NEW Snowdrop Spectacular 2020
West Fife Woodlands, a Scottish Registered Charity Group, is encouraging people to get involved in the annual Scottish Snowdrop Festival at Valleyfield Woodland Park which start the weekend of 1st February.
The group which is celebrating its 14th anniversary participating in the VisitScotland’s Scottish Snowdrop Festival will be offering guided walks by experienced guides every Saturday and Sunday until 8th March.
The walks depart from Shiresmill car park at 2pm, last about an hour, and take you through a carefully chosen trail of naturalised snowdrop displays and remnants of Scotland’s only designed landscape by the 19th century landscape gardener Humphry Repton.
Refreshments are available after the walk in the Shiresmill Therapy Riding Centre.
All events are free, however, donations are welcome and will be shared equally to support the West Fife Woodlands group and the Therapy Riding Centre.
Parish Church news
Culross and Torryburn Church of Scotland Parish serves the villages of Culross, High and Low Valleyfield, Newmills, Torryburn, Shiresmill and Blairhall.
Services on Sunday 19th January will be led by Rev. Liz Fisk and held in High Valleyfield at 9.45am followed by refreshments, and in Culross Abbey at 11am.
Tuesday Coffee mornings are held in High Valleyfield Church between 10 and 12 – all welcome to go in for refreshment and a blether.
The Kids Club meets each Thursday at the new time 4.30 – 6pm. Enquiries to Rae Hunter (881574).
Torryburn & District History Group meetings
New session begins this Thursday, 7.30pm in Torryburn Community Centre.
Annual Membership fees of £10will be collected then or any visitors £2 per night.
Hall open from 7pm for registration and fees.
Speaker begins at 7.30pm
Oct. 3. On the buses....... Geoff Bailey
Oct. 17. Battle of Stirling Bridge......Craig Mair
Oct. 31 Stirling & the Castle...... .Ian Scott
Nov. 14. Scottish Canals...... Chris O'Connell
Nov. 28. Mystery of Marie Celeste......Eddie Taylor
Dec. 12. Lillias Adie....... Douglas Spiers
Bus routes changes proposed
Stagecoach are proposing the following service changes.
Scott Hall, Commercial Manager, said: “After reviewing our network of services across Fife, Perth & Kinross, Dundee & Angus, we are proposing service changes to our Express City Connect network, as well as some local services from Monday 29 July 2019.
“Before confirming these revisions in late June, we are consulting local Councils, along with our current customers and staff for feedback on our proposals from Monday 20 May – Friday 7 June 2019.
“You can view the full list of proposals below, as well as leave feedback that will be considered in our consultation, via the online form at the bottom of this page.
“We’ll also be holding some information events at our Park & Ride sites and travel shops throughout Fife. The times and dates for these events will be confirmed shortly.”
Limekilns beach reopened
The beach at Limekilns that was closed to the public last month because of contamination caused by an oil spill is now open again as from Saturday, 23th March.
Since the spill a specialist company has been cleaning the beach, which has resulted in 600 tonnes of polluted seaweed sand being removed for disposal.
SEPA and other agencies have so far been unable to identify the source of the spillage and SEPA’s investigation is now closed unless further information comes to light. This means that in all likelihood Fife Council will have to pick up the estimated £600,000 clean-up bill.
Discovery of a stone feature from the front of former Valleyfield House
Machine movements during the recent woodland management operations in Valleyfield Woodland Park dislodged an interesting stone fragment that had lain hidden since Valleyfield House was demolished in 1941.
Photographs of the fragment were sent to Fife Council’s archaeologists for comment and hopefully an explanation as to exactly what it was.
Valleyfield veteran oak felled
A once fine oak of probably more than 300 years standing at the southern edge of Valleyfield Wood has recently been felled for safety reasons. This magnificent tree had repeatedly been damaged over recent years by vandals lighting fires at its base.
A recent inspection of the tree as part of Woods In and Around Town (WIAT) funded management of the woodland identified that the tree was no longer structurally sound. This is very clear from the attached photograph of the felled tree.
Valleyfield Woodland Park a venue for Snowdrop Festival
Valleyfield Woodland Park is a participating venue in the Visit Scotland annual Snowdrop Festival.
For further information on this national event and other venues, visit www.visitscotland.com/snowdrop
For further information on the Snowdrop Festival at Valleyfield visit www.westfifevillages.co.uk or telephone Visit Scotland 01334 472 021.
Whilst no charge is made for the Guided Snowdrop Walks, donations will be very much appreciated to offset some of the administration costs.
