One dreich December day, Marion (from Urban Pioneers), Andrew and met at Calais Muir woods in Dunfermline. The wood consists mainly of young Birch and some mature Beech. The woods have recently had a fair bit of investment, with new hard-core paths, and some tree works. Even on a cold, damp and dull day, there were still plenty of walkers out enjoying a stroll in the woods, showing that the investment is paying off.
As part of the woodland regeneration, Urban Pioneers were asked to design and set some art installations. Marion showed us some of the installations dotted around the woods, which range from tiny yellow-painted deer skulls, native hard-wood interpretation boards, wooden seats with the tell-tale signs of fairy feet, and many more besides. The installations are mostly from natural materials, and need a wee bit of looking to find, which makes them even more interesting.
More of Marion’s photos of the installations can be found here.
Andrew and I were enlisted to climb some trees at three key points (two entrances and one change of woodland cover) and install bright yellow straps between three trees, forming a triangle. Considering the simplicity of the idea, the effects are brilliant. Perhaps especially on such a grey day, the straps shone out like a beacon, drawing people into the woods to find even more hidden treasures.
This was an inspiring day, seeing how a little bit of time and money, and a lot of creative thinking and love, can turn an unkempt urban forest into a welcoming, well-used and well-liked community woodland. The benefits of woodland walking are well known, and hopefully this will inspire other similar projects.