This September the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative (IFLI) is launching the first ever IFLI Inner Forth Festival – a celebration of this fantastic landscape. Whatever you love about the Inner Forth – the history, the wildlife, the people, there will be something for everyone to enjoy in its month-long programme of free events.
This is the first time ever that a Festival has been held all around the Forth from Blackness to Stirling on the south shore, and back along the north shore of the Forth to Limekilns, in Fife. It will bring together communities from both banks of the river, showcasing the many things they share - in particular a pride in this unique landscape.
In all, a massive twenty-seven free events are planned, with something happening on nearly every day, and in all four local authority areas that border the Inner Forth – Falkirk, Clackmannanshire, Stirling and Fife. The festival has been made possible with the financial support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Natural Heritage and IFLI’s eight project partners.
Activities will include:
- A cruise on the Maid of the Forth to see IFLI’s projects from a new perspective
- A 100-strong conference on wildflower meadows
- A two-week archaeological dig at Cambuskenneth in Stirling
- Arty adventures at Clackmannan Tower
- Bat hunts in Polmont Woods and Culross
- A birding bike ride from Alloa to Falkirk
- Healthy walks for all abilities
- Fascinating exhibitions and talks
- A rare chance to climb the ancient towers at Cambuskenneth and Clackmannan
- Wildlife ID workshops.
- Practical conservation work days
Commenting on the Festival, Kate Studd, IFLI’s Programme Manager, said: ‘A key part of IFLI’s role is to help reconnect local people with the fantastic landscape on their doorstep, and to encourage visitors from outside the inner Forth to come and find out what a great area it really is. Whatever their age, wherever they live, and whether they are interested in history, wildlife, or just like getting out and about, we have tried to make sure there is something for people to enjoy. And because of the way that IFLI is funded by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund all the events are free!’
IFLI’s recently appointed Artist-in-Residence, Darren Woodhead, will also be capturing some of the many facets of the Inner Forth landscape throughout the Festival, and will be engaging with people through his art at a number of the events.
IFLI is a partnership of eight different organisations, and also works with many other charities, community groups and volunteers. In all, 15 different organisations have been involved in the planning of the Festival, working closely with IFLI to deliver this wide-ranging programme of events. Details of all the events and how to book are listed on this website at www.innerforthlandscape.co.uk/eventscal . A festival leaflet will be available from early August in libraries, community centres, museums and many other outlets. Festival news and updates will also appear regularly on IFLI’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.
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.