National Lottery Heritage Fund site visit

In spite of the weather on the 28th of January the CCLP had our site visit (as part of our stage 2 bid) from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF). We started at the Community Hub in Ochiltree with short presentations from Sir James MacMillan (Cumnock Tryst) on the ‘Musical Celebration of the Coalfields’ project followed by Bruce Davidson (East Ayrshire Woodlands) talking about the ‘Land Management Apprentice’ project and Daisy Whytock (East Ayrshire Coalfield Environment Initiative) presenting on the ‘Perfect Peatlands’, Coalfield for Pollinators’ and Healthy East Ayrshire Rivers’ project.

We then took a short mini bus tour to Netherthird Community Garden (via Skares) where Jamie Campbell (Netherthird Community Action Training) talked about the ‘Hedge Row Habitats’ and we had a walk around the garden and saw the great work that is going on.

We then took the mini bus to Lugar Parish Church where we were introduced to the ‘Lugar Heritage Centre’ project by Mrs Marion Wylie, Rev John Paterson and Mrs Isabel Campbell.

The Parish Church has a very interesting history. The building was built by Baird & Co as part of the steel factory which was once on the site where the church now is. It was built as an engine room where the railway engines, used to transport the steel from Lugar to its destination, were inspected and maintained. When the steel factory moved the building was gifted to the people of Lugar to enable the workers in the factory and the residents of Lugar to worship. It has been a place of worship, now maintained under the auspices of the Church of Scotland, for 152 years.

We then returned to Ochiltree for lunch and a question and answer session. We had a good attendance from our enthusiastic and passionate project partners and all felt the visit went well.

The NLHF visitors found the visit very useful and have thanked all the partners for coming along and making their trip to East Ayrshire an enjoyable and worthwhile visit.

Further information about the CCLP can be found on our website

Fingers crossed for a positive result when the NLHF committee meet on 5th March2020.

Stage 2 Bid Submitted

On November 19th the Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership (CCLP) team submitted the Stage 2 bid for the Landscape Partnership scheme to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF). NLHF will consider our submission over the next few months before making a decision in March 2020; we anticipate starting the delivery phase of the CCLP in April 2020.

This marks the end of the 2 year development stage during which time we put together our Landscape Conservation Action Plan (our ‘manifesto’ detailing why the heritage; built, cultural and natural, of our area is special, what is at risk and what we are going to do about it). This has been informed by various studies that were commissioned covering. We also worked with a range of local communities, people and groups to put together our delivery programme of 22 projects. If successful then these projects will be delivered over a period of 5 years.

The projects cover a wide range of topics from celebrating the areas heritage through music, recording oral histories of life in the ‘lost villages’ in the coalfields, exploring the history of place names, improving access to the countryside and heritage, peatland restoration, native tree planting, land management apprenticeships, heritage centres and mountain biking to name a few. Some more information on these projects can be found on our website

This unique mix of projects provides an exciting opportunity for the CCLP to have a landscape scale impact with regards to the areas built, natural and cultural heritage.

Over the next few months, the CCLP team will be working with the various project partners to ensure that everything is in place for our year one projects to start delivering on the ground from April 2020.

Peatland News

With much speculation about climate change and carbon emissions, environmentalists in East Ayrshire are excited about a new and important discovery in the heart of the countryside near the former mining community of Ochiltree.

Barlosh Moss, may look like an ordinary boggy bit of ground, but a new survey, commissioned by the Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership (CCLP) and carried out by Whytock Ecology with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and support from Scottish Natural Heritage, has  revealed that the peat moss there is 12.22m deep – making it the deepest recorded peat bog in Scotland!

To understand why this is important, Councillor Jim Roberts, East Ayrshire Member for Economy and Infrastructure explained: “peatland is an important factor in carbon emissions and global warming. Drained peatlands release a lot of harmful carbon back into the earth’s atmosphere, and worldwide it is estimated that degraded peatlands contribute 5.6% of manmade CO2 emissions, increasing the likelihood of flooding and contaminating rivers. On the other hand, healthy peat bog, such as Barlosh,  act as a sponge, retaining carbon, capturing rainwater and slowly releasing it as filtered water into streams and rivers at a manageable rate.

“This means that Barlosh is a particularly important site environmentally as Scotland moves to cut carbon emissions and preserve our precious habitat.

“The survey was carried out as part of the work of the CCLP to help work out how we can preserve and restore peatland in East Ayrshire, particularly in the former mining sites. Long term the findings and resulting work will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve local water quality and protect important habitat for insects, animals and plants. Ultimately of course, it is people who will benefit from this too!”

“Anyone who is interested can find out more about what the CCLP is doing, how to volunteer and get involved by visiting their brand new dedicated website .