What is IFF?

What is Inner Forth Futures?

Inner Forth Futures is a Partnership of nine organisations including RSPB Scotland (lead agency), NatureScot, Clackmannanshire Council, Stirling Council, Falkirk Council, Fife Council, Green Action Trust, Historic Environment Scotland and Sustrans.

As a partnership of local authorities, public bodies, charities and community groups, our organisation is inclusive, cooperative and listening, but also decisive, and able to make things happen. The Partnership is working together on a series of projects. You can download our information leaflet here.

Where we work

Our project area includes the parts of Stirling, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire and Fife that surround the Inner Forth.  This landscape defies the rules. Spectacular flocks of waders and wildfowl feed against a backdrop of steel towers and chimneys. Ancient castles gaze down on factories and warehouses, while the relics of past industries are now surrounded by woodlands and wildflowers. At the heart is the tidal River Forth and the dramatic mudflats and saltmarshes along its shores. 

Sadly, many people only see the industry and commerce, while the area’s rich natural, cultural and historic heritage is often overlooked or neglected.  We aim to create a greater appreciation and awareness of this rich heritage.

Our Vision and Objectives

Our vision is that the sense of connection, purpose and place that put the Inner Forth at the forefront of the industrial development of Scotland will be revitalised.  We aim to achieve this using a landscape-scale approach with heritage at its core to engage people in new ways in its future management.

The partnership will achieve this vision by delivering four objectives:

  1. Deliver a strong legacy from the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative that maintains and builds on the success of this previous project
  2. Make the Inner Forth a better area to live, work, visit and invest in by stimulating the promotion and awareness of its natural and cultural heritage assets and sustainable transport options.
  3. Support communities so that they feel confident and empowered to take a greater role in management and promotion of the area’s heritage
  4. Pilot partnership approaches to delivering habitat networks and climate adaptation.

Our Recent Activity

IFLI Legacy Fund

As part of the legacy arrangements of the Heritage Lottery Funded Inner Forth Landscape Initiative (IFLI) that ran between 2014 and 2018, the Inner Forth Futures partnership administers a £123,000 fund to provide one-off grants between 2018 and 2023. Activity that applicants seek funding for must benefit the natural, cultural and built heritage of the Inner Forth or Inner Forth people and communities.The IFLI Management and Maintenance Fund is divided into two discrete pots, each with their own criteria. More information can be found here.

Climate Ready Forth

In 2020 we started to develop a new project: ‘Climate Ready Forth’ with the aim of helping communities, landscape (natural, built and cultural heritage) and economy around the Inner Forth region to build resilience to climate change and develop ways to take mitigation or adaptation actions. During late summer and autumn 2020 we will be carrying out initial engagement with stakeholders and representatives of local communities, through existing groups. We will share further information as we seek funding to further develop project ideas and deliver activity.

Wanderings and Windings

During 2019, Inner Forth Futures received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £47,000 for this exciting heritage project. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, and matched with £20,000 from the IFF partnership, the project worked with local communities to co-create nine heritage trails around Stirling, Falkirk, Fife and Clackmannanshire, that encourage local communities and visitors alike to explore the wildlife and history of this unique landscape at the heart of Scotland. The day-long waymarked walks and cycle routes use existing paths and tracks, from which you can discover some of the many hidden gems to be found around the Inner Forth. These include nature hotspots, historic buildings, riverside views, cultural landmarks or simply places to escape from the bustle of urban life. You can find out more here.

Inner Forth Habitat Network

In autumn 2018 Inner Forth Futures were commissioned by the EcoCo LIFE project to refine and revise an ecological coherence protocol through the Inner Forth Habitat Network Pilot. Using the protocol, we worked with representatives from a wide range of stakeholders, including local authorities, statutory bodies and conservation organisations to identify and map where in the Inner Forth could be best to invest in habitat improvement, restoration and creation, to connect habitats together, and deliver wider eco-system and socio-economic benefits. Find out more about this work and how we are using the mapped outputs here. This regional network is one way that Scotland's Nature Network can be delivered.

In 2020/21 funding was secured through Nature Scot's Biodiversity Challenge Fund to to create and improve wetland habitats at five sites around the Inner Forth. These sites had previously been identified through the Habitat Network, demonstrating how the mapped vision can be delivered through partnership working. Read the press release here. 

What was the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative?

Our vision was of an Inner Forth landscape where the natural, cultural and historical wealth of the area is revealed, valued, enhanced, and made accessible to both the people who live here and visitors. Its important historical and natural landscape would be in good condition, and the future is embraced by a landscape better-able to cope with change.

The Inner Forth Landscape Initiative (IFLI) was an exciting programme of work that conserved, enhanced and celebrated the unique landscape and heritage of the upper reaches of the Firth of Forth. Between May 2014 and September 2018, 54 discrete but inter-related projects took place around the Inner Forth area. Throughout our projects there were many ways that people could take part. This infographic booklet tells you more about some of our achievements.

Through our projects, we were;

The Firth of Forth is the central and dominant feature of the landscape. Not only is it at the centre of the IFLI partnership scheme area, but the cultural history, land use and landscape of the area are physically, visually and strategically linked with the River Forth.

This Heritage Lottery Funded, Landscape Partnership Scheme covered an area of 202 km2 including: the river, estuary and inter-tidal zone; the floodplain and coastal margins; and the settlements on both sides of the Forth from the historic Old Stirling Bridge to Blackness Castle and Rosyth.

Together, projects developed and delivered through IFLI aimed to:

  • turn perceptions of the Inner Forth around and increase local pride in this place,
  • connect disparate habitats to create a landscape flourishing with biodiversity,
  • celebrate, protect and improve access to important historical and natural features,
  • train and support committed and motivated local community groups, individuals and organisations to take action to conserve their area’s heritage, and
  • increase physical and intellectual access to the area’s important heritage.