A lawn and woodland area dating back to the 15th century at Heriot-Watt University’s Riccarton campus in Edinburgh have won an international award for the 12th year in a row.
Green Flag Awards recognise well-managed parks and green spaces across the UK and internationally that are welcoming, clean, safe and biodiverse, with a positive impact on the environment.
Everyone in the team plays their part in the maintenance and improvements in and around campus.
Robbie Fraser, Operations Manager for Landscape, Recycling & Waste at Heriot-Watt University said: "We are delighted to have won this award for the 12th consecutive year. Everyone in the team plays their part in the maintenance and improvements in and around campus and awards like these reflect their efforts throughout the year.”
The 18 people in Heriot-Watt’s Landscape, Recycling & Waste team manage around 360 acres of estate on the University’s Edinburgh Campus. This includes maintaining historical features, managing conservation and biodiversity – including a mix of indigenous and exotic plants – and supporting wildlife.
The Lawn and Central Woodlands at Heriot-Watt were originally designed as part of a country house dating back to the 15th century, with formal gardens later laid out in the 18th century. The lawn has more than 50 plant species, while other features in the surrounding area include dome and drum yew trees and a grassed ‘Velvet Walk’ bordered with rhododendrons, laurel and wild flowers.
The mature central woodland areas contain historic Scottish and exotic plantings and a walled private family cemetery. The central woodland area has recently become home to 50 extremely rare conifers – some of which are on the critically endangered list – as part of the International Conifer Conservation Programme. The programme was established by The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, which lists Heriot-Watt University as one of its trusted partners.
The University’s Landscape Management Plan and Biodiversity Action Plan both commit to minimising the environmental impact of the historic estate, protecting and enhancing biodiversity and conserving historic landscape features.
Jamie Ormiston, Senior Awards Officer at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “Receiving this prestigious benchmark recognises all the hard work that has gone into maintaining and managing these precious green open spaces.
“It is imperative that Scotland reconnects with the natural world if we are to fix the biodiversity crisis and these green spaces will provide a space for people of all ages to do that.”
Keep Scotland Beautiful said the Green Flag Awards recognised the very best of our country’s outdoor areas and supports the opportunities our green spaces provide to enable exercise, improve mental wellbeing and provide safe spaces for play.