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Heritage Viewpoint: Wildflower Seed Sowing

There was always a view from this section of the Coastal Path, taking in the Forth and the iconic Rail Bridge, but it was fast disappearing with the growth of trees and shrubs. The area also had a range of rank grasses with Creeping Thistle being the main contributor of colour and food for a few pollinating insects in its short flowering season.

It had been planed for some time to restore the view and add a seat to replace the one that some 25 years ago had been a place below the path to sit and watch the ships and sea-birds on the Forth.

The plan to improve this area finally came to fruition with the award of a grant to upgrade the whole section of Coastal Path where it ran from Lumsdaine Drive to The Inches, passing through Hopeward and Bathing House Woods. The generous funding from Fife Environment Trust, Scottish Landfill Communities Fund, Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, and Fife Council included restoring the view and clearing the area for the sowing of wildflower seeds.

The area around the Heritage Viewpoint now looks very different, if rather bare and lifeless at the moment. But the new seat donated by Maureen Dickson in memory of her husband Tom has a prominent place, so travellers along the path can once more rest and enjoy the view.

A lot of effort over the past few days prepared the area for sowing with various wildflower seed mixes and the final sowing was completed at the weekend.

Many of the mixes contain selected grasses to create wildflower rich meadows, and these will take time to fully develop. But there will also be more of our ‘signature’ colourful cornfield annuals along the sides of the main path to provide some early colour next spring and summer. All of the seeds came from Scotia Seeds and apart from the grasses, which were from cultivated stock, almost all were originally sourced from Scotland, mostly in the East.

Altogether, because of the choice of different seed mixes to suit the different growing conditions around the site, seeds of 60 different wildflower species have now been sown, and there will be others that emerge from the bank of seeds already in the soil. The area around the log seats has been sown with a specific “Flowering Lawn Mix” which can be kept short but will still contain a range of flowers that can stand being trampled.

Creeping Thistle will certainly return, but, as in our other wildflower sown area opposite ‘The Triangle’, regular pulling out of the emerging shoots will help to stop it becoming too dominant.

Not all the different species will emerge immediately, but in time they should enrich the area with colour and variety, and provide food for both pollinating insects and others, no less important, that eat parts of the plants themselves but then become food for other wildlife. Altogether this will enrich the ecology of this small area while adding to the pleasure for those who walk by.

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