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Welcome to IFLI's October 2015 eNewsletter

In this issue:

  • Mining for memories
  • Over 1000 people enjoy first Inner Forth Festival
  • Boosting the roost at Kinneil Lagoons
  • One year gone - and counting
  • Telling the Inner Forth Story
  • First phase of Tale of Two Estates project now complete
  • Wetter Moss!
  • Inspiring landscapes
  • New discoveries at Cambuskenneth
  • What’s on!

Mining for memories

Valleyfield miners 

We’ll be asking the people of Valleyfield to search their brains (and their attics) for their memories of mining to contribute to an exhibition to be held in Valleyfield Community Centre on Wednesday 28 October.
The free Memories of Mining exhibition will run from 10.30am to 8pm and will be packed full of mining photographs and memorabilia, including some documents related to the 1939 Valleyfield Mining Disaster which claimed 35 lives. There’ll also be a slideshow, maps, books, paintings and poetry, as well as audio commentaries, interpretation and physical artefacts.
The exhibition will be a two way street though; we would like people to, if they can, bring their own memories, photos and artefacts - or those of their friends and relatives - too. It should be a great occasion for people to get together and share some old stories – or learn some new ones - over a cup of tea and a biscuit.
If you have any memories or memorabilia of mining in Valleyfield that you’d like to share (only temporarily) then get in touch with Kirsty or Paul on or 01324 831568. To find about the whole memories of Mining project go to our webpage.

Over 1000 people enjoy first Inner Forth Festival 

Over 100 people enjoyed a trip up and down the Forth at the festival's launch.
Photo David Palmar/

The inaugural Inner Forth Festival came to a close at the end of September, bringing to an end our month long celebration of the fantastic people and magnificent landscape that we have the privilege of living among. It was a hectic few weeks but also immensely enjoyable, with a huge range of events showcasing what the area has to offer and just why it’s so special. From the amazing launch event, cruising up the river on the Maid of the Forth, to the spectacular surroundings of Culross Palace where we brought the  festival to a close searching for bats amidst the buildings of the historic town.
The festival was a mix of practical hands-on experiences, talks, walks, conferences and training events, which focused on the natural world, history, heritage and culture. There was something for every age group and every ability level, whether you were a budding naturalist out for a bug hunt, a walker or cyclist enjoying your first jaunt around a new area, or a seasoned expert discussing meadow creation or the best way to interpret ancient artefacts.
Of course it’s not a proper festival if you come home clean, so there were also plenty of chances for people to get their hands dirty with RSPB conservation volunteering, scrub bashing at Kinneil Lagoons, a beach clean, and a range of options to try your hand at archaeological research techniques – something 196 volunteers and 280 schoolchildren did during the two week dig at Cambuskenneth Abbey.
Overall, over 1000 people attended the 27 events we included in our promotional leaflet, impressive numbers for a newborn festival!

Boosting the roost at Kinneil Lagoons

Hard at work at Kinneil Lagoons/Allison Leonard

A lot has happened at Kinneil lagoons in the last few weeks. Four patches of Japanese knotweed, including one patch which had approximately 400 stems in it, were eradicated - quite a big job really. We do this because Japanese Knotweed is incredibly invasive and the last thing we want is for it to spread across the site, crowding out our native plants.  The conservation volunteers have also spent a lot of time on site recently helping to fell small trees along the woodland edge and on one of the spits out into the lagoon.  This is to help stop the woodland encroaching onto the wetland and drying it out, and to create a more open environment for the roosting birds. Hopefully it all helps to keep Kinneil a fantastic place for wildlife.
If you would like to help at Kinneil Lagoons or one of our other sites with the Conservation Volunteering around the Forth  Project please get in touch with Allison Leonard on 01324 832853 or email
If you’re interested in more information about the Kinneil Lagoons-Boost the Roost project then contact Yvonne Boles

One year gone – and counting!

