SUPs President, Barbara
Kelly, has been recognised in the Queen's birthday honours. Barbara
has been made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire
(DBE) for her public service in Scotland.
Dame Barbara is known for her huge energy and commitment
to Scotland, and the Southern Uplands in particular, and she fits
a huge amount in to her very busy life. In addition to being a partner
in a farming enterprise in Dumfriesshire she is, amongst other things,
Convenor of the Millenium Forest of Scotland Trust, Convenor of
the Crichton Foundation and Chair of Dumfries & Galloway Arts
Festival. Barbara was the moving force behind the establishment
of the Southern Uplands Partnership and we are all delighted that
the work she does has been recognized in this way.
from across the border - Cheviot Hills Heritage Project, Transboundary
Park and Cheviot Challenge Riding Routes
In recent years,
Northumberland National Park Authority (NNPA), in partnership with
Scottish Borders Council and Berwick-upon-Tweed Borough Council,
have been progressing an initiative that aims to establish a cross-border
management framework to oversee coordination and cooperation of
issues of mutual interest in the Cheviot Hills. As far back as 1991
the former Countryside Commissions for England and Scotland, together
with Borders Regional Council and Northumberland County Council,
agreed that a joint management framework was needed for the Cheviots
as, in landscape terms, they are one unit requiring management as
a whole. On the English side, the hills are an internationally recognised
protected landscape but on the Scottish side merely an Area of Great
Landscape Value with no special protection or resources.
To progress the
initiative NNPA employed an officer, Iain Hedley, to scope the potential
for cooperation, which included extensive consultations, public
meetings in Wooler and Town Yeholm, and an independently facilitated
meeting at Cornhill-on-Tweed. A Steering Group has been established,
comprising councillors from either side of the border, local authority
officers and representatives of Southern Uplands Partnership (SUP),
Scottish Natural Heritage and Natural England.
The next step
will be to commission more detailed work that will provide the basis
for a major long term initiative that will attract substantial external
funding. It is hoped that this initiative will be rewarded with
a Europarc Federation Transboundary Park…Following Nature’s
Design award which recognises cooperation across administrative
boundaries which deliver sympathetic management of protected landscapes.
In the meantime,
a two year project that will encourage local people to take part
in identifying and mapping the heritage assets of the hills, has
gained financial support from the individual partners and from the
Heritage Lottery Fund. It is hoped that a Heritage Atlas of the
Cheviots, linking sites with access, will be produced that will
promote local heritage from a local perspective. In support of this
work, SUP with support from SNH, recently commissioned an Access
Audit of the Scottish side of the hills.
Cheviot Challenge Riding Routes (CCRR) project was initiated by
the British Horse Society (BHS) representative for Northumberland,
Mrs Susan Rogers. Northumberland National Park Authority were initially
approached for assistance with improvements to the route infrastructure
but this partnership has expanded to include not only route improvements
but also help with route surveys, the costs of a study trip to Ireland,
and promotional materials.
The project has
identified routes which can be promoted to riders wishing to bring
their own horses for a riding holiday to explore sustainable, mapped,
self-guided routes. The CCRRs link the principle valleys of the
north Northumberland National Park – the Coquet, Breamish,
Harthope, College, and the Bowmont Valley in Scotland with ‘there
and back’ routes between identified accommodation providers
who have facilities for both horse and rider, and experience of
catering for riders ‘on the trail’. There are also circular
routes where possible, allowing for variations in the riding time
each day, and for rest days to be planned, using the same accommodation
for a few days at a time.
has been undertaken to ensure that these routes are as easy to use
and sustainable as possible, with maps and route description prepared
for each rider in advance of their visit.
At present these documents are in a relatively basic format, but
we are hoping to develop them into PDF documents for download.
in its early days, there has been an encouraging level of interest
in the CCRRs, with a number of people having visited to ride them
last year, and a number more already booked for this year. Due to
the challenging nature of these routes, much of the interest has
been from endurance riders and the hunting community.
