Hailes Quarry Park
Since 2006, the Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust has been working on an ongoing project to make environmental improvements to Hailes Quarry Park.
ELGT have been supporting the development of Hailes Quarry Park since 2006. We’ve seen significant physical changes to the greenspace over the years that we’ve been working here. These have included new paths, trees, play equipment and wetland area.
We have a number of project strands to engage the local community to get involved with events and activities in the park, encouraging people to use the park as a safe and welcoming place for healthy living, exercise, enjoyment and recreation.
We run a number of fun and informative activities in the park and we’ve made a major contribution to the community here, to help everyone to lead healthier lives and to enjoy their greenspaces.
The introduction of a wetland habitat in 2016 was a significant milestone, replacing an under used and under appreciated derelict looking space into an interactive greenspace full of wildlife. The badly-drained section of the park has long been a problem and ELGT together with the park steering group came up with a solution – to transform the site into a brand-new wetland area to become home to wetland plants and wildlife. The problem dates back to the park’s days as a quarry which closed due to flooding before being filled in, capped in clay and then turned into a park. This area is still the lowest point of the park, floods regularly and is damp and boggy for most of the year, making it out of bounds for park users and difficult to mow and look after.
The following year a boardwalk and viewing platform were built so that park users could immerse themselves in this bio-diverse habitat. Thanks to funding from the Postcode Local Trust which is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery we were able to improve the access to the wetland area. Our project received £20,000 from the Trust to build a boardwalk and to facilitate community activities to encourage people to learn about the local nature.
An information panel was also erected at the end of the path to inform local park users of the diverse species of flora and fauna which will thrive in this space — such as the Pipistrelle bats which local park users were able to observe during an ELGT organised bat-walk last month.
A concerted programme of a range of wetland plant species has created a brand-new habitat which will be a new feature in the park. Home to birds and even amphibians as well as a host of native wetland plants. With the park being next to the Union Canal, the new wetland area will be a valuable part of the green corridor either side of the tow path and the canal’s banks. The new wetland is another Edinburgh Living Landscape delivered by ELGT.
The wetland is a great success but because its surrounding areas remained fairly wet and boggy, access was sometimes challenging. We received funding from Paths for All, to build a new path which will make access easier and safer through the park enabling all users to enjoy all aspects of Hailes Quarry Park, regardless of the weather.
Events & Activities
Our talk with Edinburgh Natural History Society made for a lively discussion as we talked about the history of the park, the significance of the park and its location and its links with green corridors. We talked about the wetlands area and the species that now thrive there such as the Yellow Flying Iris, the Ragged Robin, the Meadow Crane’s-bill and the extremely rare Northern Marsh Orchid.
We considered the different groups we engage with in the park and some of the events and activities we hold and the cumulative positive impact we’ve made. In close collaboration with community over the years we’ve developed ideas to improve the park and now is no different.
So as a response to feedback we plan to do an ecological survey of the park with the society come the end of January to monitor bio diversity and to preserve the rare species with a management plan.
Thanks to a brilliant group of volunteers from Barratt Homes who built a bee bank and maintained the wildflower area in Hailes Quarry Park. The wild flower seeds were a Mavisbank mix which is made up of 17 wildflower & 6 grass species and will start showing in May next year. The bees will start to nest in March next year. Alison from Barratts Homes said, “we all enjoyed the day and look forward to seeing the results next year”
ELGT and teams of volunteers have spent time improving the wetland habitat by turning a problem area in the park into an exciting new feature. Thanks to volunteers from Price Waterhouse for planting yellow flag iris in the wetland area and wildflowers by the new orchard trees in Hailes Quarry Park.
Thanks to the Clovenstone Primary After School Club who got their hands dirty planting Alder trees in Hailes Quarry Park to help commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Wester Hailes. They plan to bury a Time Capsule on the site in the coming weeks, filled with photos of the group and a collection of things they have made over the year.
We had a great day picking litter and planting bulbs to get the park looking as good as it should. It was great to work with volunteers from St. Augustine’s High School in the morning and some really enthusiastic P1s from Broomhouse Primary School in the afternoon. It was a delight to see young people enjoying taking responsibility for their local park.
We hosted a really successful bulb planting sessions with the Broomhouse Primary School nursery group and the Clovenstone Community Centre after-school club. As their teacher gleefully reported back to us, children as young as four “were able to tell the other children why there were holes and what they had planted and what they were going to grow into and when! Amazing
Thanks to the good weather we ran a very successful programme of outdoor activities in Hailes Quarry Park this summer. The programme of activity aims to increase the rates of outdoor recreation and to help build the skills and confidence of young people.This involved working with young carers and local families within the area.
We ran a woodland activity programme with The Big Project and an Owl display which enabled them to learn about and interact with nature. We had a mini highland games which we finished off with a ceilidh.
As part of the Learning and Discovery area, we have installed a nature trail in Hailes Quarry Park. Download the leaflet here and use it to follow the trail, find the seven posts hidden in the woodland and make rubbings of the pictures on the posts. The trail reveals some of the biodiversity that can be found in the park.
This project was funded by WREN, and the design and installation was carried out by Ratho Byres Forge. The leaflets are also available from Wester Hailes library.
A concerted programme of planting a range of wetland plant species has created a brand-new habitat which will be a new feature in the park. Home to birds and even amphibians as well as a host of native wetland plants.
Funded by: Scottish Natural Heritage, Mushroom Trust, Postcode Local Trust, WREN,
- 10 community groups engaged with
- 2 local schools engaged with
- 4 meetings of Steering Group held
- 4000 bulbs planted
- 500 wildflower plugs planted
- 500 wetland plugs planted
- 15 orchard trees planted
- 90 people attended Owl Magic event
- 27 people took part in a Mini Highland Games
- 33 people enjoyed a buggy walk and picnic
- Opportunities for people to gain new skills and knowledge
- Increased number of people from community groups who regularly access the park
- Increased participation in environmental and outdoor activities
- Mental and physical wellbeing maximised through increased activity levels and contact with greenspace
- Increased promotion and number of people regularly using the park for health, wellbeing, learning and enjoyment
- Greater opportunities for social interaction through environmental activity