Falkirk Stepping Stones

(c) Suzanne Burgess

The Falkirk Stepping Stones project managed and restored a mosaic of habitat features within a brownfield site in Falkirk, to enhance the area for its biodiversity.

The brownfield site known locally as Roughcastle is located between the Falkirk Wheel (to the east) and the Antonine wall (to the west).

Roughcastle is over 32 hectares in size and has a variety of habitat features including large areas of wildflower meadow, seasonal ponds, heathland, woodland and bare ground. Old industrial works at this site include a fish oil and guano works, a mineral extraction site and an old refuse tip. Roughcastle has been reclaimed by nature and with its path network is well used by visitors to the Falkirk Wheel and the Antonine Wall as well as local dog walkers from Camelon and Tamfourhill.

Previous invertebrate surveys have identified the importance of the site for ground beetles, true bugs and for pollinators including bumblebees, hoverflies and butterflies. An area of heathland is especially important for Green tiger beetles (Cicindela campestris); this is the only site in Falkirk for this beetle. Roughcastle is also important for other wildlife including mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.

With the help of volunteers from Green RoutesEnable ScotlandThe Conservation Volunteers (TCV) and from the local area of Falkirk, we carried out a number of practical habitat management, enhancement and creation work across Roughcastle, including the:

  • Removal and thinning of scrub in an area of heathland and from the wildflower meadow,
  • creation of areas of bare ground,
  • planting 3,500 wildflower plug plants of over 20 species across the meadow including Oxeye daisy, Red campion and Yarrow,
  • planting of Yellow rattle seed,
  • creation of habitat piles,
  • health check of recently planted Oak trees and
  • spraying invasive non-native Japanese knotweed.
Roughcastle © Suzanne Bairner Roughcastle © Suzanne Bairner

Falkirk Stepping Stones was funded by the Co-operative and Falkirk Environment Trust. Buglife worked alongside the site owners Callendar Estates and Central Scotland Forest Trust (CSFT) throughout the project.

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