Wednesday, 1 March 2017

If You Go Down to the Woods Today ...'re sure of a big surprise!

As we reported back in December, we have been awarded £12,000 through Tesco/Groundwork's Bags of Help scheme. 

Robin Wood of Wildchild Designs has been commissioned to carve a storytelling bench, seat and an entrance way.

Today, was a pretty exciting milestone for the Woodland Learning Zone as installation began on the entrance way!

It's going to look spectactular!

Also being installed today was the Phoenix Storytelling throne.

The storytelling bench and one extra artwork is being installed tomorrow.   Robin has been very mysterious about the fourth piece but we think fairies are involved...

There will be an official 'Earth Day' opening on Saturday 22nd April on the  themes of adventure, learning and John Muir. We really hope you can join us between 12 and 2!

Monday, 13 February 2017

Growing a Garden

Back in September 2010, the Friends of Cuthill Park began the arduous task of clearing the overgrown area where the Garden was to be sited.

It became clear quite quickly that this was a bigger job than any of us envisaged.  Fortunately over a dozen families came along to muck in.
After hacking down the shoulder-height nettles, we discovered a horrendous collection of masonry, metal and various material fused together following decades of fireraising in the park.

We didn't realise then that we were about to embark on a seemingly never-ending treadmill of weeding, planting and weeding.  However, we persevered and today have a real garden (alas, the weeding will never be completely finished, it is a garden after all!).

Key milestones:

October 2011:  we harvested our first crop of squash!

December 2011: Community Justice Team installed stone centrepiece

February 2012: Awarded £3,000 from ELC's Environmental Fund - and a plan starts to emerge!

May 2012: Mobex install timber edging for paths.

November 2012: The 1st Prestonpans Guides weeded the borders of the garden and volunteers laid back to create more paths.

June 2013: Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust were very helpful in planning and securing our shipping container.
October 2013: Volunteers from the Co-op built some raised beds.

March 2014: A huge turnout of volunteers helped to plant a Woodland Trust tree pack to form a hedge along the edge of the garden

May 2014: Cockle shells, reflecting the town's fishing heritage, were put down on top of weed membrane in a boat-shaped bed

April 2015: Mountains of earth were moved and a seating mound created thanks to LDS missionaries.

March 2016: Foundations are put down for paths in the garden

February 2017: A new plan start to take shape...  

 The vision is for three distinct areas: An 'outdoor room', in front of the shipping container; a 'growing area' with an assortment of raised beds; and a 'social space' with ornamental flower beds.

Can you help?

Jobs include:
  • Installation of wooden edging around flower beds and paths
  • Installation of posts (to which a shade sail can be affixed)
  • Welding of hooks on shipping container  
  • Waterproofing of canvas
  • Building of pergolas
  • Landscaping
  • Planting
  • Installation of fence and gates
  • Moving of large boulders
  • Sorting out of shipping container
  • Sourcing a ship's wheel
  • Collecting items

and of course...weeding!

Friday, 6 January 2017

Woodland Learning Day!

Robin Wood, of Wildchild Designs, talked us through the process of making the storytelling bench for our Woodland Learning Zone at his workshop near Stenton in East Lothian.

The greatly simplified version: A 20 foot oak log was split with a chainsaw and the sapwood removed.

The remaining timber was cut into four sections to form a long, curving bench.

An interlapping fish design was drawn in pencil and then a relief carving was made using a router.

It is important that no water is allowed to pool on the bench so the edges need to slope away. 

The huge bench is going to look amazing!!!!

Robin has also started work on the entrance feature that will mark the start of the woodland trail.  

The sign bears the famous John Muir quotation "The Power of Imagination Makes us Infinite".  Below the writing is a seascape with boats and sea creatures (monsters?).  Above the text are planets and spaceships - plenty to spark the imagination for any storytellers!

We also got to paint the lettering on the entrance sign which will probably be one of the first pieces to be installed in the Woodland Learning Zone. 

Thank you Robin for a fascinating insight to your work. We can't wait to see the finished items!

Thursday, 29 December 2016

December Update

New Roundabout

With easy wheelchair access, the new roundabout in the play area, offers endless twirling fun for all abilities. Happy swirling and do tweet us your roundabout selfies!

Woodland Learning Zone

Following in-store voting in Tesco, we are very pleased to tell you that we have been awarded a £12,000 Bags of Help grant! Thank you to everyone who supported us!

Work has already begun to create trails within the woodland thanks to East Lothian Council's Criminal Justice Team.

Robin Wood of Wildchild Designs has been commissioned to carve a storytelling bench, seat and an entrance way. Robin has worked extensively with the Woodland Trust to create the secret homes of the Glingbobs and Tootlflits in Pressmennan Wood so, as well as being sustainable and locally sourced, you can expect something rather magical!

Heritage Labyrinth

Sadly, our labyrinth project didn't make it through to the finals of Aviva Community Fund. However, we are delighted for our neighbours, Preston Lodge RFC, whose bid for child-sized equipment made it to the next stage and we wish them luck. Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote and share the information.

