Love Parks Week
In Edinburgh our urban parks offer green space to residents who don’t have access to a garden. They offer opportunities to get out and about in the fresh air, take some exercise, walk your dog, take part in sports and let the children run about and let off steam!
What is Love Parks Week
Love Parks Week was set up to celebrate and support the efforts of volunteers and workers up and down the country to maintain and protect our green spaces and in 2023 it runs from 28th July to 6th August.
Councils will facilitate large maintenance projects such as grass-cutting. Some parks have friend associations which run volunteer events to do extra work to improve their park. Friends of Braidburn Valley Park run two litter picks in spring and autumn to clear litter from the Braid Burn which runs through the park. This is the type of event that Love Parks Week wants to highlight.
Parks evolved from the deer parks used for hunting in medieval times. With the Industrial Revolution, areas were set aside in towns and cities to give workers some green space. To escape from their cramped living conditions in tenements and terraced houses which didn’t have gardens. With Covid-19 pandemic, urban dwellers used their parks to leave their homes for the one hour per day recommended by the government. They were invaluable to people with no garden of their own. As we return to normal, we can appreciate our parks at any time we choose, and they are being well used. The Meadows hosts exercise classes, charity and festival events and even cricket! Below is information about some of Edinburgh’s interesting parks.
With the cliffs of Salisbury Crags and three lochs, Holyrood Park is a large open space in central Edinburgh. It is more like the deer hunting parks of old. The peak called Arthur’s Seat is part of an extinct volcano. The lochs are home to swans and ducks, and other wildlife. This park is big enough to have roads running through it and in spring the High Road is closed for the annual toad migration. Rangers help the toads awakening from hibernation on Arthur’s Seat across the road to get to Dunsapie Loch.
This park was a farm until 1933. It contains several cherry trees planted by Girl Guides in 1935. There is an open-air theatre with tiered seating on the grass slope opposite hosted many performances before World War 2, but these events have declined greatly. There is a permanent orienteering course in the park. Unusually for a park a small fruit orchard has been planted in memory of David Wright, a well-known local greengrocer. The burn running through the park is home to herons and dippers. Just inside the park at the top of the slope running beside Comiston Road there is an old tram shelter. Said to date from the time of the original Edinburgh trams which ran all the way here.
This park hosted the Scottish National Exhibition in 1908 showcasing industry, agriculture and engineering. View some film of the event. It opened as a public park in 1910. Containing a rose garden, winter garden, paddling pool and bandstand it contained all the classic elements of a mid-20th century park. Now reflecting more modern trends, the park houses a large skate park which is popular with children and teenagers.
With the Union Canal running along the top edge of the park. You can catch rowing clubs practising and check out the colourful canal barges moored there.
Try checking out your local park to see if there are any activities you could take part in. You could just go along to enjoy the open space, plants and wildlife!
By Vivienne Hamilton
Photo source – Julia Solononia