As autumn makes itself known, the Inner Forth Nature Counts form on iRecord is celebrating its first full year in existence. Since September 2014, 3,676 records of 598 species have been added to iRecord through the Forth Nature Counts form. The top three species recorded were White clover (Trifolium repens) with 63 records, Ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) with 62 records and Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) with 60 records. The rest of the top ten included a range of invertebrates, birds and flowers.
In the previous year (2013/14) 518 records of 300 species were added to iRecord from this area. This seven-fold increase in records is owed to the fantastic efforts of volunteer recorders, workshop attendees and the two IFLI Wildlife Recording Assistants Paul and Adam. A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed wildlife records so far!
If you like statistics:
  • 79.7% of the records added to iRecord for the Inner Forth area have been via the FNC form (3,676 out of 4,615)
  •  71.2% of the species recorded have been via the FNC form (598 out of 831).
Please do keep using the Inner Forth Nature Counts iRecord form to record the wildlife where you are this autumn and watch out for news in the new year of different species in the area that we would like you to watch out for.

Telling the Inner Forth Story

Telling the Inner Forth Story aims to help interpret the whole Inner Forth landscape

Work is steadily progressing on “Telling the Inner Forth Story”, IFLI’s ambitious landscape-wide interpretation project.  An invitation to tender has been produced and will be issued soon, with a selection process taking place before Christmas and work scheduled to begin in the New Year.
Telling the Inner Forth Story is a far-reaching project that aims to help people reconnect with the very special but sometimes overlooked historic, cultural and natural landscape of the Inner Forth. Working with local people and communities, and using a range of interpretation methods, the project aims to ensure that the Inner Forth landscape is recognised by everyone as an important and intrinsic part of Scotland's natural and historic heritage.
We’ll be looking for highly creative responses to our brief which can help us turn the ideas in our Interpretation plan into artistic, engaging and evocative installations which tell the many stories of the Inner Forth and can be enjoyed by local people and visitors for many years to come. For more information contact Brian Wilkinson, IFLI's Interpretation Officer,

First phase of Tale of Two Estates project now complete

Members of CFSS talk about the project to fascinated visitors to Clackmannan's Heritage Weekend/Paul Barclay/IFLI
Clackmannanshire Field Studies Society’s (CFSS) Tale of Two Estates project is making great progress. The project volunteers have now completed the research and published their report on the development and decline of Clackmannanshire’s colliery waggonways. You can read it here. The first half of the report is being published in the next volume of the Journal of the Forth Naturalist and Historian, due out in November 2015. The second part of the report will be published in their 2016 Journal.
There will be an opportunity to hear a presentation, view the report and talk with volunteers about the Clackmannanshire Colliery Waggonways project in Alloa Town Hall at 7.30pm on Monday 23 November.
Two open evenings have also been arranged in Clackmannan Town Hall to look at the next two years work on the Two Estates project. The first meeting at 7pm on Wednesday 11 November will look at on-going research into the development and decline of Westfield Village and the 17th to 19th century trade of the harbours of Alloa, Clackmannan and Kennetpans. The meeting at 7pm on the 25 November will agree the training and survey work to be undertaken on the Gartmorn and Clackmannan colliery lade systems during the winter and spring of 2015-16. Anyone interested in joining in this work is welcome to come to either or both of these meetings. Further details are available by e-mailing details about the project can be found at

Wetter Moss!

The digger working to make Wester Moss even better for wildlife
David Palmar/

If you visited Butterfly Conservation Scotland’s nature reserve at Wester Moss, near Fallin, recently you will have noticed the surprising sight of a large orange digger in the middle of the bog! It’s not something you expect to see on a nature reserve, but this digger was working very much for the benefit of the wildlife of Wester Moss. The digger has created a 500m bund that sweeps round the southern edge of the Moss in a large arc. The bund will help to stop water from draining away – and it’s water that’s essential to the health of lowland raised bogs like Wester Moss. Butterfly Conservation Scotland hopes that by making the Moss wetter it will encourage more Sphagnum mosses, the building blocks of the bog, to grow, and prevent trees and scrub from invading and shading out this vital ingredient of this rare habitat. This in turn will encourage the wildlife that relies on it to flourish, including rare butterflies and moths like large heath butterfly. Take care if venturing onto the bog - its now even wetter! The work was co-funded by IFLI and Ecoco LIFE (funded by the European Community). You can find out more here and at Butterfly Conservation Scotland's website

