The Inner Forth Landscape Initiative (IFLI) is a Heritage Lottery funded partnership scheme to protect, enhance and celebrate the area’s rich cultural and natural heritage, and to enable local people and visitors to understand the importance of the Inner Forth to the environment and cultural development of Scotland. It covers an area of 202 km2 on both sides of the Forth, from the historic Old Stirling Bridge to Blackness Castle and Rosyth. It includes the river, estuary and inter-tidal zone, floodplain, coastal margins and nearby communities. The four year programme of works commenced in May 2014 and is now entering its final few months.
Partners include Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire Councils, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Central Scotland Green Network Trust (CSGNT), Scottish Natural Heritage, Historic Environment Scotland and Sustrans. The RSPB are lead partner and supported a small team of staff responsible for day to day running. In addition, the Initiative worked in collaboration with a wide range of national and local organisations and community groups who play a significant role in the development and delivery of projects. These include Buglife Scotland, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Butterfly Conservation Scotland.
IFLI have developed 50 projects with a range of multiple benefits including:
- Connecting habitats and enhancing biodiversity.
- Celebrating, protecting and improving access to important historical and natural features.
- Training and supporting committed and motivated local community groups, individuals and organisations to conserve the area’s heritage.
- Increasing physical and intellectual access to the area’s important heritage.
- Increasing local pride.
Further information on IFLI, individual projects and research reports, can be found via this link www.innerforthlandscape.co.uk
STIRLING COUNCIL AREA PROJECTS
Within the Stirling Council area the following projects were implemented.
Fallen Bing serves as a reminder of the mining heritage of the Inner Forth and offers opportunities for the community to learn about the past, whilst undertaking activity which contributes to a healthy active lifestyle and a flourishing ecosystem. It is the focus of several projects.
In 2014-15 and 2016-17, volunteers managed by Buglife undertook scrub and invasive plant removal and created a wildflower meadow. Path improvement works and woodland planting is also being carried out by the Central Scotland Green Network Trust.
It will also be the site of an interpretation beacon, part of a wider ‘Telling the Inner Forth Story’ project, to help people reconnect with the very special historic, cultural and natural landscape of the Inner Forth.
Wester Moss is adjacent to Fallen Bing. The 30ha nature reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its expanse of lowland raised bog, a rare and vital habitat for wildlife. It also provide ‘ecosystem services’ for the nearby area, including carbon and water storage, and flood prevention.
The project aimed to safeguard the wildlife interests by reducing the rate of water loss. In October 2015 a 500m bund was formed round the southern edge to help stop water draining away. By making the Moss wetter Butterfly Conservation Scotland hopes to encourage more sphagnum mosses, the building blocks of the bog, to grow, in turn encouraging wildlife to flourish, including rare butterflies like the large heath butterfly, At a recent bog action day volunteers created a new dam and ‘seeded’ the newly created pools with sphagnum mosses. A further volunteer work party in early September 2016 removed shrubs to further aid restoration of the site. Notable species of butterfly and dragon fly have been confirmed to be breeding on the site.
The aim of this project was to locate and find out more about the historic watergate and harbour for the Abbey at Cambuskenneth.
Between 7 and 18 September 2015 volunteers, college students and school children worked with and learnt new skills from professional archaeologists, historians, metal detectorists and geophysicists. The team undertook field-walking, geophysical surveying, metal detecting and excavation of key locations. All artefacts were identified and catalogued. Volunteers and pupils made an invaluable contribution to the site’s history and heritage.
GUARD Archaeology have complied two reports on the findings: Abbots, Kings and Lost Harbours: Looking for Cambuskenneth Watergate, which covers the dig itself and the initial finds, followed by a final technical report analysing the finds. It also feeds into another IFLI project, Forth Crossings, investigating historic trade along the Inner Forth.
Aerial View Cambuskenneth Image © RCAHMS
St. Ninian’s Primary uncovering Harbour Image © Warren Baillie Guard Archaeology
Path improvements and an additional interpretation panel at an Abbey Craig viewpoint have been provided.
Bursaries have been awarded to support University of Stirling students researching Kennetpans Distillery, ‘Conserving Communities‘ and memories of Stirling’s lost harbour. The results of these studies will be available on the IFLI website when they are finished.
RSPB are currently in discussions with partners to explore options to build on the success of IFLI and continue partnership working.
Further Information is given on the following leaflet:
STIRLING COUNCIL: A PARTNER IN IFLI`S SUCCESS