The Old Moat Colliery at Roslin has been further transformed into a haven for wildlife and people in a reclamation project undertaken to celebrate the year of Homecoming – in recognition of the inspiration the countryside had on the poems and songs of Robbie Burns.
When Burns visited the area in 1787, whilst walking from Edinburgh to Roslin, the landscape would have been agricultural and he would have seen a rich diversity of plants and wildlife.Â With the onset of the Industrial Revolution a coal mine was opened, and later brickworks were established.
The Moat Colliery closed in 1969 and a start was made on restoring the area, with the demolition of buildings and the removal of the spoil heaps.Â In 1990 trees were planted around the periphery of the site, leaving the central area for plants and wildlife to gradually colonise.
This latest phase of the reclamation has involved refurbishing and extending the path network through the woodland and shrub area, using recycled material for the path surface – as well as the addition of a wildflower meadow.Â The project has been funded mainly by Waste Recycling Environmental Limited (WREN), with additional funding from Midlothian Council and SNH and in consultation with the Roslin Community Voices Network.
A section of the main route is tarmac and is suitable for wheelchair use and alongside there is a grass strip for joggers and horse riders.Â There are two interpretation panels which provide information on the history of the site and include extracts from various works by Robbie Burns relating to some of the wildlife which can be seen in the area.
Councillor Wilma Chalmers, Cabinet Member for Commercial Services said,Â “This is a lovely example of what can be achieved to restore former industrial land so that it can be improved for the benefit of wildlife.Â The improved pathways will open up the area to people of all ages and abilities as well as offering a peaceful haven of wildflower meadows, woodland and shrubs which will attract the wildlife enjoyed by Burns all those years ago.”
Councillor Russell Imrie is Midlothian Council’s elected member representative on the WREN Edinburgh and Midlothian Advisory Panel. He said,Â “WREN is committed to supporting projects that improve accessibility and biodiversity in local greenspaces. This is a very good example of a project that meets these aims”.