We are absolutely delighted with our new paths. Our contractor, James Maclean, did a wonderful job ensuring a smooth finish and gentle gradients to ensure the park is now accessible to all. It's been wonderful receiving all the nice messages from across our community and even better seeing everyone using them to walk their dogs, travel to school or to avoid having to walk along the edge of the main road. If you need to work out where the paths are, pop over to our access page.
Many thanks to everyone who attended the Strathpeffer Residents' Association AGM, whether in-person or via our live web link. If you weren't able to attend, here's the annotated presentation or you can download it to access the hyper-links here.
As the path works come to an end (more on this later), we have installed two new picnic tables in the park. One by the fire-pit and the other next to the orchard. What a great place to have a picnic :)
Sorry you've not heard very much from us lately, but we've been very busy in the background:
We need to say a massive thank you to Corriemoillie Community Funds, Foundation Scotland and the Mackenzie New York Villa Trust for their amazing support and donations.
We have also been awarded a massive £59,497 by the Highland Council through the Place Based Investment Programme.
Thanks to these absolutely amazing funders we have been able to let the Paths contract, which is the final prerequisite for planning to allow us to build the Playpark.
The work will start Monday 4th July and last 2-3 weeks.
Our next fundraising goal is very exciting as its for the Playpark! We need to find significant funding to deliver the park - find out how you can help here
Our new fire pit is now available for all to use, but we ask that you keep the below in mind:
Let us know you see any problems with the fire pit of the park.
We are working hard to increase the diversity of nature in our park. As such we are trying to keep regular mowing to a minimum, replicating meadow management techniques where we can. Some areas are being mowed a bit more often at the moment, either to help our native trees and orchard establish or to get on top of our over-enthusiastic rosebay willowherb.
The plant at the top left is called yellow rattle and it has established well along the banks of our swale (drainage ditch). It's a special plant because it steals resources from nearby grasses, reducing their vigour to allow more flowering plants to flourish.
The plant in the middle of the top row is called cuckoo flower (it flowers while the cuckoos are here). It is the favorite food plant of the elegant orange-tip butterfly (below) that can often be seen fluttering across the park.
Enjoy the nature in our park!
Our orchard was planted by volunteers in April 2022 with heritage apples (cookers and desert), cherry, plum, damson, cob (hazel) and mulberry. It will provide spring blossom (important for insects) and a great variety of free food for our community. We announce on our social media channels when fruit is ready to pick and operate on a 'take what you want, leave what you can' philosophy.
Find out what we've planted on our orchard page.
We were fortunate enough to be awarded two native tree packs this year to expand our little woodland. The first pack, from The Woodland Trust, contained over 100 trees from the 'Edible Hedge' pack (crabapple, wild cherry, hazel, rowan, elder, dogrose and blackthorn). The second pack of 50 trees came from the Trust for Conservation Volunteers (field maple, birch, rowan, wild cherry, willow).
With so many trees we needed lots of willing helpers, and we weren't disappointed. The first session was by the Fairburn Cubs, and to make things more exciting, it was by torchlight to coincide with their regular evening meeting! They did a brilliant job with every tree the right way up when checked the next morning :) The second session was led by the industrious P5 class from Strathpeffer Primary School. They all to great pride in planting, staking and protecting the saplings. The remaining trees have been planted by other volunteers from across our community, helped by some lovely sunny days. Thank you to everyone involved.
All of the children turned out to be very knowledgeable about why trees are important to help fight climate change, how they will become home to many native species, clean our air and provide both us and wildlife with fruits and nuts long into the future. We hope they will take pride when they return to see the fully grown trees, perhaps with their own children, one day.
We are in the middle of a climate and nature emergency. Between 1994 and 2016, almost half of Scottish species decreased (State of Nature Scotland, 2019). This is why we want our park to play a small part in reducing this loss, while also creating an attractive and usable community space.
The SRA is pleased to have been awarded £2,500 from the Highland Council's Nature Restoration Fund. We will use this to develop our community orchard, which will provided us with local, free, fresh fruit, as well as an important source of nectar for pollinating insects. The orchard will include apples, nuts and other types of fruit, including our local (and most northerly) heritage apple variety 'Coul Blush'. We will also use the grant to purchase tools to manage the open areas for wild native flowers, creating colourful and attractive nature-rich areas, and to manage our small area of woodland.
Please get in touch if you'd like to join our growing team of volunteers and to help shape how the park develops. For those who don't follow us on social media, we will meet at the park shed on the first Saturday of every month (10:00 till 12:00) from May to October.