Wild Crail Walks Network: A strategic plan for connecting people and wildlife around Crail
Conserving natural environments with high biodiversity are a pressing global and local priority to maintain ecosystem services and a high quality of life for people. But connecting people with wildlife is essential for this to happen. Here we set out the strategy of the Crail community to improve its natural environment for the benefit of wildlife and people through the creation and maintenance of wildlife pathways and rewilded areas. We will create a comprehensive wooded path network through new areas of development and existing farmland to connect Crail’s already valued natural and wildlife friendly areas. We will create new habitat through rewilding and tree planting. We will make and maintain the pathways to connect us and visitors to the wildlife in and around Crail.
During the Crail Charrette carried out 2018-19, large scale support for environmental enhancements
was identified, both during informal community drop-ins and formal community meetings involving
over 500 stakeholders. For example, in a survey with representative participation from all age and
community groups in the community, and with issues and questions arising from Stage 1 consultation
of the charrette (N = 287 fully completed questionnaires – results on the right), the overall “winner” in
terms of what we should be doing to develop our communities was:
More woodland areas
More wildlife areas
Crail Charrette produced a local action plan (Deciding Crail’s Future Local Place Plan - 20.06.19).
The document arose from the long term, wide-ranging consultation and conversation with everyone
in Crail. A cumulative total of over 1200 separate contributions from the residents and stake-holders
of Crail, involving at least 550 separate individuals. In the early stages of community engagement for
this Local Place Plan, the coast, the countryside and the tremendous historical appeal of the Royal
Burgh and harbour emerged as Crail’s biggest assets for residents and visitors alike. That strength
of feeling continued throughout the process, with many people attaching great importance to
improvements to the local path network and extending existing green corridors out through new developments and into the area surrounding Crail. As a consequence, the final Local Place Plan has a strong environmental component throughout, emphasising sustainable growth and development. A key aim is to “create new wildlife habitats throughout Crail: within any proposed new development like Crail North, on the existing and proposed expanded footpath network through and around Crail, as well as preserving and enhancing existing habitats like Denburn Wood.”
The Crail Community already owns and successfully manages wildlife areas in Crail such as Denburn Wood and Denburn Park. The Crail Community already works with Fife Council to manage its parks and community grassland. The Crail Community has already shown the willingness, ability and priority to do more to enhance its environment, at a time when Fife Council is having to prioritise other services.
There is a clear opportunity for the Crail Community to take over the long-term management of its wild spaces. Key to this is returning land to community ownership so that appropriately long term plans can be made: volunteer initiatives, rewilding, habitat creation and funding for these can best be achieved if everyone knows they are investing in a permanent project.
There is an opportunity for Land Asset Transfers from Fife Council of:
Bow Butts park – to consolidate a currently wildlife managed area into the adjacent Denburn Wood corridor and preserve the wildlife corridor that will connect Denburn Wood into the new woodland along the edge of the existing housing in Bow Butts and the proposed new housing in Crail North.
Pinkerton Triangle – to consolidate a neglected but rewilding area adjacent to Roome Bay to preserve the wildlife corridor connecting Crail to the coastal path at Saucehope and eventually Kilminning.
Kilminning South – to consolidate a neglected but rewilding area at Kilminning as an official nature reserve area, extending and enhancing the existing land at Kilminning Coast which is already managed as a nature reserve.
Below we have outlined a timetable for our works to enhance Crail's environment.
Crail has been a viable community for hundreds of years and sustainable landscape level management also works over these time scales. We anticipate our strategy to evolve but always to function to acquire and maintain natural habitat for the wildlife and people of Crail.
In 50 years’ time a local or visitor should be able to walk through wildlife habitat all day, returning to Crail happy, refreshed and inspired. Help us achieve this.