Valleyfield Woodland Park to
get a facelift
Thanks to Wood In and Around Town funding from Forestry Commission Scotland the wood will shortly benefit from sustainable forest management. This will include the felling of trees that are diseased or otherwise judged unsafe plus there will be some tree planting to ensure continuity of the woodland.
The work will be carried out sensitively bearing in mind the wood’s heritage as a former designed landscape conceived by Humphry Repton, the acclaimed landscape designer, for the then owner Sir Robert Preston in around 1801.
Historic Limekilns at Charlestown
The limekilns have been repaired and consolidated by Historic Environment Scotland over the last few years, an Inner Forth Landscape Initiative supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. This work is finally complete and the limekilns can now be enjoyed and explored in safety by the public.
At their height the limekilns were the largest such complex in Scotland and producing over a third of the country’s lime. This would have been used for agriculture, various industrial processes and for building (lime mortar).
West Fife Way officially opened
The West Fife Way - one of the largest path networks in Fife - has been officially opened.
For the past 11 years, West Fife Woodlands Group have been putting in new paths from Newmills up through Valleyfield Woods on to Blairhall bings, connecting to the Dunfermline to Clackmannin cycle path.
In turn, they have linked up the paths from Blairhall bings through to Balgownie Woods then on to Devilla Forrest.
Helping to tackle global warming
West Fife Woodlands has planted trees donated by the Rotary Club of Dunfermline Carnegie, trees having the ability to absorb harmful carbon dioxide.
The location was a shelter belt of trees at the western edge of Blairhall Mains Farm. This was selected following Audrey and John Stirling, owners of the farm, having kindly allowed the group to construct a community path through the shelter belt.
A Repton celebration
This year is the bicentenary of the death of Humphry Repton, the acclaimed landscape designer of the late 18th and early 19th century, whose only commission in Scotland was to improve the Valleyfield Estate, seat of the Preston family until 1907 when it was sold to the Fife Coal Company.
To celebrate his work at Valleyfield along with his impact on landscape design across England, Scotland’s Garden and Landscape Heritage Group recently held a study day at Broomhall House, Charleston.
The day started with a virtual tour of Broomhall House by Lord Bruce, who not only put the house into historical context but also touched upon the exploits of the Elgins in the Middle East. This included a reference to the famous Elgin Marbles, replicas of which line the walls at Broomhall.
Jim Hensman - a modest man with a lot to be proud of
One of The West Fife Villages Community Planning Group's founder members, Jim Hensman, died in March and the tremendous attendance at his funeral paid testimony of the affection and respect he enjoyed.
The following comments advise those who did not know Jim of his contribution to Saline and Steelend, the West Fife villages and beyond.
At Jim's funeral service the Rev Alec Shuttleworth asked how people would describe him. “Since his death he has been variously described as one of the giants of the community giving so much of himself in the care of others, a kind and thoughtful guy, an amazing polite man and a true gentleman, talented and kind unflappable and a joy to be with, and one in a million. All of these are true and none of them is enough”
Future of West Fife Villages' Community Councils up for discussion
The Forum was originally formed in the 1980s as part of an initiative between the then authorities and the Scottish Development Agency to address issues arising from the decline in the local mining industry. As part of this, several projects were carried out throughout the area, including community-led initiatives such as newsletters, computer training and publication of several books.
Attention Young Carers
Are you a young carer?
Are you juggling study time?
Caring for a family member?
Would you like some free time?
Young Carers Respite Fife can help.
Find them on Facebook and Twitter
Email Moira or Adele at email@example.com
or call them on 01592 026112
Villages guide available as E-Book
The 2018 West Fife Villages Guide has been launched - and for the first time it’s available as an E-Book which can be downloaded to various devices.
Produced by West Fife Villages Community Planning Group, the 52-page print version of the booklet is also available from various outlets.
The E-Book has added features, including links to various places of interest and local businesses.
The E-Book will be updated during the year to promote the area and businesses which can have their details listed without charge.
Produced in Adobe pdf file format, the E-Book can be downloaded to phones, tablets and computers. It is a comparatively small file - just under 2MB - so should download fairly quickly.
Our thanks go to the Big Lottery Fund and also to the Colton Trust, Comrie Colliery Environmental Trust and the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative.
The print booklet and E-Book were launched in Culross Abbey (pictured).
Planning Group chairman, Allan Arbuthnott (third from right), presented a bouquet of flowers to Marie Crane (second from right), whose late husband, John, chaired the group for many years and was one of the main drivers of the E-Book.
