Little France Park
New Living Landscape Park at Little France, Edinburgh. Improving the access to quality greenspaces for both wildlife and people
The project has involved various partners including City of Edinburgh (parks and greenspaces, planning and economic development), PARC Craigmillar (EDI Group), NHS Lothian, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Enterprise, University of Edinburgh, Sustrans, Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh and Scottish Forestry.
The parkland is a key piece of green infrastructure for the city and region and a crucial regeneration tool linking local communities – including Craigmillar, Greendykes and Niddrie to employment opportunities.
Thanks to funding from Tree for Cities we have planted up over 700 tree samplings with help from volunteers from Postcode Lottery and the local Friends of parks group.
Following support from Scottish Natural Heritage through the Biodiversity Challenge Fund we have been able to improve the biodiversity of the park. The project aims to improve the soils nutrient content of the area and to plant wildflowers which are invaluable to insect pollinators. The rejuvenation of a once unused green land into a flourishing and revitalised habitat for birds and wildlife to enjoy is now becoming a reality.
This involves the creation of wildflower meadows which is a big step towards making the area a beacon for wildlife in the heart of Edinburgh, turning a once derelict space into a green utopia. We have also installed 710m of hedge planting to help create a habitat for nesting birds. It also involves the creation of ‘Solitary Bee Nesting’ areas across two small areas by spreading sand, gravel and grit in piles to help accommodate the species.
A big thank you to corporate volunteers from Scottish Government, The Peregrine Group and staff from CEC Natural Heritage Service for building Little France Park’s first bee bank. The structure will provide important habitat for solitary bees and other pollinator species.
The active travel route and park project which is valued at over £1.4m, has been delivered by ELGT on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council. It was primarily funded by Transport Scotland through Sustrans’ Scotland’s Community Links programme, with match funding provided by a range of partners including the City of Edinbrugh Council and Scottish Enterprise. The new 2.983km route formalises existing paths in order to link with new and proposed housing developments in the south east of the city, and beyond to the city centre and Craigmillar. It will enable a core cycling and walking route, linking the new neighbourhoods as they come on stream to existing residential and employment areas as well as the new Shawfair railway station on the Borders rail line. This project is an excellent example of where development of an ambitious active travel route can achieve a whole range of outcomes, including transport connectivity, public health and environmental improvement. It also provides links between areas that are socially disadvantaged, provides opportunities for employment and has been used as a Central Scotland Green Network case study http://www.centralscotlandgreennetwork.org/campaigns/green-active-travel/green-active-travel-2
The new active travel routes deliver links to the parkland, encouraging its use for recreation, informal sports and events. It also formalises existing paths, linking with housing developments, a proposed new town centre in Craigmillar, proving employment prospects at the Royal Infirmary and the Edinburgh BioQuarter, medical facilities and links to existing schools. The parkland will also connect and realign disjointed existing paths. This is a great opportunity to create a new landscape setting for the city providing opportunities for outdoor recreation which brings social and health benefits to this area. The parkland will be an important part of the green network, providing a focus for local and sub-regional leisure and amenity, improved connectivity and enhanced biodiversity.
We have also worked in partnership with the City of Edinburgh to plant 3 hectares of land as part of a woodland planting project. ELGT undertook an SRDP application to secure grant funding to plant up Native Broad-leaves and Scots pine.
The local community have already taken part in planting over 7,700 new trees in Little France Park for woodland creation which involved over 300 volunteers. It will also bring in the local community and schools as part of the Edinburgh Living Landscape project.
“This is a fantastic development for this rapidly evolving part of the city, which will not only encourage active travel but will open up a whole new area of parkland for local people. As the project progresses I look forward to more and more people enjoying the natural surroundings, and it’s great to see young park users getting involved already" Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley McInnes
Funded by: Scottish Natural Heritage, City of Edinburgh Council, Sustrans, Scottish Enterprise, Central Scotland Green Network, NHS Lothian, Scottish Rural Development Programme
- 2km of active travel route created
- 5 Notice boards and installed
- 1 Orientation panel installed
- 80 tree standards planted
- 1 SRDP Woodland Creation project
- Planting of 3 hectares of native broad-leaves and 5% Scots pine
- 7800 tree whips planted
- 58 volunteers engaged with
- 10 community planting days delivered
- Formalised the main routes
- Improved active travel in the area
- Help locals to access the hospital and adjacent communities
- Encourage locals and tourists to enjoy the local environment and placed of interest
- Improve access provision around the Bio-Quarter
- Improve existing active transport network and improve commuting to work
- Improved appearance of the park
- Benefits to wildlife and biodiversity
- Foster a greater sense of community pride
- Encouraged community ownership
- Improve green networks and connectivity
- Increase woodland cover
- A visible aesthetic improvement to the landscape which will foster a greater sense of pride of place within the community