20th Anniversary of Craigmillar Millennium Woods
Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust (ELGT) enlisted the help of local school children to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Millennium Woodlands at Craigmillar Castle Park on Wednesday 29th March. 3 new trees were planted around the adventure playground off Old Dalkeith Road.
In 1996 the City of Edinburgh Council, in partnership with Craigmillar Initiative, succeeded in developing one of the first projects to be funded by the Millennium Commission as part of the Millennium Forest for Scotland Project. A key objective of the new planting was to increase the amount of the local woodland resource which provides ecological and environmental benefits. The aim was to turn areas of green desert into an enhanced local amenity with a diverse habitat which improves the recreation and educational resources in the area as well as reducing pollution. It was designed to promote active citizenship and civic pride, to engender a sense of ownership and responsibility towards the new woodlands. The Craigmillar Urban Forest project involved planting 39,650 new trees in the Craigmillar Castle Park, over a 3 day period with the help of 2,332 volunteers.
3 new mature trees were planted to help mark the occasion which had been chosen by local children. ELGT engaged the local primary schools in choosing the trees by running workshops in the local schools. Children were able to see tree saplings and images of what they will look like fully grown. The schools were then given an opportunity to vote on which types of trees they would like to see planted.
The activity is part of a wider programme which has been funded by Forestry Commission Scotland and Parc Craigmillar to encourage the local community to get involved with Craigmillar Castle Park. ELGT has been running a programme of events and activities which include woodland management, nature walks, workshops, tree identification and community clean ups. This has enabled the local community to learn new skills, get involved in volunteering activities and develop active lifestyle skills. Some of the highlights have included planting over 500 bulbs with Niddrie Mill Primary school.
Charlie Cumming, Edinburgh & Lothian’s Greenspace Trust, Chief Executive, said: “I am delighted to help celebrate the millennium woodland project with some of the people who helped plant the trees 20 years ago. The woodlands have enhanced and become part of the local landscape over the last 20 years and their use by the local community and visitors will hopefully continue to increase over the coming years. It is great to see the local community using and learning about the local woodlands through our Craigmillar Woodland Engagement project“
Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the legacy of this scheme, which is evident in the healthy woodland to have grown up here over the last 20 years. By involving local children to contribute to this, Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust are bringing the environmental, educational and social benefits of this community project to a new generation.”
David Jamieson, Parks and Greenspace Manager, said: “The Edinburgh Plantathon was an incredible weekend for Edinburgh. Thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds turned up in high spirits to do their bit for their local environment. Two decades later we have a wonderful woodland for the people of Craigmillar and a great home for the city’s wildlife. The Plantathon catalysed the planting of many other woodlands across the city, and no doubt inspired many people onto further environmental and community activity”.