SUP Newsletter – May 2012

It’s great to see spring bringing it’s splash of colour and awakening vibrancy to the countryside, it’d be even better if it was a bit warmer though!  Leaves and plants seem to have been edging their way our for weeks, restraining themselves and holding out for a bit more sun no doubt.  Lambs have less choice! and I see increasing numbers of cattle dotting the fields that are low on slowly emerging grass but leaving silage stores behind that must be even less abundant……….

Here at SUP we’ve been busy keeping projects going and, as ever, seeking funds to continue our work. To that end, we continue to review what it is we do, for whom and how. We know just how much work is needed to ensure the economic, social and environmental health of south Scotland is kept at the forefront of policy makers minds, and that our experience, our abilities to attract funds and our ability to work across borders offers us real potential to be at the heart of thinking and delivering on behalf of the area. The fast changing world in which we exist makes it all the more important that we are able to articulate a clear message about our role and ‘place’. We shall be giving this some concentrated attention very soon, with the aim of engaging our partnership in a dialogue about the way in which SUP develops and responds to increasingly challenging environments on behalf of south Scotland.


Our Annual General Meeting is to be held on 3rd July, beginning at 10.30am at the Buccleuch Arms, Moffat.  The board will conduct its formal business in the morning, to which partnership members are most welcome.  Refreshments will be served.

For our afternoon event, beginning at 1.30pm, we have been very fortunate to secure Mark Gibson as our speaker.  He is the owner of the Craigengillan Estate, near Dalmellington where he has transformed an ailing area through the establishment of a range of innovative partnerships and bold initiatives, including a Dark Skies Observatory and a thriving stables.  His story is thought provoking and genuinely inspirational, I have never seen him speak about the estate and not be inundated with questions and positive comments, well worth putting in your diary.  Again, refreshments will be available.

For more information on the Craigengillan Estate and story see:

For Your Diary

The Flodden 1513 Ecomuseum

The 9th September 2013 marks the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden.  The battle was a Scottish tragedy involving the death of 10,000 common soldiers, nearly 100 noblemen and the Scottish King, James IV.  Yet apart from the north of Northumberland these catastrophic events are largely unknown in England despite their influence in shaping British and European politics for the next 100 years, culminating with the union of the English and Scottish crowns  in 1603.

As part of the programme of projects and events commemorating the battle, communities on both sides of the border have come together to establish Britain’s first cross-border ecomuseum, see: Here you will find details of the Flodden 1513 ecomuseum sites, community projects and events that are contributing to the commemoration and the ongoing remembrance of the Battle of Flodden.

Which sites should be next for the Flodden 1513 Ecomuseum?

We are seeking your nominations and ideas for sites to include in the Flodden 1513 Ecomuseum. If you have thoughts on this then we would like to hear from you. We are looking for sites that have an association with the events of the Battle of Flodden and its wider campaign (August and September 1513) which you feel deserve to be added to the Flodden 1513 Ecomusuem. It may be a palace or a castle, a mill or a bridge, the home of a banner or flag from the battle, a memorial or a place where the battle has created a legend or tradition – all ideas are welcome.  Please go to the web-site and let us know your thoughts, or maybe join us at one of the following events:

Thursday 17th May, 7pm, Duns, Southfield Community Centre
Monday 21st May, 7pm, Crookham Village Hall
Monday 28th May, 7pm, Kelso, Abbey Row Community Centre
Thursday 31st May, 7pm, Newtown St Boswells, Newtown Community Centre

Achieving Impact with community benefit/investment seminar

This seminar is for communities, support organisations and developers who want to share practice and learning about some of the practical ways community benefit/investment funds are being implemented locally and the impact being achieved for communities. Organised by the Scottish Community Foundation and HIE in partnership with Scottish Hydro, DTAS, SEA and CES, the seminar will be an opportunity to share knowledge, discuss issues and get inspired. The event takes place in Strathpeffer on 30th May.

You can find more information at

Renewable Heat Incentive Awareness Raising Event

A Renewable Heat Incentive Awareness Raising Event will take place on 29th May at Whittengehame Estate, Haddington. This free event is organised by the Borders Machinery Ring and will be of interest to those thinking about renewable heating systems.

You can get more information at

Community Growing – making local food work

The free Community Growing – making local food work event takes place on 17th May at Battleby Conference Centre from 9.30am  to 4pm. The Keynote speaker will be Minster for the Environment and Climate Change, Stewart Stevenson MSP. Participants at this free event will explore the increasing demand for community food growing areas in rural and urban locations. Case studies and active workshops will share a number of ways this can be delivered and include examples of best practice. You can get more information at .


