Let’s Preserve the Findhorn Hinterland

Local residents and visitors to the beautiful Findhorn Hinterland adjoining the Findhorn Foundation Ecovillage are invited to share their dream for how this area of dunes, woods and wild spaces could be protected, managed and used in a way that benefits all.

An aerial view across Findhorn Bay to the Findhorn Hinterland

An aerial view across Findhorn Bay to the Findhorn Hinterland

The invitation is to drop in at the Findhorn Village Centre on Thursday 31 March between 10am and 12 Noon or between 4pm and 8pm. It’s a chance to learn more, to meet people who are passionate about the Hinterland and to express hopes and preferences.

Key questions to consider are what do you think of this special place? What do you value? And how do you wish this area to be cared for? The Findhorn Hinterland (the former Wilkie Estate) comprises land east of the Findhorn Village and to the north of the Foundation community and Ecovillage, extending to the western boundary of Kinloss Barracks, the former RAF station. To the north, the boundary is the Moray Firth coastline.

The Findhorn Hinterland Trust is a new charity dedicated to protecting and improving the local environment and has received funding from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop a vision for how this land can be managed in an integrated way for the benefit of the public and local environment.

The Findhorn Hinterland is popular with conservation and educational groups

The Findhorn Hinterland is popular with conservation and educational groups

The current owners of this land are the Findhorn Foundation, Findhorn Dunes Trust and Duneland Ltd and are fully supportive of the trust’s initiative.

Already this nationally important area with its unique habitats is enjoyed by local and visiting nature enthusiasts, families, children and conservation and educational groups, also appealing strongly to hikers, dog walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

It spans around 130 hectares and includes the Wilkies Wood Green Burial Ground that is being developed into a tranquil and welcoming woodlands space for people and wildlife. Just a decade ago the burial site was a scene of devastation when many trees toppled during a severe storm and it has now become a peaceful place that is progressively being replanted with indigenous pine and broadleaf trees.

Jonathan Caddy with Bess

Jonathan Caddy at home in the Findhorn Hinterland where he played as a boy

Jonathan Caddy, chair of the Hinterland Trust, insists: “We have a jewel of a landscape in our backyard at Findhorn – a jewel worth recognising, caring for and valuing. That’s why I am passionate about seeing the right thing happen for this piece of land.”

He recalls that in the early days there were ‘Keep Out Private Property’ signs, although they didn’t deter his boyhood explorations of the woods and wild lands, leading to a lifelong love affair with nature.

“Along with many locals and visitors I greatly value the open land here on our doorstep and not just because it is a rare and diminishing landscape in the UK, but more because it is a place where I can nourish my mind and soul. To wander to the sea over this open, diverse and wild land is a delight. No wonder I feel inspired to care for this unique backyard.”

As pressure from people and ecological change increasingly impact the area, he and others feel a need to conserve the Hinterland and use it sensitively to inspire and nourish others far into the future.

Regular work meets provide an opportunity to get to know the woods and wild spaces

Regular work meets provide an opportunity to get to know the woods and wild spaces

There is a feeling that the Findhorn Hinterland should be legally protected as an important component of a coastline that is recognised to be of international importance for wildlife. Nearby Findhorn Bay hosts a variety of local and migratory birds and enjoys inclusion in an international cooperation to conserve wetlands. The Bay and adjoining Culbin coast and woods also share status as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Interested parties are invited to join the Findhorn Hinterland Trust – membership is free and takes only a few seconds on their website.

Geoff Dalglish

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