Inspiring landscapes

Darren Woodhead painting at Kinneil Lagoons/ Sue Walker/IFLI
Our IFLI Artist-in-Residence Darren Woodhead has been travelling around to capture some of the landscapes and wildlife of the Inner Forth that inspire him. The result has been some beautiful paintings  -  here are a couple of examples. We are also planning a series of watercolour workshops with Darren over the winter at venues around the Inner Forth. More details will be coming soon – keep an eye on our website and Facebook and Twitter feeds.


New discoveries at Cambuskenneth

Children for St Ninian's School help with the dig/ Warren Baillie/Guard Archaeology

Another piece in the jigsaw of Stirling’s fascinating mediaeval history has been unearthed near Cambuskenneth Abbey. A two-week long dig, part of the Festival this September, brought together local volunteers, students, schoolchildren and experts and revealed parts of the mediaeval harbour of Cambuskenneth Abbey -  a site which had a huge influence on the development of Stirling.
The groups used a variety of techniques, including digging and metal detectors, to explore this extremely rare example of a surviving mediaeval harbour. Finds included a coin dating from the reign of King Robert II (1371-1390) and mediaeval pottery, as well as the remnants of the structure of the harbour, its buildings and crossing points.
The Abbey, founded in 1140, played a big part in the development of mediaeval Stirling. During the excavations, which were led by professional archaeologist Warren Bailie, of Guard Archaeology, a large portion of the mediaeval harbour, which consisted of stone steps to allow boats to be unloaded whatever the water level, was uncovered.  The dig revealed the extent of the harbour and uncovered evidence of the structures that once stood along the shores of the Forth.  A metal-detector survey by the Scottish Artefact Recovery Group on the nearby Abbot’s Ford also discovered the 14th century coin, along with a horseshoe fragment and possible evidence of mediaeval fishing.   
GUARD Archaeology was commissioned by the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative (IFLI), and Dr Murray Cook on behalf of Stirling Council, to investigate the mediaeval harbours, piers and fording points around Cambuskenneth Abbey. Local volunteers and school children made a big contribution to the success of the project, with children from St Modan’s, St Ninian’s and Riverside Primary Schools taking part as well as students from the Scottish Agricultural College. In total 196 volunteers, 280 school children and 24 college students joined in, alongside experts from GUARD Archaeology, Archaeology Scotland, Scottish Artefact Recovery Group, Stirling Council and Stirling University.  

What’s on!

Full details of all our events, and some organised by friends and partners, for the coming months can be found on the IFLI website Events Calendar. Here is a taste of what's coming up in the next few weeks...

Tues 27 October, 10.30 - 12.30pm
Walk Forward healthy walk to Bothkennar Pools
Starting at Falkirk Stadium Car Park
Details here.
Wed 28 October, 10.30am - 8pm
Memories of Mining Exhibition
High Valleyfield Community Centre
More details here.
Thurs 29 October, 10am - 1pm
Bridgeness Biodiversity Day
More details here.

Sat 7 November, 10am
Migrant Wiader and Wildfowl Workshop FULLY BOOKED -waiting list only
Skinflats Nature Reserve, nr Grangemouth

More details here.

Sun 8 November, 10am - 3pm
Bog Action day
Wester Moss, Fallin

More details here.

Sat 14 November
Forth Naturalist and Historian Conference
Stirling University

More details here.

Thurs 19 November, 10am - 3pm
Bridgeness Biodiversity Day

More details here.

Thurs 3 December, 7 - 8.30pm
Archaeologists and Aerial Photographs
Smith Art Gallery, Stirling

More details here.
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