Beautiful Walks Along Fife's Hedgerows And Woods

The old 'pit road' that leads to Lochore Meadows Country Park and the horse riding stables further along.
The old 'pit road' that leads to Lochore Meadows Country Park and the horse riding stables further along. | Source

Lochore Meadows Country Park

The main area around my home for walking the dogs is Lochore Meadows - still known locally as 'the meedies'. 'Meedies' is a very old Scots slang word for 'meadow'.

Part of the country park's work - maintained by Fife Council - is conservation work and this includes the hedgerows and local forests.

Not only are these areas great for exercising yourself and your dogs, but hedgerows and woodlands in the UK are often steeped in history as well as natural wonders.

Some of the hedgerows at the country park, showing the old 'pit head' in the background. This was the entrance to the old Mary Pit situated where some of the park is now.
Some of the hedgerows at the country park, showing the old 'pit head' in the background. This was the entrance to the old Mary Pit situated where some of the park is now. | Source
The entrance to the Mary Pit has been left as a memorial to the miners who lived and died here
The entrance to the Mary Pit has been left as a memorial to the miners who lived and died here | Source
An old steam locomotive that was used to carry coal from the Mary Pit at Lochore. This is situated next to the pit head.
An old steam locomotive that was used to carry coal from the Mary Pit at Lochore. This is situated next to the pit head. | Source

Woodlands and hedgerows history and uses

Hedgerows

Basically a hedgerow is a line of trees, shrubs and bushes that from a hedge and act as boundaries for fields and meadows. Many hedgerows in Scotland and the UK are very old and mark original field boundaries.

In the past the hedgerows were used by people for not only food but timber for building and fuel. In addition, hedgerows give shelter from the weather to livestock and crops as well as being essential habitats for wildlife and plants.

In addition, not only are they havens for plants and animals, they may also have a significant role to play in reducing the effect of green house gases by the ability of hedgerows to store carbon. This is one of the main reasons, as well as nature conservation, that the UK's beautiful and precious hedgerows should be a high priority for preservation.

Other reasons why hedgerows are important is their ability to prevent soil loss as well as regulating water so reducing flooding - an issue that has become increasingly important in the UK over the past few years. Hedgerows are also able to store water as well as cleansing it of fertilisers etc. Hedgerows are also an important source of pest control. The reason is that it gives shelter over the winter to animals who feed on insects that would otherwise destroy plants and crops.

Woodlands

Woodlands of course speak for themselves. As well as supplying timber, fuel and food, these beautiful areas are home to a wide variety of wildlife, shrubs, flowers and of course trees. In Scotland, up until the 18th century, about 80% of the land was covered in woodlands. Due to climate changes that didn't favour tree growth, as well as a growing population and increased demand for wood, the forests only inhabited about 4% of the land by the early 20th century. Today this figure has increased to about 17%.

There is an increased movement towards not only planting new forests, but sustaining the historic woodlands that are left. Our woodlands however, are not just beautiful places to visit and home to animals and plants, they are essential for a number of other reasons. For example:

  • stabilising soil,
  • giving out oxygen and storing carbon so reducing green house gases.

Ancient Harran Hill Wood - known locally as the 'blue bell woods' gently slopes down to meet the hedgerows of the old pit road.
Ancient Harran Hill Wood - known locally as the 'blue bell woods' gently slopes down to meet the hedgerows of the old pit road. | Source
The edge of Harran Hill Wood looking over a small meadow to the beautiful gorse at the start of the hedgerows
The edge of Harran Hill Wood looking over a small meadow to the beautiful gorse at the start of the hedgerows | Source
Red Campion - also known as 'adder's flower' - is one of the prettiest flowers of woodland edges and hedgerows.
Red Campion - also known as 'adder's flower' - is one of the prettiest flowers of woodland edges and hedgerows. | Source
The Dog Rose a very beautiful and fragrant part of the hedgerow.
The Dog Rose a very beautiful and fragrant part of the hedgerow. | Source
Sweet briar showing its glorious dark pink/red colouring.
Sweet briar showing its glorious dark pink/red colouring. | Source

Flowers of the hedgerows and woodlands

The walk that I take my dogs on takes in both woodland, hedgerows and a small marsh area just inside Lochore Meadows. At this time of the year you could spend hours with a camera taking photographs of the numerous scenes, trees, flowers and wildlife. I've included some of the main flowers found on the walk both along the hedgerows and along one of the wooded trails.

Red Campion

A very pretty flower that can be found in many hedgerows around this area of Fife. In the past this flower's seeds, when crushed, were used to treat snake bite. This is interesting as the only venomous snake in the Scotland - and the UK - is the adder. One of the alternative names for Red Campion is 'adder's flower'. How often it had to be used is anyone's guess, since the adder is generally a very timid and placid snake.

Bumblebees and butterflies visit this flower often and quite a few species of moth eat the foliage.

Wild Rose

Scotland has a number of wild rose species and two found along the hedgerows at Lochore Meadows are the Dog Rose and Sweet Briar. These beautiful plants attract a large number of insects in the summer and birds later on in the year when the 'hips' are visible. The scent of these roses is lovely, especially on a warm day just after a shower of rain. Rose hip syrup and rose water can be made from these plants, especially from the Dog Rose.

