Welcome to our very first IFLI Artist-in-Residence!


Artist Darren Woodhead, who recently appeared on the BBC’s Springwatch,  Autumnwatch and Winterwatch as Artist-in-Residence, is now turning his eyes to the Inner Forth. He is to become IFLI's very first Artist-in-Residence for the coming year, aiming to inspire more people to value and celebrate this unique natural and historic landscape through his stunning paintings. Darren will also be working with local communities through a series of interactive events, to help change perceptions of this sometimes undervalued part of the world.

Commenting on the appointment, Darren said: ‘I have worked for many years along the mouth of the Forth, so to be invited to work higher up in the estuary I find exciting. The combination of a wealth of fauna and flora within a significant historical and industrial setting I find intriguing, with so many possibilities for painting and inspiration. I look forward to the challenges ahead, pushing the way I work and capturing a sense of place.

Sue Walker, IFLI’s Communications Officer, added: ‘We are absolutely delighted that Darren will be our Artist-in-Residence. He paints directly from life, working outdoors in all conditions, so that the weather becomes part of the artwork. His paintings seem to capture the essence of a place in just a few brushstrokes. The Inner Forth is a complex landscape, with spectacular flocks of waders and wildfowl feeding against a backdrop of steel towers and chimneys, and ancient castles gazing down on factories and warehouses. Sadly many people only see the industry and commerce, while the area’s rich natural, cultural and historic heritage is often overlooked or neglected. Darren’s work as Artist-in-Residence will really help us to turn these perceptions around.’

Before becoming IFLI Artist-in-Residence, Darren Woodhead appeared on the BBC’s Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch as their Artist-in-Residence. He has been a professional artist for many years, is a graduate of The Royal College of Art, and has had his work published in a number of books, with two solo titles; ‘From Dawn til Dusk’ and ‘Up River, The Song of the Esk’. He also lectures and runs drawing and painting courses both nationally and internationally. He lives in East Lothian with his family. You can find out more about him, and view some of his work, at http://www.darrenwoodhead.com.

Darren will be visiting IFLI sites all around the Forth, so if you see him at work there when you're out and about please do stop and say hello. He will also be involved in a number of events in the coming months, so keep a lookout for news of when and where on our events calendar and in our enewsletter.

A chance to time travel in Tullibody

Not many people realise that despite the fact that most of the buildings in the small village of Tullibody, near Alloa, are relatively modern, the settlement actually has a history dating back over 6000 years. Hunter-gatherers, Druids, Romans, Picts and Scottish kings have all made their mark there. On May 16th people in the area are being invited to add to that list by joining the Tullibody History Group and the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative (IFLI) for a fascinating free historical tour of the village.

The walk will begin at 2pm, at the Tullibody Heritage Centre, where local history expert Chris Calder, who was instrumental in setting up the Tullibody History Group, will introduce visitors to the village’s heritage. She will then lead a walk around Tullibody’s key historical buildings and sites, revealing some of the many intriguing stories about the village’s past.

Explaining why she became so fascinated with the village’s history, Chris said: ‘I was a district nurse in Tullibody and the older patients kept telling me stories of the "old Tullibody" before it was pulled down in the post-war years, and I thought “all this history is going to be lost”. At that time I didn't know that it went back to 4000BC! I started tape recording some of their stories. Then the Alloa Museum curator of the time put on a slide show which showed a lot of pictures of the old village, and I was astounded that hardly anyone had recorded anything. Then I met some like-minded residents and we formed the history group, followed by opening the Heritage Centre in 2003.’

The walk is part of a suite of activities and events that will be organised over the next three years as part of IFLI’s Like the Back of My Hand project. The project aims to help reconnect more people with some of the special places that are sometimes overlooked within the Inner Forth. It is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the National Lottery. You can contact Sue Walker, 07718 697947, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,for more information.

A big thanks you to our fantastic volunteers

Last Saturday the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative said a huge thank you to some of the many fantastic volunteers who have helped to make IFLI's first year such a success. The event was held at Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Jupiter Urban Wildlife Centre, in Grangemouth, and was attended by local people from all round the Inner Forth area who have worked on IFLI activities as wide ranging as historical research, conservation work, photography, and  landscape restoration.

The volunteers were entertained in a yurt, which was erected especially for the event, and enjoyed activities including pond dipping, tree watching and storytelling! A special IFLI birthday cake, bubbly (non-alcoholic!) and a barbeque lunch completed the celebrations of the amazing achievements that IFLI’s first year have brought, in many cases due to mainly to the hard work of the volunteers.

IFLI Communications Officer, Sue Walker, commented: ‘One of the reasons the IFLI partnership is so strong is that we have an incredible group of volunteers, both in community groups such as Clackmannanshire Field Studies Society, West Fife Woodlands, the Friends of Kinneil and many others, and individuals who are happy to give up their time to take stunning photographs, work as conservation volunteers on our wildlife sites, or research the area’s fascinating past. They have been instrumental in the achievements of our first year, and Saturday’s event was our way of saying thank you.

