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!

Friday, 30 September 2016

Wednesday Woodland Workout!

As we mentioned in our previous email, we are creating a Woodland Learning Zone in the wooded area of the park and we really need your help!

In order to begin to form the paths shown on the above plan, we first need to clear the ground of any litter or obstacles, trim back some foliage and stockpile any logs (we'll use them for path edging or habitat piles).

It could be quite physically demanding and parts of the ground are uneven but we would welcome any help, be it for 15 minutes or 2 hours.  Think of it as an outdoor gym! (hard landscaping can burn off 500 calories per hour!).


Physical labour not your thing? Don't worry! It would be useful to record any flora or fauna observed on the day too - or just come along and share your thoughts about this exciting project.

We'd love to meet you!

5th October
9.30 - 11.30 a.m.

(Depending on the weather!)

Bring gloves/tools if you have them

Thursday, 29 September 2016

More play equipment!

East Lothian Council's Amenity Services are a busy lot with responsibility for all 30 public parks in the area.  Additionally, they look after:
  • 624ha of grass                   
  • 2 golf courses
  • 47km of coastline               
  • 159ha of woodlands          
  • 37 burial grounds
  • 14 ha of shrubs                   
  • 800 litterbins
  • 110 play areas                    
  • 270km rights of way
  • 91 grass sports pitches       
  • 41,712km of roadside kerbs!              
This week, Amenity Services installed two new pieces of play equipment in the park.

Both items are from Inclusive Play whose vision is to design, develop and manufacture quality products that enable children – no matter what their ability – to play together.

Watching other things move can be engaging and therapeutic. 

The Collider central panel rotates to allow the bearings to drop and fall making a sound.

The Tactile Topiary play panel provides a number of different tactile experiences such as spinning and moving counters - great for developing coordination and practising fine motor skills.

We were delighted to learn that an inclusive roundabout will be installed shortly - more about this later.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Tesco Bags of Help - Please vote for us!

When we carried out our consultation in 2014, after seating and play equipment (which has now been installed), other suggestions included:
  • Storytelling Area
  • Wildlife/Nature Information Boards
  • Woodland Walks
We are delighted that our project, the creation of a 'Woodland Learning Zone',  will receive funding from the Bags of Help scheme!  

Bags of Help offers community groups and projects in each of Tesco’s regions across the UK a share of revenue generated from the 5p charge levied on single-use carrier bags.

The purpose of the Woodland Learning Zone (shown below hatched green) is to facilitate natural play and learning in a woodland setting.  We will be working with the East Lothian Council Ranger Service to ensure the area is as wildlife friendly as possible.

The more volunteers we have, the more we can achieve, so please get in touch if you would like to be involved in any way.

The public will now vote in store from 31 October to 13 November on who should receive the £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 awards.  How much Cuthill Park receives is up to the voters at Musselburgh Tesco!

So what does this mean for Cuthill Park?

Well, £8,000 worth of funding could purchase:
  • Story circle seating
  • A Storytelling Chair
  • Interpretation Boards
  • Fairy Doors and Windows
If we were lucky enough to win £10,000, we could also commission a bespoke entrance way to the Woodland Learning Zone.  Can you imagine how exciting that would be for young visitors to the park?
If we received the highest number of votes and were to be awarded the top figure of £12,000, this would enable us to purchase and install a sculpture within the woodland area.
Volunteers have already worked hard to prepare the groundwork for this project -  we are so excited that it is finally going to happen! (you can see the progress made here)

Next time that you are in Musselburgh Tesco, please consider voting for the Friends of Cuthill Park's Woodland Learning Zone project!

Monday, 6 June 2016

The Queen's Birthday

This Sunday (June 12th) we're having a family fun day at Cuthill Park for the Queen's Birthday. 


Pack a picnic, bring all the family along & join in the fun! 

Activities will include: 
school kids flags, traditional sports & games, tattie tossing, bowling for all, rugby tag demos, and, of course, birthday cake eating!

The Rugby Club will be doing teas and coffees & will have their clubhouse open. 

There will hopefully be the unveiling of the latest mural, painted by children at the Potteries art class.

The Prestonpans Gala Queen will be planting a special tree in the community garden to commemorate the event. 

We hope to see you there! 

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Weeding, Woodcutting & Soil-moving

Today's work day in the community garden, in more glorious sunshine, went well.

Our wonderful new Treasurer, Linda, & her husband, Gordon, cleared the grass out of the cockle shells during the week. It looks so much better now! 

Linda & Zoe hard at work.

Chief lumberjack, Gordon (who also doubles as chief painter-of-raised-beds).

Trainee lumberjack, Rebekah, assisting in clearing away a sycamore to create space for the new mural to be put in. 

There will also be work days on Saturday 11th & Saturday 18th June, 11-1pm (& beyond). Everyone is welcome to come & help!

Friday, 20 May 2016

Coffee morning & AGM

The Friends of Cuthill Park are holding a coffee morning at Prestonpans Town Hall on Saturday 21st May from 10am until noon. 
There will be opportunities for children & adults to make their own fairy/hobbit/mouse door, and to learn how to draw labyrinths, plus other activities such as face painting.
We will be displaying photos of the park & community garden, discussing our future plans and asking for feedback & ideas. Please come and join us! 
Our AGM will also take place briefly around 10am.

Some sample fairy doors: 

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Raised beds - all systems go!