The beautiful golden coloured gorse is a wonderful sight in June and July.
The beautiful golden coloured gorse is a wonderful sight in June and July. | Source
Wild orchid - this is the Northern Marsh Orchid - and can be found at Lochore Meadows at the edge of the forest trails. In this photograph the orchid is surrounded by the ever pretty buttercups.
Wild orchid - this is the Northern Marsh Orchid - and can be found at Lochore Meadows at the edge of the forest trails. In this photograph the orchid is surrounded by the ever pretty buttercups. | Source
A stunning Yellow Iris found on a small marshy area along one of the wooded nature trails at Lochore Meadows.
A stunning Yellow Iris found on a small marshy area along one of the wooded nature trails at Lochore Meadows. | Source

The wooded trails

To finish off I'll show you some of the lovely plants that are found along the wooded trails that I often walk.

Wild Orchid

In the photograph you can see the Northern Marsh Orchid with its beautiful purple colouring. It's surrounded by the pretty and well known buttercups.

Common Gorse

There is no mistaking the beautiful golden yellow flowers of the gorse bushes that are abundant in many areas of Scotland including hedgerows. It's used extensively by birds, insects and mammals.

Yellow Iris

Called either Yellow Iris or Yellow Flag, this is a large beautiful flower that is found in wet/marshy areas. These flowers are found in a marshy area on one of the woodland trails where the trees thin out a little before going back into the thicker wood.

The wooded trails that both myself and my dogs love so much. This is one of the trails through the beautiful and mysterious Harran Hill Wood.
The wooded trails that both myself and my dogs love so much. This is one of the trails through the beautiful and mysterious Harran Hill Wood. | Source
The lovely little buttercup that can be found in the countryside as well as in towns and cities.
The lovely little buttercup that can be found in the countryside as well as in towns and cities. | Source

Enjoying nature at your back door

I hope you've enjoyed this quick tour around the hedgerows and woodland at Lochore Meadows.

I realise that because I live in a semi-rural area it's easy for me to get out and about into the countryside. However, nature is all around you - even in a city. Just put your walking shoes on, take your camera and start to look around - you'll be amazed at what you can find even just outside your own back door.

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Comments 12 comments

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

Beautiful landscape and scenery Seeker7 and the hedge row can be used for bikes and/or horse drawn carriages.. even rik-shaws.. loved it and thank you


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 3 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi my friend Helen, this was a very interesting read and i enjoyed the adventure. I loved all the beautiful photos and they enhanced the read .

Vote up and more !!! Hope you are enjoying a great weekend !


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thank you for this enjoyable look at nature, Helen. Walking in nature is one of my favorite activities. It's lovely to see the scenery where you live!


Elias Zanetti profile image

Elias Zanetti 3 years ago from Athens, Greece

Beaytiful scenery to enjoy a relaxing and calming walk! I agree with you. I you search a little bit you can find places like this even in a city. Voted and pinned!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Frank, lovely to hear from you as always and glad that you enjoyed the hub. Yes, there are a few bikes that do go up and down as well as horse riders. It is a lovely way to spend part of a day!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Tom, hope you had a lovely weekend!

Glad that you enjoyed the hub - I think I'm very lucky to live where I do and having so many lovely to walks to choose from!!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Alicia, lovely to hear from you as always and glad that you enjoyed the hub. I can't think of many activities that is as relaxing as you so nicely put it 'walking in nature'. Having seen many photographs of Canada though, the nature and scenery of your own country is awesome!!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Elias Zanetti, many thanks for stopping by and glad that you enjoyed the hub. Thanks also for the vote and the pin - greatly appreciated!!


Kalmiya profile image

Kalmiya 3 years ago from North America

I love the field of blue flowers under the forest trees! These beautiful scenes bring us serenity in our crazy stressed out world so thanks for the photos and the walk.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Kalmiya, glad that you enjoyed the hub and many thanks for your lovely comment.

Yes the 'blue flowers' are bluebells and this particular wood - Harran Hill Wood - is a very old place and is often called locally the 'the bluebell woods'.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 3 years ago from West Virginia

Seeker, great job on this article. This is such a beautiful place! I love the country there, the beauty, it always gave me that "home" feeling. Maybe I lived there in a past like, hey. Great job as always. Hope all is well with you my friend. Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful, interesting, and shared.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi thelyricwriter, lovely to hear from you as always! How are things with you? Apologies for taking so long to get back to you and also for not visiting your hubs for a while - I'm playing catch up constantly at the moment and way behind with everything!

Now that's interesting about the 'home' feeling you had - well they do say that reincarnation does happen and if we get strong feelings about a place it might be a hint that we were familiar with that place or somewhere similar. It's a very interesting concept to think about!

Many thanks also for the vote up - greatly appreciated!! And by the way, love the photo!! I'm just about confident enough to put my own personal photo up now. I've started an article writing course to get back into writing for hard copy mags and they are really pushing for having a personal photo online, so I'll probably bow to pressure but I hate photos fo myself I always look like a dork! LOL!

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