4th July 2007
West Scotland Biosphere – input to the consultation now.
Did you know
that part of south west Scotland has been recognised as a globally
important habitat by UNESCO since the 1970’s? It is a close
kept secret that the National Nature Reserves of Cairnsmore of Fleet
and Silver Flowe along with the Merrick Kells are currently designated
as a Biosphere Reserve in recognition of their international conservation
importance. This is the habitat equivalent of World Heritage Site.
It is one of only 482 such areas throughout the world.
of Dumfries and Galloway, South Ayrshire and East Ayrshire, together
with Scottish Natural Heritage and Forestry Commission Scotland
are keen to canvas views on the future of the Biosphere in South
West Scotland. The southern Uplands Partnership and East Ayrshire
Woodlands have been asked to collect views on the future of the
Galloway-Ayrshire Biosphere and they are now inviting people to
find out more. Presentations and information will be available at
meetings and events throughout the area over the next 6 weeks.
Every 10 years
biosphere designation is reviewed. Under the Man and the Biosphere
(MAB) programme, biosphere criteria were broadened to recognise
that the long-term conservation of natural places, including such
iconic landscapes as Yellowstone National Park, Mount Kenya and
Uluru, requires a change in the way that we use the environment.
UNESCO is looking to see communities, businesses and agencies working
together to explore how local people can benefit from protecting
the things that we value such as traditional skills, crafts, knowledge
and culture as well as landscape and tranquillity. The aim is to
keep people living and working in rural areas and nurture the local
economy at the same time as protecting its biodiversity.
To maintain the
south west’s status as a ‘special place for people and
nature’ requires a much larger area to be designated. It must
include the towns and villages around the conservation area and
must be supported by these communities. The biosphere area might
encompass Dalmellington, Maybole, Girvan, Newton Stewart, Gatehouse
and New Galloway but no fixed boundary has been proposed. Application
to UNESCO is entirely voluntary and the process will only be taken
forward if people and organisations indicate that they see potential
benefit from it.
In some parts
of the world Biosphere status is being used to promote and market
the area and its produce, encourage development of tourism opportunities
and co-operation between traditional craft workers.
information is available through widely distributed leaflets and
on the internet at www.sup.org.uk/biosphere.
The partners are appealing for as many people and organisations
as possible to send in response forms. Interested groups or individuals
are also encouraged to contact Andrew Ward (Dumfries & Galloway)
on 01671 820654 or Mark Davies (Ayrshire) on 01290 426973.
the Cervenne to Creetown
Steven Lecyer, SUPs French placement student reports on live in
the Cervennes Biosphere Reserve ….
SUP is pleased
to welcome Steven Lecuyer from the Cervennes Biosphere to Scotland
for a nine week work placement based in Creetown with Andrew Ward
of Creetown Initiative. Steven is visiting a number of rural development
projects and inputting to the Biosphere consultation which Andrew
is organising in Galloway.
the Cévennes Biosphere Reserve stretches over a vast territory
(more than 300,000 hectares and 153 communities) and has a general
overall policy, the actions of the biosphere reserve are carried
out on a smaller scale, in each of the different small valleys of
the area. The inhabitants participate in the setting up of projects
for their valley, by taking part in public meetings which take place
in each valley. Then they carry out concrete actions which are in
harmony with the natural surroundings. The protection and improvement
of the natural and cultural heritage is thus not only the work of
specialists, but everyone is, or can be, involved locally.
in the Galeizon Valley, in the south of the Cévennes and
I’m going to describe the actions which take place there,
which are representative of what happens throughout the Biosphere
Galeizon Valley, the local communities (there are five villages
in the valley) have, for several years, been involved in various
actions concerning the management of the river; control of floods,
educating the public about litter on the banks of the river, protection
of the natural habitat. A river technician was recruited a few years
ago. He works with the population and carries out actions with the
primary schools. Recently for example, we had an environment day,
where we worked together to pull out some invasive plants (Japanese
knot weed, and ambrosia). These plants are dangerous for health
(ambrosia can cause allergies) and bad for the river. They take
over the natural habitat, which is willow and alder, which are the
main diet of the beavers.
