City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Hermitage Demonstration Garden Will Be Hands On

By edg - Posted on 24 February 2012

Hermitage Wildlife Garden Ground Breaking Ceremony

Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill Nature Reserve is already a popular beauty spot with a variety of striking landscapes: mature broadleaved woodland, a wildflower meadow, a wetland spot, a good-sized pond, a disused quarry, and a river, the Braid Burn, that flows through the reserve.

The site also includes historical curiosities such as the old Toll House at the Braid Road entrance and an Ice House used by the former residents of the estate. The baronial building at the centre of the reserve, Heritage House, is used as the Visitor Centre.

Edinburgh Council's Countryside Ranger Service will now be building on these attractions having won an award of £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to create a new community wildlife garden in the reserve.

The Ground Breaking Ceremony took place yesterday on the new project that is designed with public participation in mind. Working with the Friends of the Hermitage of Braid, the Countryside Ranger Service will be landscaping a wildlife garden within the late 17th century walled garden that slopes south from the restored “Doocot”.The interpretation/model garden will be designed with native habitats for bumblebees, moths and butterflies.

Volunteers of all abilities will be encouraged to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty with the garden's maintenance, including with the planting of thousands of native wildflower plugs to encourage wildlife. An area of the garden will include raised beds to accommodate people with physical disabilities.

Some of the traditional rustic skills that people will be able to learn are wattle weaving, dry-stone dyking, and using lime mortar to repoint historical walls.

Writing, wood sculpturing, and creative  workshops will give participants the opportunity to create original objets d'art for the garden.

The Countryside Ranger Service will also offer wildlife identification trainings to help record insects such as bumblebees and butterflies which will benefit greatly from the creation of this garden.

The Countryside Ranger Service, which is responsible for conservation in Edinburgh's 11 Natural Heritage parks, has just become the first ranger service in Scotland to be awarded the Investing In Volunteers award (IIV).

Jessica Morgado, Countryside Ranger in charge of the volunteer service said: “Volunteering has always been associated with our profession and this UK quality standard award now demonstrates that we provide a quality volunteer service to those who wish to join us.”