CCLP Latest 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 www.coalfieldcommunities.co.uk .
Access Study Update July 2019
A key objective of the CCLP is to reconnect people with their landscape. It aims to achieve this by delivering of a suite of integrated landscape scale projects that will leave a lasting legacy for all of our communities.
An important way of reconnecting communities to the landscape is by improving existing footpath and cycling networks and creating new strategic path networks.
We have appointed environmental and landscape consultants Ironside Farrar to prepare a study to inform our access and riparian projects during the delivery phase of the CCLP.
Ironside Farrar are looking at possible walking routes in both the Doon and Lugar Valleys. So far they have identified potential draft routes, marked them on plans and have prepared notes to illustrate the possibilities.
We would like to take this opportunity to receive any comments and suggestions so that we can further refine our ideas. The draft routes and accompanying notes can be found in our resource section of the website. Please feedback any comment via the website.
A link to the resource section is provided below. https://coalfieldcommunities.co.uk/resources/
We are keen to make sure that we have good access routes that people will use and be able to learn more about the landscape they live in.
Please note that the consultants will be arranging further opportunities for all communities to comment.
Latest News June 2019
Update on the CCLP
Behind the scenes, and following our Mid-Term Review with the Heritage Lottery Fund in Edinburgh, the team is busy meeting with Project Partners to develop their ideas in readiness for the Stage 2 submission. In May, the team presented HLF with a progress report and an account of the status of the Project. At this review, there was the possibility of failure. Fortunately, we were asked to continue working toward our submission in November when we will submit our full Stage 2 Application to HLF including Project Plans for all the proposed projects. The first year of projects require to be fully funded if HLF are to consider the project “low risk” enough to want to fund it.The Scottish Committee will make a decision around March/April 2020 as to whether the five-year Partnership will proceed.
The Partnership has now appointed consultants Ironside Farrar to study access routes and river corridors in the LP area. In particular, they will be focussing on developing walks along the Lugar and the Doon and would welcome input from local communities and landowners.
The Project Officer is working to develop a project in and around Dalmellington Old Kirkyard. This little sanctuary in the heart of the town is neglected and underused and yet offers so many opportunities for us to appreciate built, cultural and natural heritage.
Last week a group of lichenologists, Sandy Coppins, John Douglass and Brian Coppins visited to give us an idea whether there is anything of interest within the site that we need to consider prior to undertaking any work. The growth of conifers has sadly omitted the light many lichens require and has suppressed their growth. Managing the arboriculture of the site will form part of the project and this type of information is vital in informing our decisions for the future of the graveyard.
At first glance, the experts discovered a species of interest Leptogium teretiusculum that is an indicator of long ecological continuity along with other interesting species spotted on the yews. We hope that, as the project proceeds to offer talks and identification guides on these fascinating species so please let us know if you are interested.
UNIQUE SPACES… Dalmellington Old Kirkyard
There are over 3,000 burial grounds in Scotland, ranging from small rural medieval churchyards on islands to large Victorian city cemeteries, spanning different cultures, religions and centuries.
The 1994 report on the Management of Old Cemeteries (Dunk & Rugg, 1994) enumerated four different kinds of value, which cemeteries represent to today’s society: historical, ecological, education and leisure (or amenity) benefits. This four-fold scheme is echoed in “Paradise Preserved” by Natural England, which lists the most important benefits as being architecture, landscaping, wildlife and local amenity.
The CCLP wants to develop a project around Dalmellington Old Kirkyard and a long-term management plan for it based on these four themes. We want to support groups and individuals to investigate, care for, and enjoy this unique site. We want to keep the Old Kirkyard beautiful, accessible and connected to the community. Cemeteries, churchyards and burial spaces are often highly valued by communities for their “spiritual” as well as place-making qualities. The heritage conservation movement has also identified historic cemeteries as places of specific local heritage interest, as well as being very much a part of the historic townscape. The place-making or local identity properties of churchyards and cemeteries are especially valued.