Natura 2000, scientists have recently carried out an inventory of
the flora and fauna of the valley. There are four families of beavers
living in the river and also an otter. There are also fresh water
shrimps. The local population is now aware of the rich biodiversity
of the river and wants to help to protect it.
is a project going on at the moment in which 14 unemployed people
have been hired by the inter- council community for the upkeep of
the forest. From the wood extracted, they make wood chips to sell
locally for heating. It’s a successful project and creates
employment and helps look after the forest.
also tried to protect the agricultural activity still present. Luckily,
in my village, we still have a shepherd who has 450 sheep. In the
summer he takes the sheep up to the Mont Lozère (1600 metres),
where it remains cooler and there are green pastures for the sheep.
My parents sometimes accompany him on the transhumance. When he
is in the valley, he needs pasture land for his sheep and the local
council has helped him to reach agreement with land owners for this.
He helps to maintain the banks of the river and areas where there
are fire risks.
are also several herds of goats in the valley and the farmers make
goat’s cheese which is called ‘pélardon des Cévennes’.
They also see to the upkeep of the chestnut groves, which are symbolic
of the Cévennes, making chestnut jam and flour to sell at
the local markets.
realises the importance of maintaining agricultural activity in
the area and in the recently updated planning documents the agricultural
land has been safeguarded from housing.
valley there is also a heritage centre which presents the natural
and cultural heritage, a bit like in Creetown. In particular, it
presents the prehistoric engraved tombstones and rocks, the silk
industry, which flourished in the 18th century and the mining industry
which was important in the 19th and 20th centuries.
also trying to maintain the public services (post office, primary
schools etc) in the valley and encourage new families with children
to come and live here.
moment there is concertation in the valley to develop Agenda 21,
the action plan of sustainable development for the 21st century.
There have been several meetings with the public to develop a new
programme of actions for the next ten years.
in a biosphere reserve is very stimulating because we try, on a
local level, to carry out sustainable development with concrete
actions. We try locally to link our goals and actions to the global
needs of the planet.
that the region of Dumfries and Galloway is also very interesting.
The landscapes are very varied and beautiful. You are lucky to have
the hills and the sea together and not too much concrete around.
the problems are similar to the Cévennes: the need to maintain
village life, to create jobs so that young people can stay here.
Finding a way of ensuring sustainable development of the region
from the natural richness, local culture and beautiful landscapes
is quite a challenge. I am very happy to take part in this movement
by carrying out my work placement here.
format for Communities on the Edge report
on the Edge (COTE) has produced a 6 month DVD Report. The footage
lasts about 15 minutes and gives a good overall picture of COTE
as well as outlining some of the projects which have spun off to
date. A limited number of copies are available, if you would like
to have one please contact John Gold at Communities on the Edge,
Douglas and Angus Estates Office, Newmains Home Farm, Douglas.
The first case
of Squirrelpox virus has been confirmed in a red squirrel near Lockerbie
in Dumfries and Galloway. Squirrelpox virus is a disease carried
by grey squirrels which causes them no ill effects. However, if
a red squirrel contracts the virus it will die within 2 weeks.
than 60% of grey squirrels in England and Wales are carrying antibodies
(they are known to be ‘seropositive’). The first seropositive
grey squirrel in Scotland was recorded in the Scottish Borders,
in May 2005, confirming the movement of grey squirrels north from
years later, 90 seropositive grey squirrels have been controlled
in south Scotland, 62 of those in Dumfries and Galloway and 28 in
the Scottish Borders.
