The Friends is a group of people who have joined together to help look after the Corstorphine Hill area, for the benefit of people, animals, plants and the landscape. We organise practical activities such as tidying-up and planting, improving paths and signs; we run guided walks and evening talks. Our longer-term aims include developing the old walled garden at Hillwood, and the old nursery at Beechhill, and raising funds for an education centre.
Current newsletter: Newsletter No. 46, March 2013 (762kB pdf)
Unfortunately, another long time FoCH Committee Member, Martin Craven, passed away in January. Martin worked energetically in the Walled Garden and organised deliveries of our Newsletter for many years. He was also a keen birdwatcher, on the Hill and elsewhere, and in earlier years a considerable cross-country and marathon runner. We shall all miss him, and we extend our sympathies to his family.
Since the last Newsletter we had a very successful and well attended pre Christmas Social at the Heritage Centre, and updated attenders on our activities . Briefly, over the last 5 months we have taken forward : -
Gordon Swann (Chairman, Friends of Corstorphine Hill)
Annual General Meeting 2013
The Friends of Corstorphine Hill Annual General Meeting wil be held on Thursday 25th April at 7.30, at the Capital Hotel.
come along to find out more about what we do, ask questions, give your
views, and even volunteer to help in the Walled Garden, the Nature
Reserve or any way you wish!
Been wondering about the white numbers at some of the junctions on the paths on the hill? Well, these are the penultimate stage in the project to place ten waymarkers at the main junctions on the network of paths which traverse Corstorphine Hill. The idea was prompted by encountering people lost on the hill and the Committee decided it would be worthwhile looking at the possibility of placing markers on the hill to help and encourage visitors and walkers to the hill.
The first stage was to decide on a type of marker which would be environmentally friendly, robust and fit into the landscape of the hill bearing in mind that it is a Local Nature Reserve and ‘Regionally Important Geological Site’. Taking these factors in mind a ‘milestone’ format using sandstone blocks was selected and the specifications presented to a number of suppliers for estimates. The second stage was to find funding for the cost of the project. Applications were made to BIFFA, the specialist waste management company through their Biffaward - a multi-million pound fund that awards grants to community and environmental projects and to the British Airports Authority Edinburgh Airport Community Fund. We were fortunate to receive £5,000 from the former and £1,000 from the latter at their final meeting before the change in airport ownership. We wish to express our sincere thanks to these two organisations.
Having settled on a design and received funding the next stage was to select a stone mason and meet with him to agree placement and wording. This has been done, with two walk rounds of the hill, the work on the stones has commenced.
RAREST OF PLANT SPECIES being conserved on Corstorphine Hill. The ELECAMPANE (Inula helenium) has only one recorded site in Edinburgh and the Lothians, and that is on Corstorphine Hill. The other site recorded – Bawsinch – is, we are told, no more. With a single station, nothing can be rarer!
What is it? It is one of the large and complex Compositae (Dandelion/Daisy Family) Picture a half size and erect Sunflower, with a brilliant yellow flower and velvety leaves. It has not caused a stir as yet because it has been judged to be a recent garden escape, largely because of its location on Clermiston Road North a little to the North of the car park/bus stop (southbound). Garden waste is sometimes still dumped from the houses opposite (built in the 1930’s) and this has misled botanists. Elecampane preceded the houses on this road and is recorded as long ago as 1810. According to the household accounts of Fowlis of Ravelston, it was bought locally in the 1690’s, it was not sent away for – it has a long, long history of being useful and used in medicine and ritual – extending to ancient Egypt, Assyria Greece and Rome. It does seem to originate in this broad area. Because of its rarity, we have gathered and preserved seed since 2009, We will be re-planting it in the Walled Garden imminently. At the AGM, we will be selling seed (with instructions) towards Friends funds – to make certain it is no longer susceptible to local extinction. A lazy gardener’s dump could have seen its end, but nolonger.Dr Brian Moffat
New Interpretation Pamphlet: “The South Side”
This area of Corstorphine Hill, bounded by the Zoo, the Golf Course, buildings on the Glasgow Road – The South Side – opens onto Balgreen Road (to the south) and Rest-and -be-Thankful (to the North). It is “the poor relation” in that no Friends’ pamphlet had introduced its attractions. What are these attractions, you ask: Our group has summarised these: it is the best preserved and most diverse area of heathy grassland on the hill, if not in greater Edinburgh, the viewpoints to the south (the entire Pentland Hills range) and east (the Old Town) are unmatched, this permanently open ground attracts birds of prey or raptors, and woodpeckers like no other, badger setts and feeding grounds, are notable. The traditional Roman Road to Cramond passes this way, the climax of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Kidnapped” take place exactly here – with the novelist specifying the unique combined southward and eastward view. Look out for the free pamphlet (Due in the Spring) and makea visit.
Dr Brian Moffat
Hill - The Finest Views The Eye Can Feast On
Coach Trip to Kailzie Gardens. Tuesday 28th May, 2013. The coach will leave from the Capital Hotel, Clermiston Road at 10.30am and will leave Peebles at 3.30pm (approx) for return. Open to members and their friends. Seats will be allocated on a first come basis and notified by telephone to confirm. The trip requires booking and will cost £14 per person. Further details and booking form on this link (or also in Newsletter No. 45 or No.46).
A summer programme of guided walks has been arranged for the season 2012. Topics include 'Geology and Early History', 'Bird Walk and Watch', 'Wild Plants Walk - Natives, Naturalized and Nasties', 'Storytelling for Children in the Walled Garden', 'Butterflies, Bees and other Beasties' and 'Fungus Foray'.Guided walks for 2013 are being arranged. So far a 'Bird Walk and Watch' has been organised for Saturday 4th May 2013. Further details can be found at this link.
A winter programme of evening talks has been arranged for the season 2012/2013. Topics include 'Wildlife of St Kilda', 'Water of Leith' and 'The Bartholomew Archive – A Cartographic Window into Edinburgh’s Past'. Further details can be found at this link.
The Corstorphine Hill Tower will be open to visitors every Sunday afternoon 2-4 pm, from 5th May until 28th-29th September, finishing on the Edinburgh Open Doors weekend, when the Tower will be open Saturday & Sunday. Further details of opening times at this link.
We need volunteers - if you can join in with any of our activites, such as
please let us know ... many hands make light work ... and you will be made most welcome.
Friends membership renewal
The fee is £1 per member per year. Donations are also always very welcome! Please hand in your name(s) and fee(s) to any of the committee members. If you would like to join see the Membership page and/or use the ready to print form.
Comments, suggestions and
information are welcome
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Latest update - March 2013