October 1, 2010

Pentland Hills Woodland Strategy

Locations:
City of Edinburgh, Midlothian, West Lothian
Types:
Integrated Habitat Network, Landscape Action, Woodland Creation
Funds:
CSGN Development Fund
Contacts:
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Lead Partners:
Lothians & Fife Green Network Partnership
Partners:
Pentland Hills Regional Park Authority, Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust (ELGT), Central Scotland Forest Trust (CSFT), Midlothian Council, City of Edinburgh Council, West Lothian Council, City of Edinburgh Council, Services for Communities

Context

The Pentland Hills Regional Park covers 10,000ha of land and straddles the local authority boundaries of West Lothian, City of Edinburgh and Midlothian. Its varied landscape, biodiversity and cultural heritage contribute significantly to the local environment. To realise the full ecological potential of the Pentland Hills, the three local authorities have sought to protect, maintain and enhance the present range of species and habitats against a backdrop of human activities and climate change.

Project background

In 2007 LFGNP published the Pentland Hills Woodland Action Plan. This Plan highlighted opportunities for enhanced linkage between the woodlands within the Pentland Hills Regional Park and surrounding forest habitat networks. It also set the scene for the development of a strategic, targeted and action based approach to woodland management in and around the Pentland Hills Regional Park.

LFGNP carried forward the recommendations made in the Action Plan and, in 2010, commenced work on the Pentland Hills Woodland Strategy. This project set out to identify opportunities for woodland expansion and creation whilst providing social and recreational benefits for local people and visitors.

How the project was delivered

The aim of this project was to carry out scoping, consultation and development work for woodland expansion and management within 5 core areas previously identified in the Pentland Hills Woodland Action Plan. Outputs were achieved by taking a phased approach involving:

  • Analysis of the existing woodland resource in terms of current condition and management
  • Site assessment of each of the 5 priority areas
  • Analysis of the potential constraints in each of the 5 priority areas
  • Consultation with landowners and stakeholder groups to determine feasibilities
  • Identification of Delivery Mechanisms

The resultant Pentland Hills Woodland Strategy identified the north east slopes of the Regional Park as an area with multiple opportunities for woodland expansion and management. LFGNP carried forward the recommendations made in the Woodland Strategy and, in 2011, it secured further CSGN funding to develop a landscape management plan for the north east slopes of the Pentland Hills.

A detailed and discreet assessment was conducted of four individual estates in the north east slopes area. Draft proposals were prepared which considered opportunities for woodland expansion and management, habitat creation, access provision, and agri-environment schemes. These proposals were then put to public consultation and a final landscape management plan was prepared, taking into consideration the views of landowners and local stakeholders. The result was a comprehensive Landscape Management Plan which confirmed proposals, provided outline specifications and budgets, and examined means of implementation.

Project outcomes

This project sought to enhance the wider landscape quality of the area whilst providing social and recreational benefits for local people. It also enabled the development of a strategic and targeted approach to woodland creation and management whilst encouraging links between the Pentland Hills Regional Park and surrounding forest habitat networks.

CSGN Support and Learning

Funded by the CSGN Development Fund the, Pentland Hills Landscape Management Plan provided an opportunity for the detailed development work to take place and has paved the way for practical implementation.

This project works across traditional local authority boundaries. It encourages the conservation and enhancement of the natural and cultural heritage of the Pentland Hills and, in doing so it supports the CSGN themes of woodland creation, integrated habitat networks and landscape action.

Future development of project

Following the publication of the Landscape Management Plan, LFGNP and its project partners have encouraged the implementation of the proposals and have actively supported landowners by preparing funding applications.

Funding Details:

Year Fund Value
2011 CSGN Development Fund 25,530
2010 CSGN Development Fund 38,746