‘If you would like to get involved as a volunteer please check IFLI’s Volunteering page  for information about volunteering opportunities with IFLI. A number of projects are also led by volunteer groups, such as Clackmannanshire Field Studies Society (Tale of Two Estates), West Fife Woodlands (Valleyfield Community Orchard), who are also always very happy to welcome new members.

IFLI launches free wildlife ID workshops for local people

The Inner Forth Landscape Initiative (IFLI) team has launched a programme of FREE wildlife identification and survey skills workshops for 2015, and are keen to encourage local people to come along.

Forth Nature Counts Workshops 2015 http://www.innerforthlandscape.co.uk/eventscal

Through the Forth Nature Counts project, IFLI has worked with its partner organisations, conservation charities and knowledgeable local volunteers to develop a whole programme of free workshops for 2015. The aim is to encourage the people who come along to use their new-found skills and confidence to keep a record of the wildlife that they see in the Inner Forth area. This will help to increase conservation scientists’ knowledge of the plants and animals found here, and tell them how well or badly they are doing.

Kate Fuller, IFLI’s Community Engagement Officer commented, “Through Forth Nature Counts, we hope the Inner Forth will be a hive of nature recording activity. February 2015 has already seen two popular workshops - Winter Tree ID and Distance Wading Bird ID - take place. Participants were delighted to find a spotted redshank at Kinneil Lagoons - very few of these wading birds overwinter in the UK. We hope our expert-led workshops throughout 2015 will give people the confidence and enthusiasm to identify species and share their records of local wildlife with us.”

Distance Wading Bird ID Workshop at Kinneil Lagoons, Falkirk (Credit P. Barclay)

So far 12 different wildlife ID and survey skills workshops are planned, including bats, invertebrates, saltmarsh plants, and wading birds. People of all ages will also have the chance to become citizen scientists at four Bioblitz that will take place at Balallan House/Central Stirling (Stirling), Gartmorn Damn Country Park and Nature Reserve (Clackmannanshire), SWT Jupiter Nature Reserve (Falkirk) and the Kinneil Foreshore (Falkirk).  No prior knowledge or specialist equipment is needed to attend the workshops. Sessions are open to everyone and free of charge, thanks to the way that IFLI is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. To see the full list of wildlife identification and survey skills workshops on offer, check the IFLI events calendar at http://www.innerforthlandscape.co.uk/eventscal.

If you would like to become a citizen scientist today, the IFLI team is inviting people to submit their wildlife sightings to the online recording scheme called iRecord, where IFLI has its Forth Nature Counts form. The vital components of a record are what species you saw, and when and where you saw it. A photo can be useful for verification purposes. The Forth Nature Counts form on iRecord can be found online at http://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/enter-inner-forth-records.


Practical Conservation Trainees

Seven young people from Falkirk have just started work as practical conservation trainees thanks to a programme supported through IFLI.

The new trainees are the second group to go through the IFLI programme and are engaged and managed through Falkirk Council’s Employment Training Unit. They are supervised day-to-day by TCV Scotland.

During the 13-week IFLI landscape management programme the trainees will be doing practical, work-based training ranging from path maintenance to clearing overgrown scrub, all aimed at increasing their employability. Much of the day-to-day work will be on IFLI project sites throughout the Inner Forth area, including Kinneil Foreshore Local Nature Reserve in Falkirk, and Butterfly Conservation Scotland’s Wester Moss nature reserve in Stirling, where they split their time in the first week.

Through their work trainees will play an important role helping to protect and care for key wildlife and historic sites around the Inner Forth, as well as increasing their skills and knowledge. By completing the Falkirk Employability Award and other recognised training, each trainee on completion of the 13-week programme will build on their positive experiences to support their progression onto further training and employment.

Commenting on the scheme, Kate Fuller, IFLI Community Engagement Officer said, “The Landscape Management Trainee project showcases how well our IFLI projects, which are all funded by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, work together to help conserve, enhance and celebrate the Inner Forth’s landscape. By giving local trainees hands-on experience of working on IFLI’s natural and cultural heritage project sites, we want people to see that these sites not only help tell the story of the landscape, but are places that can be used and appreciated by the community. These places all benefit from careful management, and are ideal sites to help the trainees to develop a range of skills in land and access management.”

Councillor Dennis Goldie, spokesperson for Economic Development at Falkirk Council, said, “This initiative is another excellent example of our work with partners, to help create new and diverse opportunities for young people to gain new skills and experience to help them in their journey towards sustainable employment.”

If you have any enquiries about this IFLI project, please contact Kate Fuller, IFLI Community Engagement Officer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 01324 831 568.