Little France Park

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.

Active Travel

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 from a range of partners including the City of Edinburgh Council, NHS 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 provides 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 benefits and environmental improvements. It also provides links between areas that are socially disadvantaged with opportunities for employment. It has also 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  helps link up the housing developments to a proposed new town centre in Craigmillar, proving employment prospects at the Royal Infirmary and the Edinburgh BioQuarter, medical facilities and to existing schools. It helps 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.

Biodiversity Improvements
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. It rejuvenates a once unused green land into a flourishing and revitalised habitat for birds and wildlife to enjoy.

The work involved 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 installed 710m of hedge planting to help create a habitat for nesting birds. It also involved the creation of ‘Solitary Bee Nesting’ sites across two small areas by spreading sand, gravel and grit in piles to help accommodate the species. The structure will provide important habitat for solitary bees and other pollinator species.

A big thank you to volunteers from the Scottish Government, the Peregrine Group and staff from CEC Natural Heritage Service for building Little France Park’s first bee bank.

Woodland Creation

ELGT worked in partnership with the City of Edinburgh to plant 3 hectares of land as part of a woodland planting project. This involved securing funding from a SRDP grant to plant up Native Broad-leaves and Scots pine. We engaged the local community to help plant over 7,700 new trees as part of the woodland creation which involved over 300 volunteers.

Thanks also 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.

Community Engagement

The local community and schools have been using the park and taken part in the Edinburgh Living Landscape wildlife week activities with sessions run by SWT, CEC Natural Heritage Service and Buglife.

“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, Trees for Cities

Outputs:

  • 3km of active travel route created with new street lighting
  • 5 notice boards installed
  • 1 orientation panel installed
  • 5 benches and 2 stone seats installed
  • 80 tree standards planted
  • Planting of 3 hectares of native broad-leaves and Scots pine
  • 10 community planting days delivered
  • 8400 tree whips planted
  • 710m of hedging planted
  • Worked with 358 volunteers

Outcomes:

  • Formalised the main routes across the park
  • Improved active travel use 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