Dreghorn Woods, Edinburgh

Dreghorn Woods is situated in the suburban area of Dreghorn, near The City of Edinburgh. It is accessible on foot from the nearby residential areas of Colinton, Craiglochart, Fairmilehead, Oxgangs and Dreghorn. The bus route goes past the entrance and this makes it very easy to get there from other areas via the number 27 Bus for Hunters Tryst. The woods are situated next to Dreghorn Barracks, home of the 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment Scotland and sometimes, they can be seen exercising in the woods.

The stream is so clear, you can see every stone.

When you enter the woods from Redford Road you immediately go from the chaotic feeling of the main road, with its traffic speeding by as people come from the city bypass, to the peaceful haven of the woodlands. Its abundant nature wraps its arms around you, you breathe in and feel instantly relaxed and at peace.  The stream running through the woods, the birds, the wind and the insulation from feelings of stress helps you to unload your mental burdens and just enjoy being part of the world and nature. And, the best thing about it is that it’s accessible, even if you don’t drive. From Edinburgh City centre it takes approximately 30 minutes to ride there on a bike.

Families can be seen enjoying the beauty of Dreghorn Woods

Residents local to this area are so lucky to have such a green area that is open to them with no restrictions on entry. Many cities have no such spaces. The trees there include rowan, cherry, birch and Scots pine and as far as the eye can see there is so much wild garlic that you could forage and keep stocked up for the whole year. If you’re there in Spring the woodland flowers will delight your senses with their array of colours and smells. Daffodils, snowdrops, bluebells and many other wonderful sights await you. Then there’s the animals. This woodland is home to so many species of insects, birds and bats. At night, the nearby householders are often treated to the sight and sounds of an earth of foxes as they venture closer to humankind in search of food or just being inquisitive. Deer can also be seen here if you are lucky.

The sunlight pushes through the branches of the majestic pine tree in Dreghorn Woods.

It’s not just the flora and fauna that enjoy these woods. Each day, at any time, you will be met by the happy sight of dog walkers, families with children, runners and cyclists all taking advantage of what nature has to offer here. On a winter day, the canopy of trees serves as a little bit of shelter from the Scottish wind and in the summer, the stream is the focus of fun, with children paddling as families enjoy sitting at the edge of the water, listening to the bird song.

The woods are are a natural playground for people of all ages

If you haven’t been, it certainly is a place to that should be on your to do list.

Braidburn Valley Park, Edinburgh.

In Scotland, during this Covid 19 lockdown time, we’re very fortunate that we have been permitted to continue to take daily exercise. Many countries have been on full lockdown where the citizens can’t even go outside at all and although this may be necessary in badly affected or highly populated areas it must be very difficult to keep this up, especially if you have children who love to run their energy off.

The Braid Burn. A perfect place to use your little fishing net and sit beside for a picnic

Unlike many cities, Edinburgh is blessed with super green spaces dotted throughout the city and they are generally pleasant and accessible. One of these areas is Braidburn Valley Park, located in the Morningside and Oxgangs area of the city. It occupies a beautiful valley with the Braid Burn (stream) running through it from the Pentland hills to the Firth of Forth. At 11 hectares it is the fourth biggest community park in Edinburgh and, proudly, in 2007 it achieved the award of Scotland’s first Green Flag for Excellence in Parks.

A map of the park and various flora and fauna to be seen there

The beautiful trees and plants together with the burn provide a perfect home for the local wildlife and the children of the area have created a wildflower meadow in an effort to attract more birds and insects. However, as well as the wildlife, the park is well visited by local families riding bikes, walking dogs and generally just enjoying nature. With the avenues of stunning blossom trees, various walkways that are accessible to wheelchair users and the variegated leaves of the shrubs and bushes, this is the perfect place for a picnic or a game of hide and seek.

Beautiful tree-lined walks to enjoy, winter or summer.

As well as being ideally placed to serve the local community, the park has a lot of history to discover. For example, the park’s Fly Walk was the route that Robert Louis Stevenson took when travelling between his home in Swanston and the city centre and the cherry trees there were planted by 5000 girl guides in 1935 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George V.

accessible paths that can be used by used by wheelchair users, for baby buggies, etc.