Lothian Folklore Challenge

If you read 'Tim's Tales' in the East Lothian Courier on 24 November, you might have spotted our Clootie Tree! Storyteller Tim Porteus had the great idea to give stories this Christmas and would love to receive folk tales associated with East Lothian places (including Cuthill Park!). You can send your stories to Tim at If you need inspiration, take a look at the Woodland Trust 'Make Believe Game' page.

See you in 2017?
  • Get out more
  • Grow vegetables
  • Reduce carbon footprint
  • Exercise regularly
  • Make a difference
  • Learn new skills
  • Watch less TV
  • Meet new people
Do any of these sound familiar? At the start of each new year, many of us make a New Year's resolution. The Friends of Cuthill Park charity always needs new volunteers so how about we help each other out?

Get in touch! Email:

Winter Fun Ideas

Magic Fairy Doors
Winter Hunt
Twig Star

More ideas here



Friday, 21 October 2016

Prestonpans Labyrinth needs your votes!!!!

Please watch our video and read more about our application to create a labyrinth in Cuthill Park.

Then, we really need as many votes as possible to support our application for funding to the Aviva Community Fund.

You can support as many projects as you like with your votes (up to 10). Spread them around or use them all to support one project- we really hope you will support the creation of a labyrinth in Cuthill Park, Prestonpans.

Here's what CHANGES Community Health Project, an East Lothian charity which was established in 1996 to promote positive wellbeing and provide opportunities for people to find ways towards healthier and less stressful living had to say:

CHANGES through its Healthy Living Project runs Wellbeing Walks in Prestonpans, which were established through a request from the local GP Practice.  CHANGES also runs  regular mindfulness courses which have been beneficial for people coming to the project due to their stress, anxiety and depression.  Having a labyrinth in Cuthill Park in Prestonpans would be an excellent asset to the community and would provide a quiet contemplative space in which to walk or to practice mindfulness techniques.

The labyrinth  would be well used by CHANGES and the local community, as being outdoors in nature either to walk or being mindful can provide wide ranging benefits for mental health and wellbeing. 

Friday, 7 October 2016

Wild Garden Box

We would love the park to be bursting with wildlife so were delighted to learn that the Wild Garden Company are sending us their Autumn box - one of four seasonal boxes which are sent throughout the year to subscribers and packed with wildlife-attracting goodies!

So, what's in the box?!

Help For The Little Ones

Help For The Little Ones

Specially drilled wooden tubes to provide shelter for bees and other insects.
Also included is some ladybird attractant.

Help For Our Prickly Little Park Visitor... 

Hedgehogs usually hibernate from November - March and they must have enough fat reserves to survive this period.
The autumn box contains plenty of hedgehog food and treats to build them up for this critical time of year.

Keeping Our Feathered Friends Full

Keeping Our Feathered Friends Full

Autumn is a time of plenty for birds. However as we move closer to winter and reserves become low they will soon appear closer to home.
Over the next few months, you may notice feeders appearing in the Wildlife Learning Zone.  By keeping these stocked with seed and treats, passing birds will know where to find their next meal.

Thank you Wild Garden Company!

(If you would like to encourage wildlife into your garden, you can subscribe to The Wild Garden Box.  You can even get your first box for just £14.99 with FREE delivery when you enter the coupon code WGB50 at the checkout.)

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Nancy Ovens Play Awards: 'Play in the Community' Commendation

We were delighted when we learned that Cuthill Park had been commended at a recent awards ceremony to recognise quality outdoor play experiences for children.

Cuthill Park was commended in the Play in the Community category of The Nancy Ovens Play Awards.

The nominating party gave the following statement:

This fabulous playground has been developed by the local community. It has a strong focus on natural surroundings, lots of natural materials, a brilliant playground, a viewing post for inspecting the smaller wildlife in the park, a telescope which overlooks the sea to Fife. Lots of green space and is a secure safe place for families to visit. The park hosts occasional small community events and is beautifully decorated with murals painted by local friends of the park and a small allotments area. It's also home to beautiful wrought iron gates. There's something for everyone here! A truly delightful space with a focused community leadership.

To anyone visiting the park for the first time, it is hard to imagine that a mere 4 years ago, the park had no amenities bar a bin and scored the lowest rating in terms of quality of any play park in East Lothian.

We are really thrilled to have our hard work recognised - and not just our efforts - East Lothian Council's Amenity Services team have been very supportive in helping us create a very special play park for all sections of the community. 
Today, the play area is well used and much loved - in fact it must be one of the tidiest play parks around!

Creating the play area has been a lengthy process during which we forged great partnerships with local groups, schools and the Council. We have no intention of resting on our laurels!  We are reinvigorated start to create a Woodland Learning Zone in the park.

We hope you can join us Wednesday 5th October 9.30 - 11.30 to clear the woods of rubbish and form trails.  We'd love to show you our certificate!