Woodland Heritage in Dumfries & Galloway: 2 Day Seminar
DATES: Thursday 7th and Friday 8th June 2012
LOCATION Crown Hotel, Newton Stewart
TUTORS See below
 OUTLINE – Day 1
9.00-9.30 Registration/Tea & coffee Cree Valley Community Woodlands Trust (CVCWT)
9.30-9.45 Welcome, introductions, housekeeping Pete/Linda, CVCWT
9.45-10.15 Overview of Woodland Heritage; What is it? Why study it? How to study it? Peter Norman, Biodiversity Officer D&G Council
10.15-10.45 Dumfries & Galloway’s map history & the value of maps for woodland heritage studies. Graham Roberts, D&G library/archives
10.45-11.00 Tea break/Displays
11.00-11.30 Timber in buildings in D&G before 1750; concepts of timber availability and shortage. Archie McConnel, McConnel Wood Products
11.30-12.00 Plant indicators of Ancient Woodland in D&G David Hawker; Plant recorder for Kirkcudbrightshire, Botanical Society of British Isles
12.00-12.30 Questions/discussion All
12.30-1.30 Lunch
1.30-4.30 Wood of Cree Site visit All
 OUTLINE – Day 2
9.30-9.45 Introductions/ review of day 1 Peter Norman
9.45 -10.15 Place name evidence for Woodland and Hunting in Galloway & Carrick Michael Ansell
10.15-10.45 Woodland Industry and crafts Peter Quelch, Woodland Consultant
10.45-11.00 Tea break/displays
11.00-11.30 Types of historic woodlands, veteran & worked trees, ecological evidence Peter Quelch, Woodland Consultant
11.30-12.00 Tree-ring evidence Coralie Mills, Dendrochronologist/Environmental Archaeologist
12.00-12.30 Field techniques/woodland archaeology Coralie Mills, Dendrochronologist/Environmental Archaeologist
12.30-1.30 Lunch
1.30-4.00 Knockman Wood site visit All
4.00-4.30 Sum up and thank you/finish Peter Norman/CVCWT

Other News

South Scotland Company Achieve Green Glory

White Hill Design Studio LLP, based in Moffat, has won a Green Apple Environment Award in the national campaign to find Britain’s greenest companies, councils and communities for the Dormont PassivHaus project.

The 8 houses were completed in July 2011 and are now fully occupied.  The project has achieved a number of UK firsts, being the first multiple rural certified PassivHaus project and was part funded by the Scottish Government as part of the Rural Homes For Rent project to encourage private landowners to deliver affordable housing in rural areas.

David Major, partner at White Hill Design Studio said ‘We are delighted at receiving this award. It has taken a lot of commitment and a strong project team to realise such a forward thinking scheme. In particular we are lucky to have Dormont Estate as a client who not only has a deep commitment to ecological design but also a strong social commitment to our rural area and the courage to put their money where their mouth is and deliver the houses.’

houseThe main contractor for the project was CCG of Cambuslang. They manufactured the houses on their CCG OSM advanced timber frame production line, delivering wall panels complete with factory fitted external cladding and doors and windows. This has significant environmental benefits by reducing waste and transport but also ensures the very high quality of construction needed to comply with the very advanced energy efficiency and air tightness required to achieve the PassivHaus certification.

Jamie Carruthers of Dormont Estate is the client for the project and he says ‘We set out in the early stages of the project to produce a feeling of community at Dormont Grange and the completed development is a place that people want to live and blends into the site straight away which I feel is the mark of a successful development. We set out to prove that it was possible to deliver highly energy efficient houses within commercial budgets and to deliver these affordable houses within budget has also been a great achievement which will hopefully encourage more people to build this way.’

houseThe award for White Hill Design Studio follows hot on the heels of the success of the Dumfries & Galloway Housing Partnership’s multi award winning Municipal Terrace project on which David Major was the low-energy and ecological design advisor. He said ‘At a time when the construction industry is really struggling, it is very rewarding to be associated with both projects but also to know that there are clients in Dumfries & Galloway with the courage to lead the way in delivering the low-energy buildings of the future.’

The Green Apple Awards began in 1994 and have become established as the country’s major recognition for environmental endeavour among companies, councils, communities and countries.

The awards are organised by The Green Organisation, an independent, non-political, non-activist, non-profit environment group dedicated to recognising and promoting environmental best practice.

For more information contact David at:

White Hill Design Studio LLP
Annan Water
DG10 9LS
T: 01683 221 898
F: 01683 501 064

A Rural Parliament for Scotland

What’s it all about?
The creation of a Rural Parliament for Scotland is a unique opportunity to enable a stronger, more coherent voice for Scotland’s rural communities.  It is inspired by the success of the Rural Parliaments in other European nations.  A successful Scottish Rural Parliament must be firmly rooted in Scotland’s rural communities, developed by and for the people who live and work in rural Scotland.

