and delicacies. There was also some lovely traditional Indian singing and people danced along in the sunshine.
Everyone planted a flower to commemorate the event and mark the end of peace day which was a fantastic coming together of cultures in an open and sharing environment.
One group of participants said they had a wonderful time and that they really enjoyed sharing their national cuisines with others and learning about others. One person said: ” I really enjoyed tasting Indian sweets they were really tasty and sweet “.
Magical Woodlands Walk
We had just over a hundred people attending our Magical Woodlands walk in Craigmillar Castle Park. The Rowanbank Environmental and Arts Educational’s project aims to entertain, inform and educate children about global warming through a colourful story about the seasons with trapeze, song, dance and storytelling. In a fantastical fairy tale adventure children were guided through the woods and into the castle with a host of delightful characters and interactive activities along the way. The children listened to an interactive story about how the seasons were out of sorts, but learned that they can take steps to restore the balance of nature and restore harmony to the kingdom of nature.
We’ve been inundated with feedback from happy parents whose children haven’t stopped talking about it. One parent said: “You guys were totally incredible today. What an amazing, memorable and special event this was. My three year old was utterly captivated.”
Other happy parents added: “I just wanted to say thank you for this event. My two kids had a great time, they loved it and have been creating potions from berries and leaves ever since. Some of which I’ve had to drink too! We hadn’t actually been to Craigmillar castle before, despite living near by – so will definitely go back.”
“Incredible spectacle today. My 3 year old daughter and 5 year old niece were captivated. I had to pretty much drag then away from the castle and the woods at the end because they wanted to just keep retelling and adding to the story. Amazing job. Thank you!”
Family Forest Festival
A big thank you to everyone who came along to the Family Forest Festival. We had great fun despite the very wet weather! We had over 150 people come along who took part in a silent disco, circus skills, petting zoo, camera obscura, face painting and making clay creatures.
We had a fantastic afternoon with Owl Magic where we had over 60 local people who were able to get in close contact with a selection of owls. Some of the families said. ” Really lovely event, kids loved it”, “great event, thanks for organising Ben.”
The conservation work at Craigmillar Castle Park is ramping up which has seen a number of community activities. These included an afternoon putting up bird boxes with pupils from Castlebrae High School.
We also had a great day with Anna from Floramedica who ran a foraging workshop on the edible plants found in the park. A couple of participants commented “Really enjoyed the workshops today, the kids loved making the creams” and ” We had fun and learnt some new stuff, thanks”
Thanks to those that came for a walk around the park on the search for bats on a slightly chilly evening. It was great to hear from Graeme Wilson about what to look out for and the different types of bats that are around.
Everyone had a great time at the Owl Magic event where the participants were able to handle different types of Owls. The programme of activity provides a great opportunity for local residents to interact with wildlife.
We are very pleased with the work that our upskilling group from Youth Build have undertaken thanks to funding from Forestry Commission Scotland. They have been developing their skills and delivered improvements to the park. These have included woodland thinning, path clearance, removal of invasive species of Snowberry and Laurel, developing a forest school site and bird box installation. They have also helped us to plant over 150 new trees in Little France Park thanks to funding from Trees for Cities.
The New Year kicked off enthusiastically as we took a group of eager young survivalists in the Craigmillar woodland to learn crucial survival techniques including water purification and shelter building — and of course a wee bit of marshmallow roasting! Feedback for the event was really positive with one parent telling us: ” I wanted to say thank you for another wonderful event. My son wanted to make another den. He now wants to live in a woods.”
We followed that up with a fun Wild Art event, getting creative with natural materials to make works of art in the woods! It really is fantastic to be able to have a wild space in the heart of Edinburgh where young people can feel such a close connection to the elements, and develop skills which will encourage them to pursue outdoor activities over the long term.
A big thank you to Think Circus who ran the circus skills workshop- It was a great afternoon. We managed to get the whole family participating.
To celebrate National Tree Week ELGT teamed up with the Forestry Commission Scotland to organise a magical tree dressing event at Craigmillar Castle Park. The day was a true celebration of nature and woodlands, it included musical and circus performances, herbal workshops, a tug of war, treasure hunts and of course some crafty tree dressing. People of all ages were engaged in and enjoyed this wonderful community event.
We feel the event was a real success as it married education, culture and entertainment seamlessly so that everyone both enjoyed themselves and left with an enhanced understanding of and respect for the world of trees and forests. Here is some of the warming feedback left on our facebook page “Truly magical! My friend and I had a wonderful time. I agree with others, please do it again next year! Well done to all involved in making it happen.”
Bulb Planting Sessions
As part of an outdoor classroom day the pupils from Castleview primary got stuck into different activities at Craigmillar Castle Park. Abby took the P7s to plant some snowdrops while Ben organised a den building session with the P6s and Kim ran a hula hooping session with the P3s. They all got a chance to benefit from using this fantastic local greenspace.
Foraging Guided Walk
Another instalment of the very popular Foraging Guided Walk facilitated by Grass Roots Remedies saw people learning about the diverse edible and medicinal plants found in the park, such as Rosehips and Sticky Willy.
This month also saw another very well-received free Parkour workshop with specialist coaches — an activity which is particularly suited to getting teenagers out in the park.
‘Circus of Lights’
ELGT facilitated this exciting event which brought the community together to enjoy the park and travel paths in a spectacular way. Working with Think Circus and funded by Sustrans’ ArtRoots Fund for community arts on the National Cycle Network, local families had been building giant fairy-tale themed lanterns and learning glow circus routines at Sandys Community Centre and Bridgend Farmhouse. These were performed in a parade across Craigmillar Castle Park and the Innocent Railway Cycle Path.
The event had a fantastic response, over 80 people of all ages engaged in this luminous spectacle which was also enjoyed by members of the public in Craigmillar.
Thank you for another wonderful event... Such a special time today... Kids loved it as usual... Brilliant afternoon - can’t believe all these events are free... Thank you so much for everything you have done 😍 I'm quite sad it's over... Not only do [the kids] enjoy the event but they also bring home with them new passions... I had never been around the park before and was amazed that such a beautiful wild place was in the city... My son has been using some of the activities to attract nature in our garden... Various participants
Funded by: Forestry Commission, City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Enterprise
- 127 community engagement activities delivered
- Engaged with 2767 local people
- Successful in securing additional funding to deliver specific events and projects
- Delivered John Muir Explorer Award in partnership with Carr Gomm
- Assisted in delivering Junior Ranger Programme with Castleview Primary and the University of Edinburgh
- Craigmillar Walking group in partnership with Connecting Craigmillar and the Thistle Foundation set-up
- Outdoors In with Carr Comm and Sandys Community Centre
- Delivered Upskilling Project in partnership with Youthbuild and Newbattle Abbey College
- Greater community engagement with local woodlands and their associated benefits such as an increased value of green space and biodiversity and increased health and well-being
- Increased community participation and cohesion
- Increased opportunities for outdoor activities and healthy living
- Increased number of people using and valuing Craigmillar Castle Park