are known to be migrating steadily north across the border into
Scotland along identified routes. In Dumfries and Galloway, they
are travelling along the Esk valley through Langholm and possibly
along the River Annan and Water of Milk towards Lockerbie. In the
Scottish Borders they are travelling along the Liddel valley through
Newcastleton and around the edges of Craik forest. As yet, little
is known about grey squirrel incursion into the southeast of the
Borders and along the River Tweed. Members of the public, land owners
and land workers throughout south Scotland are being asked to report
both red and grey squirrel sightings. The Red Squirrels in South
Scotland project operates a trap loan scheme for anyone wishing
to assist with grey squirrel control.
in the Lockerbie area are being asked not to feed red squirrels
as this will draw the 2 species of squirrel together and may facilitate
the spread of the disease. Any sick or dead red squirrels should
be reported to the red Squirrel Officer for your region
were first introduced to England in 1876 when they were released
into the grounds of large estates as an exotic curiosity. 1892 saw
the introduction of grey squirrels into the Central Belt of Scotland
with releases in Edinburgh and Glasgow. They soon spread throughout
to the arrival of grey squirrels, the red squirrel was widespread
across the UK, now it can mainly be found in Scotland and north
England. Scotland is home to around 75% of the surviving UK population.
Squirrelpox virus was first confirmed in East Anglia in the early
1980s and has moved steadily northwards with the spread of grey
squirrels. The mode of transmission of the virus is currently being
researched by the Moredun International Research Institute and the
Royal (Dick) Vet School, University of Edinburgh. The virus is the
main cause of decline in red squirrel numbers although competition
for habitat and food resources is also a major factor.
information or to report sightings in Dumfries and Galloway please
Ann-Marie MacMaster, Red Squirrel Conservation Officer for Dumfries
and Galloway at:
Red Squirrels in South Scotland, Carlow House, Locharbriggs, Dumfries,
Telephone 01387 711804
or mobile 07733 121837.
or to report sightings in the Scottish Borders please contact
Richard Wales, Red Squirrel Conservation Officer for the Scottish
Red Squirrels in South Scotland, Studio 2, Lindean Mill, Selkirk.
Telephone 01750 23446
or mobile 07733 121838
counts reveal more lekking males
The Black Grouse
– Biodiversity on the Edge project is progressing well with
management plans being completed for 13 key landholdings and habitat
improvement work being carried out in key locations. This has included
heather burning and fence marking funded by SNN and Leader+ for
which the project is very grateful.
The 2007 spring
counts of black grouse on lek sites (the birds’ displaying
arenas) conducted by project officer Thomas Adamson have been competed
and reveal an overall increase of lekking males over last year of
of predator control is apparent from the following observations.
Back in 2006, 55% of the black grouse counted were on keepered ground,
the remaining 45% being counted on un-keepered ground. The numbers
on keepered ground increased to 68% in 2007 with the remaining 32
% on un-keepered ground. Between 2006 and 2007 keepered landholdings
had a promising increase in male birds of 40%. Sadly un-keepered
landholdings suffered a decrease of 18%.
The project will
continue to promote habitat management and legal predator control
and await the opening of the new agricultural schemes in the hope
that these will allow appropriate prescriptions to be implemented
to benefit black grouse into the future.
Black Grouse Conservation Officer
Southern Uplands Partnership
Office: 01750 725157
Energy Comes to Gatehouse of Fleet
of Gatehouse of Fleet has joined the renewable energy revolution
and will soon be enjoying the benefits of wind power. After four
years of hard work by members of the Gatehouse Development Initiative,
Barbara Kelly officially opened their new wind turbine. Sited at
the nearby Cream o’ Galloway Visitor Centre, the electricity
generated will be bought by Cream o’ Galloway and used for
the manufacture of ice cream. This will give the community group
a stable long-term income to use on a variety of projects, all of
which will enhance the area for the benefit of the locals and the
wider community in the longer term.
Chairman of the Gatehouse Development Initiative (GDI), said after
the opening ceremony: “The Gatehouse Development Initiative
looks for innovative ways to help improve the quality of life and
the environment in and around Gatehouse. This scheme will do both.