It is supported by the Scottish Government to enable more effective engagement with Scotland’s rural communities.

A seminar on May 29 2012 will be the first opportunity for representatives from across rural Scotland to hear directly from the European Rural Parliaments and to discuss the opportunities that this initiative may present for Scotland.

The event will be attended by representatives from rural communities, rural networks and third sector organisations, local and national government.  This is an evolutionary process.

Nothing has been decided and all views and ideas will be welcomed.

What is a Rural Parliament?
‘Rural Parliament’ is not a formal part of government, nor is it a parliament in the sense of a legislative or decision-making body.  It is a ‘bottom-up’ process of involvement and debate between the people of rural Scotland and policy makers to enable better understanding, improved policy and action to address rural issues.

It is a process which takes place over a two-year period, culminating in a high profile event, the Rural Parliament, which brings together all sectors of rural society to highlight rural issues and to discuss rural priorities with each other and with Government.

It is focused on achieving practical and policy based outcomes relevant to the challenges and opportunities facing rural people.  These outcomes are monitored and further developed in the period between Rural Parliaments.

It has been proposed that a Scottish Rural Parliament should be:

  • open to and inclusive of all who live and work in rural Scotland
  • led by rural communities in co-operation with Government
  • a forum for those who live and work in rural Scotland to discuss and debate issues of common concern and to share good practice, knowledge and inspiration
  • an opportunity to celebrate and showcase the richness, diversity and success of Scotland’s rural communities
  • dedicated to identifying and promoting changes in policy and practice that will benefit Scotland’s rural communities and achieving a coherent and influential rural voice
  • part of a continuing process of engagement between Scotland’s rural communities.

Why do we need it?
Scotland does not have a single mechanism for enabling a collective rural voice, inclusive of all interests and geographical areas. There are few opportunities for the collective interests of rural communities to be raised, debated and
communicated to Government.  The lack of such a mechanism often results in
issues being addressed sectorally or geographically, with no clear process for gaining a comprehensive, grass-roots view of rural issues.

The evidence from other parts of Europe has revealed the benefits to rural areas of their Rural Parliaments in achieving this.  All rural communities face similar challenges and opportunities, and the Rural Parliament will provide the opportunity for communities across Scotland to come together for mutual benefit.  It is hoped that the proposed biennial gatherings of the Parliament will be just one element in the growth and development of a process of increased engagement and connection between Scotland’s rural communities.

New Resources to Help Nature Based Tourism Businesses Grow Coming SoonTourism Intelligence Scotland (TIS) have announced that a new guide to help tourism businesses in Scotland develop their business and attract more wildlife tourism customers will be launched at the end of the month.

‘Wildlife Tourism in Scotland’, produced in conjunction with Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and Wild Scotland, aims to provide businesses with information on how to tap into the growing market of wildlife tourism, including information on who wildlife tourists are, how they behave and how the latest trends can be used to grow business.

The guide includes a great range of case studies highlighting how businesses across Scotland are tapping into the wildlife and nature market. These include:

  • Find out how visitors to Cream O’ Galloway in Dumfriesshire are learning about the benefits of organic farming through a programme of events including ‘Hedgerow Safaris’, bird calling sessions and dawn chorus walks
  • Wild Rose Escapes near Beauly in the Highlands are tapping into the trend for outdoor holidays by offering wild wookery weekends and craft weeks, teaching traditional techniques such as nautral dyeing
  • Wild at Heart in Moray are promoting volunteering holidays, giving guests the opportunity of working with a chef to learn seasonal cooking, and have recently started offering retreats and pampering weekends that include gentle wildlife-watching, meditation, creative writing or painting

You can find out more about how TIS and the ‘Wildlife Tourism in Scotland’ guide can help you and your business by visiting, where you can also register your details to receive a hard copy of the guide when it is released towards the end of May.

Get involved with Northern Lights video documentary project

As part of the Year of Creative Scotland 2012, the Northern Lights project is asking members of the public to record their own videos of Scotland’s past, present and future. Videos will be used to create a unique documentary which will tour Scotland later this year. You can upload your videos from 20th March until 21st June 2012. The prize for each submission of the week is £100. There is also a £10,000 award fund available for the best contributions across different categories.

Find out more at .

Get information to Grow Your Own on new website

Grow Your Own Scotland is an initiative which seeks to create a single resource for all grow your own and greenspace organisations throughout Scotland. They have launched a new website – – which gathers together useful information for those looking to grow their own, including case studies, news and links to funding.

SNH announce additions to national network of long distance trails

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has announced that three new trails have been added to the national network of long distance routes, known as Scotland’s Great Trails. The recently completed Berwickshire Coastal Path, Rob Roy Way and Great Glen Canoe Trail bring the total number of routes in the network up to 23, spanning over 1,500 miles.

Find out more at

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