A minute's silence was also observed for Jim Hensman, a long serving member of the group, who sadly died the day before the launch.
Woodlands Group gains charity status
The West Fife Woodlands community group has become a registered Scottish Charity Organisation.
Who are we, what we do and where we do it?
The group which was started in 2006 by just two people has now a membership of over 50 members from all walks of life with 25 active members regularly participating on the Monday morning ‘workout’ activities.
Kincardine Bridge works
Amey advise of essential upcoming works they (on behalf of Transport Scotland) are planning to undertake to refurbish the two viaduct spans of the A985 Kincardine Bridge, south of the Swing Span.
This will consist of resurfacing, re-waterproofing, concrete repairs and joint replacement.
Amey are currently planning to commence these works in mid-February 2018, subject to budgetary allowance. Alternatively, this next phase of bridge deck refurbishment will be postponed until late March/early April 2018.
Trails leaflet unveiled
Saline and District Heritage Society has unveiled its latest trails leaflet round Saline and Steelend.
The latest leaflet gives walkers info on two routes that both start in the car park in Steelend although they can be followed in reverse from Saline.
The first route follows the signposted core path towards and turns off towards The Temple with spectacular views to the south. It skirts the bottom of Saline Golf Club before exiting to the B914 road to Saline.
The second route follows the core path as far as Cowstrandburn and returns to the route to The Temple via Bandrum. Users can then either return to Steelend or take the Temple route.
Pupils visit Community Orchard to celebrate Blossom Day
The community orchard at Valleyfield Woodland Park, now in its second year, has been celebrated with the holding of a Blossom Day.
Pupils from St Serf’s, Culross and Torryburn primary schools returned to see how the trees were progressing after they and four other local schools planted the trees back in February 2016.
Grants for paths on offer
Paths for All is offering grants of up to £1,500 to help community groups improve, maintain and promote their local community paths.
Does your group have a great idea for a community paths project but doesn’t have the money to carry out the work?
If the answer is “yes” Paths for All can help.
Click link for details http://www.pathsforall.org.uk/pfa/support/community-path-grants.html
Shiresmill Therapy Riding Centre Needs You!
Volunteers Urgently Required – Can You Help Us?
Shiresmill Therapy Riding Centre has been helping children and people of all ages with physical, learning, social and behavioural disabilities for over 30 years.
Since 1996 it has been based at its present location, a beautiful, peaceful spot above High Valleyfield Woods.
There are indoor and outdoor arenas, as well as a wonderful Sensory Park that’s constantly being developed and improved for the enjoyment of our riders and ponies.
Enhancing the quality of life in rural Fife
What is Fife LEADER?
The aim of LEADER is to support local, rural community and business networks, and farms diversifying their activities.
Top award for Woodlands group
West Fife Woodlands based at Shiresmill near Blairhall was presented with the “Community Path Group of the Year” award at the “The Surgeon’s Halls” in Edinburgh.
This award was made at the Paths for All 2016 Volunteer Awards Ceremony which was attended by Minister for Public Health and Sport, Aileen Campbell MSP.
West Fife Woodlands was commended for developing and maintaining a network of paths in 112 acres of woodland with 1,600 volunteer hours expended during the last year.
Band seeking pipers and drummers
West Fife Schools Pipe Band are currently recruiting tenor drummers, snare drummers, bass drummer and pipers. Any children currently being educated in the West Fife area aged 8 - 18 years are eligible to join us.
We have a dedicated team of experienced tutors who specialise in teaching children.
No previous experience necessary; drums and uniform are provided. We practice in Rosyth, Fife, and perform throughout the area.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on Facebook for more details.
Woodlands 'highly commended'
West Fife Woodlands were Highly Commended in the 2016 Scottish Finest Woods Awards ‘Community Woodland’ competition for promoting Healthy Lifestyles, on Friday 24 June at the Royal Highland Show.
The Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards recognises, celebrates and commends the dedication and commitment to the creation and management of Scotland’s finest woods.
Longannet Power Station closes
By John Le Marie
Longannet Power Station formally closed on 31st March after ceasing to output to the grid on Thursday 24th March. It is the last of the coal-fired power stations to close in Scotland.
It first began generating electricity in 1970 and once fully commissioned, was the largest coal-fired station in Europe. Prior to its closure it was the third largest, after Belchat? in Poland and Drax in England. However with its installed generating capacity of 2,400 megawatts it remained the highest of any power station in Scotland.