Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the team at the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership
"Ho ho ho!"
- Donna Marshall, Programme Manager, Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership
I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year from the team at the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership. 2016 has been a VERY eventful and busy year for all our Partners, the team here at David Dale’s House and our many volunteers and supporters involved in local projects. There has been a huge amount of hard work put in by all involved to realise some great outcomes in the local area and 2017 promises to be even more exciting with new schools projects, exciting training courses, new volunteering opportunities, more access projects and much more.
I am really proud of everything the Partnership has achieved to date. When we talk about Partnership, we mean every single person who has been involved in the projects; volunteers, communities, local, regional and national organisations working together to make a real difference to landscapes and communities for the long term. Volunteers are at the heart of everything we do. Volunteers across our many projects have built walls, planted trees, cleared paths, researched local place name history, collected oral history accounts from fruit growers in the Valley, interpreted the local landscape through art projects, distributed leaflets and documentation to promote the local area, picked apples, pressed juice, built tree enclosures, litter picked, erected signs, helped at events, supported play and education projects …. etc. We could not have achieved what we have delivered in 2016 without our volunteers.
Looking back on 2016, I could pick many highlights from what has been achieved but to name just a few:
- The future of the nationally important and ancient landscape at Chatelherault Country Park has been saved for future generations by the removal of 18 hectares of commercial plantation conifers in the first step of a natural woodland regeneration project
- Salmon will soon be spotted in the upper reaches of the Avon Water, South Lanarkshire, following completion of a major engineering project to create natural rock fish passes on the sites of Millheugh and Ferniegair near Larkhall and Hamilton
- Five key walking trails linking communities with the Clyde Valley have been upgraded and improved. The Clyde Walkway Community Links project has improved paths linking the communities of Rosebank, Ashgill, Dalserf, Larkhall, Law, Crossford, Nemphlar and Braidwood with the Clyde Walkway.
- Lanarkshire’s first Natural Play Conference was held with capacity audience of 103 attendees from a wide range of backgrounds including; parents and carers, teachers, early year’s practitioners, youth workers, Countryside Rangers, community groups, arts organisations and people who deliver outdoor play as their job.
- Over 1,000 new fruit trees have been planted in the Valley and a new community orchard established at Kirkfieldbank helping to preserve the fruit growing heritage of the Valley
- Attendance reached 650 at Growing up Wild natural play sessions. These are designed to give families ideas and confidence to access the outdoors with their children and gain a better connection with their local landscape
- From restoring local woodlands and historic graveyards, to learning how to turn your smartphone into a media-making machine – we have offered a wide range of volunteering opportunities to those wanting to learn a new skill, keep fit, develop capacity for their own local group or to meet new people
- Local people took part in experimental archaeology to build a medieval kiln culminating in a dramatic Fire Night at Chatelherault in October. Volunteers were involved in the construction of the kiln, preparation of the medieval tiles, and gained an insider’s experience into a widespread industry of the Middle Ages.
- 350 entries were received over the year for the Clyde and Avon valley photography competition helping to showcase the beauty of the local area
- A huge of amount of local, national and, even, international publicity has been achieved highlighting the Clyde and Avon Valleys as a destination and a fabulous place for people to live
2016 has provided an opportunity for communities to work together with key heritage sites providing a focus for physical and conservation activity. We have seen the delivery of a large number of physical projects and new ways of working being established between local groups, established public bodies and non-government organisations. Local communities and groups have come together to share expertise and we have supported with training. Projects have involved people of all abilities while developing a strong local volunteering base.
Thank you so much to everyone for their support and time during 2016 and we look forward to seeing what 2017 bring for the local area!
Best wishes for the festive season and here's to 2017!
Photo credits: Neil Scott - "Old Railway Line" and Stuart Stevenson - "Winter Braidwood"