Over the next 30 years the turbine will give the GDI much needed
funds to provide leverage in attracting other grants for our projects
on a long-term basis, and so the benefit to our community will be
far more than just the value of the electricity generated. I’m
sure that in future years projects like this will become more commonplace,
but for now we’re delighted to be one of the first pioneering
this innovative partnership approach to renewables development.”
made by Atlantic Orient Canada, stands 25 metres high and will generate
50kW in a 27mph wind, and was chosen to match the particular needs
of the site. .
of Cream o’ Galloway, said “The turbine is the perfect
size to suit the energy needs of the factory while minimising impact
on the outstanding local environment, which is of course central
to everything we do at Cream o’ Galloway. “We’re
delighted to work in partnership with GDI on this exciting project,
which reduces our carbon footprint and, through the funds generated,
will provide an asset base to enable a range of community projects
to attract match funding. We’ve already had many positive
comments about the turbine from our visitors at Cream o’ Galloway,
so we’re confident it will have the added benefit of enhancing
the experience our visitors have by letting people get up close
to a turbine and learn about why renewable energy is so important.”
has been made possible by funding from the Scottish Executive’s
Scottish Community & Householder Renewables Initiative (SCHRI)
and Leader+ Dumfries & Galloway.
Local SCHRI development
officer, Joe Fergusson, said: “This project is particularly
interesting because of its structure. Rather than simply saving
the community group’s energy costs, as is typically the case,
it will provide income for other purposes. We hope the turbine should
produce around 65,000kWh each year, worth around £7,000 after
maintenance costs, and reduce Carbon Dioxide emissions by about
840 tonnes over its 30 year design life. Also, this is the first
turbine of this size to be funded by the SCHRI so its performance,
to be carefully monitored by Cream o’ Galloway, will be of
great interest to other community groups.”
after declaring the turbine active, said: “Having been here
for the opening of the Visitor Centre many years ago it gives me
great pleasure to see its continuing development. This partnership
with the local community is an excellent example to other rural
businesses and one which Leader+ was pleased to support.”
is being part-financed by the European Community Dumfries &
Galloway 2000-2006 LEADER+ Programme and the Scottish Community
& Householder Renewables Initiative
for Experts from Carbon Neutral Biggar
It has been suggested
that it would be really helpful for the Carbon Neutral Biggar project
to establish a data base of expertise.
John Riley says “We have been astonished and delighted at
the number of experts who have come forward to offer help and advice
but we have not yet listed them all for future reference.”
If you are happy
for Biggar Carbon Neutral to contact you for help occasionally,
please email John with your contact details and just two lines which
explain your product or area of expertise / assistance.
Please note, the list will not be made freely available, it will
only be used by people within the working groups, which at present
is only about 15 people.
17 Moss Side Crescent
Tel: 01899 229429
on course to open in September
of The Old School, New Galloway is nearly complete. The building
– to be called The CatStrand after the small stream that runs
underneath it – is on course to open in September 2007. The
project is running both to time and to budget.
This major community
regeneration project has attracted a wide range of partnership funding
to achieve its £1m capital budget, with nearly 20% having
come from the private sector. A further application has been made
to the Big Lottery Fund for 5-year revenue funding from September.
once completed, will promote activities that help to address some
of the challenges posed by 21st Century life including access to
technology, health and wellbeing, life-long learning and the environment,
through workshops, classes, exhibition, film and performance. It
will also offer neutral space to hire for meetings, training sessions
have already been established with Castle Douglas IT Centre, the
RSAMD, Dalry and Castle Douglas Schools of Ambition and the NHS.
Further partnerships with other regional and national organisations
are planned and a close working relationship with the Glenkens Business
Association is in place.
GCAT has been
nominated and short-listed for a number of Awards in 2007 by Leader
+ and Arts and Business.
more information on GCAT visit www.glenkens-arts.com
The GCAT office
has provided a base for SUP Project Officer Flora McDowall for the
past four years, it has been a great place to work and sharing an
office with the GCAT team will be missed! We look forward to reporting
on the opening of the CatStrand and the exciting events planned
for this new centre in the Glenkens.