Nature Restoration Fund sheds light on Brechin Den

Published on Tuesday 25 April 2023

Work to make Brechin Den a better environment for wildlife and to be more accessible for people to enjoy has been completed.

The project received a timely boost in December last year when Angus Council received a Nature Restoration Fund award of £22,724 from Nature Scot to carry out additional daylighting at the Den.

Nature restoration work at Brechin Den

The Scottish Government Nature Restoration Fund is a £7.6 million scheme established to promote projects across Scotland to expand forests, restore habitats, protect threatened species and improve our resilience to climate change.

Brechin Den is an important open space located near the town centre, next to the Brechin Cemetery.

The Den was underused, unloved and frequently wet underfoot, and so the Council set to work with a plan to make environmental improvements by carrying out biodiversity enhancement works. The ambition is to improve opportunities for wildlife in the Den and, at the same time, allow people to enjoy the open space.

The project made best use of a Nature Restoration Fund direct award in 2021/22 and has included the introduction of a footpath link, a seating area and an interpretation board, which will be put in place shortly.

Invasive ornamental plant species were removed and a range of willows, wet meadow mixtures and wetland plants have been planted in the Den – including marsh marigold, purple loosestrife, meadowsweet and yellow flag iris. Together, they will help to and will support a wide range of wildlife and in particular bird and bat species. The area has already seen an increased number of bees and Dippers.

Nature restoration project at Brechin Den

A section of the Caldhame Burn was daylighted in 2021. Daylighting means to open up buried or covered watercourses and bringing them into the open air and, in so doing, enhance the ecology and well-being of the area. A collapse of the ancient stone culvert further upstream led to a further 23 metre section of the burn being brought above ground, while naturalising the environment on its way through the open space.

A series of small in-stream stepped structures, made of natural stone, have been introduced to overcome the change in levels. These new features have the added benefit of creating more habitat for freshwater invertebrates.

Earlier this year, Angus Council’s efforts to give nature space to breathe have received a further £150,000 boost from the Scottish Government’s Nature Restoration Fund.

The money will help to deliver projects that are designed to support the restoration of nature, safeguard wildlife and tackle causes of biodiversity loss, notably the loss of natural habitat and climate change.

The Council’s journey to net-zero by 2045 focuses on key themes including nature-based solutions, and working with businesses, land managers and communities to secure nature rich, resilient places.

A number of projects in Angus have been identified for the latest Nature Restoration funding, and allocation of these funds was approved at Communities Committee (Report No.385/22).

We have a strong commitment, through the Tayside Local Biodiversity Action Plan 2016-26 which sets out 140 projects, to protect the multitude of flora and fauna across the area. In addition to fulfilling requirements of the Nature Restoration Fund, these projects will also deliver Biodiversity Action Plan priorities.

Nature restoration work at Brechin Den