Burial grounds encapsulate the history of communities whilst offering refuge for our native wildlife, appealing to many who are interested in local history and the natural world. However, their heritage value, and even their continuing presence, cannot be taken for granted. They are under threat from development, closure, under management and mismanagement. The Old Kirkyard has alr subjected to all of the above.
For some people burial grounds are the only locally accessible green space. Sadly, the Old Kirkyard, despite being located in the heart of the town, is far from accessible to the community. It does, however, have considerable historic heritage interest that remains unexplored and unexploited. There are a very large number of listed buildings in cemeteries, including lodges and houses, boundary wall, gates, mortuary chapels, cemetery chapels, tombs and mausoleums with Dalmellington enclosing the B-Listed Macadam Mausoleum.
The ‘Living Churchyards’ project, is another example of how churchyards and cemeteries are increasingly valued for their bio-diversity value. According to ARC (Alliance of Religions and Conservation) ‘more than 6,000 British churchyards run their small plots of land as sacred eco-systems – without pesticides and mowing the grass only once a year – ensuring that birds, reptiles, insects and bats can thrive’
On the other hand the Old Kirkyard has special architectural and landscape interest because it has been trapped in a time-warp, and has not been modified, adapted, overlaid or even destroyed, as has so much else in the historic environment.
Urban burial grounds were envisaged originally as public open spaces, with later 19th century ones professionally designed to be attractive places to visit in their own right. Today, many cemeteries, like Dalmellington Old Kirkyard are neglected, with little to attract anyone apart from those visiting specific burial plots. This lack of care, planning and ambition means that the potential health and environmental benefits of cemeteries are not being realised.
Many historic cemeteries, now full, like the Old Kirkyard, have become neglected, though they may well contain buildings, artefacts and landscapes of great heritage value and interest. Many of the great 19th century, urban cemeteries were designed and laid out by the same people who created public parks, and were considered to belong to the “park family”. They were regarded as much as public landscapes as they were functional burial places. This close relationship between the cemetery and the park has disappeared from many local authority perceptions and strategies.
Yet cemeteries may still deliver as many amenity and ecological benefits as parks, and should be thought of in the same terms. There is a need for a strategy for Dalmellington Old Kirkyard and indeed all local cemeteries that could be integrated into a wider local authority green space strategy.
The growth of cemetery Friends of groups is a sign that the public wish to engage again with conservation and environmental projects in cemeteries and churchyards. Some of the increasing public interest in cemetery conservation can be attributed to the growing popularity of family history, and the use of burial records and cemetery registers to identify family burial places, gravestones and monuments. Local Friends’ Groups have also played an important role in improving the conservation of cemeteries. In East Ayrshire there are no such groups and no local guides to these valued historic environments.
The CCLP offers us a unique opportunity to find a balance and a future for the Kirkyard, allowing us to conserve this unique part of Dalmellington for at least as long as it has already existed.
If you have an interest in any aspect of the Kirkyard please get in touch and watch for future volunteering opportunities.
Latest News May 2019
The CCLP team may have seemed quietly lately, however, we have been busy working away behind the scenes preparing for our Mid-Term Review with the Heritage Lottery Fund on 17th May. The team travelled to Edinburgh and spent a couple of hours presenting our Scheme so far to our Project Mentor and the Senior Investment Manager. The good news is we have been asked to continue with our proposal and proceed with a Stage Two submission in November 2019. This will then be assessed and reviewed by HLF Scottish delegated decisions in March 2020. We will be competing against other bids which may have a more secure funding profile than ourselves and therefore present a much lower risk for investment by HLF so it is imperative that we continue to strive to develop our projects as much as possible.
To this end, we have enlisted some help from colleagues in Planning & Regeneration and have been busy scheduling and attending meetings with project proposers to assist in the production of Project Plans and in particular financial planning. This work will continue over the summer months along with some more events to encourage projects to look for commonality and sharing of resources and funding.
Over the summer there will be further Board and Steering Group meetings organised and if you are a member of the community who would like to take part in the Community Steering Group please get in touch and we will keep you posted of the meeting dates and venues.
The Opera House
8 John Finnie St