Wednesday, 29 March 2017
As I often lead guided walks along various stretches of the Water of Leith, I was very interested to attend today's talk about Saughton Park, one of the Edinburgh parks that is found along the length of the river.
The event was made up in fact of three talks. Peter McDougall, Project Development Officer, talked about the plans for the restoration of the park. These include the creation of a new footpath following the course of the river and a new biodiversity area along this path. The bandstand will be restored to the park, the stables will be renovated to create office space and a new cafe will be built. LED lighting will be set up round the park, ecologists have been consulted to see whether this will affect the three species of bats that live in the park (pipistrelle, Daubentons and another species, perhaps long eared bat?) the ecologists apparently said the bats won't be affected though personally I'm a little skeptical about that. I think safe footpaths are vital, but I also would hate to think that restoration of a park that includes biodiversity improvements might inadvertently have negative impacts on some of the wildlife in the park.
The other two talks were about the history of the park, which is fascinating. In 1824, the old Saughton House (which is no longer there having been burned down) became a 'lunatic asylum' which pioneered the use of horticultural therapy in its treatments of people with mental health problems. The gardens at one time included a scented garden with labelling in Braille for the enjoyment of blond people.
To find out about events happening at Saughton Park, visit the Friends of Saughton Park website.