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First trees planted for coastal restoration project

Tree planting initiative at St Andrews Holiday Park

University of St Andrews and Abbeyford Leisure were delighted to welcome eager volunteers on a cold but sunny February morning to get the first spades in the ground for an exciting habitat restoration project.

Pictured left to right above: Peter Davies and Geoff Little (Abbeyford Leisure), student Andrea Veronese, Stephen Paul (University of St Andrews), Darren Noble and Brian Marshall (Abbeyford Leisure), Johanna Willi (University of St Andrews), community volunteer Rosalind Hine and student Michael Vail.

Enthusiastic students and members of the community joined the University and Abbeyford Leisure teams on a mission to create a 370m woodland corridor at St Andrews Holiday Park. Many hands make light work, and over 1000 trees were planted! The aim is to create a vibrant mix of fruiting and flowering hawthorn, crab apple, hazel, cherry and rowan, offering nectar and pollen for pollinators, berries and nesting space for birds, and important connectivity for hedgehogs and other wildlife. It will also create an attractive green periphery to the west of the holiday park.

Tree planting initiative at St Andrews Holiday Park
Local residents and student volunteers joined Abbeyford Leisure and University of St Andrews team members at St Andrews Holiday Park.

This initiative is part of a partnership taking place over the next 15 months to restore habitat at 30 sites along 16km of coastline around St Andrews, from Leuchars to Kingsbarns. This is made possible by the collaboration of a range of partners including Fife Council, Abbeyford Leisure, Kinkell Byre, Cambo Estate, Forest & Land Scotland, Fairmont Hotel, St Andrews Botanic Garden, local farmers and estate managers. University of St Andrews is leading the ambitious programme which aims to improve the quality and connectivity of habitat in the area. Activities include planting of woodland and hedgerows, creation of wetland and meadows, restoring dunes, and introducing conservation grazing to manage coastal grassland. 

The project is supported by the Scottish Government’s Nature Restoration Fund, managed by NatureScot. 

At Abbeyford Leisure’s St Andrews Holiday Park, meadow habitat and copses of woodland will also be planted to support biodiversity whilst creating a more diverse and rich space for visitors to explore.

Tree planting initiative at St Andrews Holiday Park

St Andrews Holiday Park, General Manager, Geoff Little said:

Abbeyford Leisure works closely with many environmental organisations including the Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, Butterfly Conservation Scotland and Fife Council’s biodiversity team to name but a few and this latest collaboration with University of St Andrews and other local partners emphasises our commitment to the upkeep of the local environment. We take our environmental responsibilities seriously and are delighted to be part of such an important initiative which will benefit not only natural habitats but will also have a positive impact on local residents and visitors for generations.”

Tree planting initiative at St Andrews Holiday Park
Over 1,000 saplings have been planted at St Andrews Holiday Park to help re-establish dense hedgerows.
Tree planting initiative at St Andrews Holiday Park
Johanna Willi (left), Ecological Projects Manager from University of St Andrews with community volunteer, Rosalind Hine.

Johanna Willi, Ecological Projects Manager from University of St Andrews said:

We were delighted to kick start this exciting collaborative project with our partners at Abbeyford Leisure, marking the start of a landscape-scale programme of habitat creation. Committed local volunteers came along too, and our work wouldn't be possible without their helping hands. Projects like this one demonstrate how much we can achieve when we come together. Land managers as well as local people are making a contribution, and collectively it will make a real difference for nature. We'd like to thank everyone who is making this ambitious project possible."

Tree planting initiative at St Andrews Holiday Park
The hedgerow will provide nectar and pollen for pollinators, berries and nesting space for birds.

NatureScot Chair Professor Colin Galbraith said:

Through the Nature Restoration Fund, we can support vital work to restore Scotland’s species and habitats back to being healthy, vibrant and thriving. Now more than ever, we need nature-based solutions to the climate-nature crises. It’s projects like this that can really help to stop biodiversity loss and enable us to move towards a nature-rich, net-zero future for everyone in Scotland.”

If you would like to get involved in these conservation activities, please get in touch with Ecological Projects Manager, Johanna Willi, at [email protected]

The Nature Restoration Fund helps to restore species and habitats, protect our marine and coastal areas, and eradicate invasive, non-native species, as well as improving the health and well-being of local communities. These projects are taking practical steps to help against the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss and restore Scotland’s natural environment.

See NatureScot’s website for a full list of projects that have been offered NRF Helping Nature funding this year.

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