The park is an important community hub to the point that a local committee has formed to look after the park’s interests and ensure that it is well managed and used appropriately. The Friends of Braidburn Valley Park was formed in 2002 to give local people the opportunity to have their say in how the Park would be managed and developed. The Friends work in partnership with Edinburgh Council and others to increase people’s use of the Park, as well as its amenity and importance for wildlife.

The Pentland hills in the near distance

Braidburn Valley Park is open all the time, it does not close at night and the stunning sunset as a backdrop to the silhouette of the surrounding houses really brings an air of calm that can be felt when walking there at twilight.

gazing over the valley to the sunset.

At the moment, the park is a bit quieter than usual because people are following the guidelines under the Covid 19 prevention plan and either staying home all the time, limiting their outside activity or when they do venture out, people are practicing social distancing and keeping at least 2 metres away from those who are not part of their household. However, we can all still enjoy this lovely green space for our daily exercise, soak up the smells and sounds of nature and look forward to the time, hopefully soon, when we can sit there and enjoy a picnic again.

stargazing app that showed us we were looking at Venus in the sky.

Red Nose Day – The Steiner Way.

Red Nose Day – The Steiner Way.

Red nose day was launched in the UK by the charity Comic Relief in 1988 as a day of fun and events aiming to raise money for charity, both at home and overseas. The comic relief charity was founded in 1985 by the comedy scriptwriter Richard Curtis and comedian Lenny Henry in response to famine in Ethiopia, which was brought to our TV screens via news reports and the plight of the starving people heightened the awareness of the wealthy world to the inequalities in the world. The highlight of Comic Relief’s appeal is Red Nose Day, a biennial telethon held in March, alternating with its sister project Sport Relief.     Its success is not in question, having raised more than 1 billion pounds for deserving causes.

How did Edinburgh do Red Nose Day?

Across the city there were many events being held, people were allowed to wear red nose T-Shirts to their work and an example of this was Specsavers   in Cameron Toll Shopping Centre and some schools in the city invited the pupils to wear red instead of their uniform  and give a donation. Broughton Primary School held a ‘design a nose’ competition.  It’s also nice to see local initiatives benefit from these efforts and one of the previous local beneficiaries of Red Nose Day was the Broomhouse Centre in Saughton  which helps older people who are experiencing social isolation. With such worthy causes gaining the benefit, it’s hard not to join in.

What did Steiner Do on Red Nose Day?

On Red Nose Day, Friday 15th March 2019, Edinburgh Steiner School pupils gave donations to have their noses painted and , for a little extra, their eyebrows too. However, the face paint was a little different; the lovely lady, Netty McLeod, painted the faces using eco, toxic-free, allergen-free paint with all natural (non-synthetic) sponges. This is better for the little faces and also in keeping with the school’s ethos of working with natural products as much as possible. Steiner schools encourage holistic natural development and this concept can be seen throughout the whole of the school and their activities.

Steiner described his ideal of a comprehensive education as one that encompasses everyone regardless of of social or religious background. The basis of this ‘art of education’ was  – and still is – a deep understanding of the physical, emotional , intellectual and spiritual needs of the developing human being.

Edinburgh Steiner School website.
A Steiner Pupil Contributing to Red Nose Day.

Friday was also the perfect day for Red Nose Day to fall on because Edinburgh Steiner School have their Friday market just inside the school gates every week where students and parents can set up stalls to fund raise for their class funds which supports trips and treats for the children and also for external good causes, such as medical detection dogs which was one of the good causes they were raising funds for on the same day as Red Nose Day. Garvald Farm also provide a stall full of vegetarian and organic baked goodies at very reasonable prices and Friday at around 1 pm is when you can see the happiness and community spirit of Edinburgh Steiner School in full and natural swing, buy some tasty treats and contribute to the various fund raising initiatives which inevitably take place at that time.

Garvald Farm, West Linton.

If you would like to know more about Edinburgh Steiner School or you are considering this school for your child, see their website where you will find relevant contact information. They also have a facebook page if you wish to keep up to date with the latest events via social media.