Pentland Hills Phase 1 – Increasing Woodland Connectivity around the Regional Park

Pentland Hills Phase 1 – Increasing Woodland Connectivity around the Regional Park

Detailed habitat mapping to identify new woodland creation opportunities, used within the Pentland Hills Regional Park.

LFGNP has produced detailed habitat mapping to indentify new woodland creation opportunities. This was used within the Pentland Hills Regional Park area for planning purposes and was undertaken in tandem with a detailed programme of landowner consultation on the ground. Work was funded through the award of a £32,000 grant from the Central Scotland Green Network Development Fund.

The aim of this project was to carry out scoping, consultation and development work for woodland expansion and management in 5 core areas which have been previously identified in the Pentland Hills Woodland Action Plan (developed by LFGNP). The Plan set the scene for developing of a strategic, targeted and action based approach to woodland management in and around the Pentland Hills. In particular this recognised the potential to create enhanced linkage between the woodlands within the Pentland Hills Regional Park and surrounding forest habitat networks.

LFGNP took forward work to realise the vision of the Action Plan within the 5 identified core areas. Development work identified and specified practical actions on the ground to enhance the landscape quality of the wider area whilst providing social and recreational benefits for local people and visitors.

This development work had the following clear aims within each core area:

  • To increase the total amount of woodland cover
  • To bring existing woodland into improved management
  • To creating increased connectivity of woodland habitat within the Pentland Hills and surrounding area.

This was undertaken through a phased approach involving;

  • Detailed scoping and stakeholder consultation
  • Development and specification of identified projects.

The Location of the Project:

The project area cut across local authority administrative boundaries and includes parts of West Lothian, City of Edinburgh and Midlothian Council areas. The project satisfied LFGNP, CSGN and SESplan priorities.

Landownership:

The landownership within the proposed core areas is diverse. Information on this is held by project partners, particularly the Pentland Hills Regional Park Authority. However scoping work includes detailed research into the distribution of land ownership within core areas and also defines ownership boundaries. This was the first step in an exercise to consult with owners and formed part of the development work.

Who is carrying out the work?

The development work was carried out through a combination of external consultants and through the partner organisations where appropriate. These include the Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust and Central Scotland Green Network Trust. Future project implementation arising from the development programme will be undertaken where practicable through landowners agents and local delivery mechanisms to ensure a high level of landowner adoption and support.

Project Outputs and Outcomes

Direct Project Outputs from the 2 stages was as follows:

Stage 1: Analysis, Scoping and Consultation

  • Analysis of existing woodland resource in each of the five priority areas.
  • Analysis of context/ constraints in each of the five priority areas.
  • Site assessment of each of the five identified core areas
  • Detailed analysis of woodland resource in terms of current condition and management.
  • Evaluation and Identification of opportunities and constraints
  • Consultation with landowners and stakeholder groups to determine feasibilities and identify need for further intervention through stage 2 (30 landowners)
  • Identification of Delivery Mechanisms

Stage 2: Project Development – Scheme Design and Specification

Development including design and specification of 10 individual woodland management, enhancement or creation projects arising for stage 1. To date woodland creation has taken place at Swanston Farm, Bonaly Country Park and Dreghorn within the Pentland Hills Regional Park area.

Project Update

LFGNP have been awarded further CSGN Development Funds, to focus on one of these core areas, the Pentlands North East Slopes. The North East Slopes Landscape Management Plan set out a description of the North East Slopes, and provided information on the strategic context for woodland management and expansion. For more info see Phase II project pages.

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