In the community garden the raised beds are almost all freshly dug & ready for planting.
We spent an hour there this afternoon, being productive & then relaxing in the sunshine. Cuthill Park is beautiful & full of birdsong at this time of year - a great place to leave the cares of the world behind and de-stress. 

8 month old sleeping, 4 year old making a muddy mess, 7 year old learning to plant leeks & 11 year old managing to take a non-blurry photo! 

Look at all that freshly dug soil! 
There's more top soil in the pile up the hill from the container if any raised bed holders need more (might need sieving though). 

Collapsing in an exhausted heap at the top of the hill to sun bathe.

The obligatory roll down the hill. 8 month old not quite sure how to join in with that just yet.

So, now things are being planted in the beds please, if you walk your dog in Cuthill Park, keep them out of the community garden. Several hours of work (not to mention the money invested in seeds & seedlings) can be destroyed by an excited/out of control dog in a few seconds. 

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Magnificent Magpost!

We are grateful to East Lothian Council for installing the MagPost in the Play Area.

You may recall that we were awarded civic pride funding for the Magpost with the aim of fostering a greater respect and understanding of the flora and fauna of the park.

We ordered the MagPost from Caledonia Play,  a Scottish company whose play equipment is made using slow grown, treated timbers from sustainable managed sources. 

The MagPost incorporates a scientific quality 5x magnifying glass on a hardwood post. This, along with it's accessibility makes it an ideal means for exploring the natural world and encouraging experimentation to stimulate a child's knowledge of science through play.

We would love to see how you use the MagPost - tweet us a photo (@cuthillpark)

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Impromptu Litter Pick

The team.


And more flyers.

Several large pieces of luggage were discovered. 

And just when we thought there couldn't possibly be any more of those flyers ... 

And now the wildlife area under the trees is looking much better. No photos of that unfortunately as we were playing too hard in the park to remember to take any at the end. 

From Cuthill Park, with love!

Friday, 1 April 2016

More Paths & a Patio

Here's a look at today's progress on the community garden paths. Not long now until the concrete surfacing is finished. 

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Help to have your dog micro chipped

From April it will be compulsory for all dogs to be microchipped

All dogs in Scotland are required to be microchipped following the introduction of a new law aimed at helping to reduce the number of lost and abandoned dogs.

Dog owners across East Lothian will be able to get their pet microchipped at a reduced rate thanks to an initiative between East Lothian Council and Animals 1st veterinary practice based in Macmerry and Haddington.

Cabinet member for Environment, Cllr Norman Hampshire, explained:
“Microchipping is an invaluable aid to help reunite owners with lost or stolen pets. It can also help to reduce the number of strays taken to rescue centres because their owner couldn’t be traced. From April 2016 all dogs in Scotland will be required to be microchipped so this initiative by the council and Animals 1st will help owners comply with the new legislation. Dog owners simply need to contact the council’s safer communities team to receive a voucher which they then use to make an appointment at Animals 1st and get their dog microchipped for only £6 instead of the usual cost of £18.”
Dog owners interested in getting a voucher should contact Amenity Officers  Tel: 01620 827310 or 01620 827388 or email

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Who's watching you?

The Prestongrange and Cuthill community are the park's eyes and ears and are urged to report dog fouling, vandalism and other anti-social behaviour with the park.

East Lothian Council has set up a dedicated telephone helpline/e-mail address so you can report this or seek advice in a safe, easy and effective way.

Telephone: 0845 601 8518 or the police on 101
Report online here

In an emergency always dial 999.

The vast majority of visitors to Cuthill Park are considerate, respectful and law-abiding, however, to the few who are intent on criminality we would remind them..... are being watched.


We love your photographs!

It makes us so happy to see photographs of people enjoying Cuthill Park so please, please do keep sending them to us!

You can either tweet us @cuthillpark or email

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Paths Under Construction

Work is well under way in the community garden, with the foundations mostly down for the paths and the patio area in front of the container.

These paths are going to make things so much easier! The garden will be more accessible and there will be much less path maintenance required. We are looking forward to them being completed.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Meeting: 29 March 10a.m.

There will be a meeting of the Friends of Cuthill Park on Tuesday 29th March at 10 am at the Pennypit centre's cafe. Everyone is welcome to attend.

We will be discussing a few general 'housekeeping' items and making sure our current constitution meets the requirements of charitable status, as well as, time permitting, looking at the year ahead.

We hope to see you there.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

A questionnaire on Urban Land Reform

We have been asked to share the following survey amongst people connected with Cuthill Park, to help the survey author, Adam Searle, in his research into urban land reform. If you have a few minutes to spare he would very much appreciate your filling in the survey for him.

The survey is available here:

Adam says:

'I am a fourth-year undergraduate at the University of Edinburgh, reading Ecological and Environmental Sciences. I am currently undertaking research for my dissertation thesis, which is focussed on the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill 2015, particularly on the societal effects of community-centric urban land reform. I found Friends of Cuthill Park in the Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust directory, and think your opinions would help me greatly in my research.

I have developed a short questionnaire (10-15 minutes’ completion time) which I intend to use in order to gauge the attitudes and beliefs of contrasting communities likely to be affected by the proposed bill. 

Please feel free to circulate this survey amongst your colleagues. A wide range of responses will help me better understand the attitudes of individuals within different community groups toward urban land reform.'

Many thanks for your help.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Wet & muddy!

The path/track along the bottom of the park (through an almost-pond at the moment) now looks like this:
And around the corner to the community garden: 

This will allow the heavy machinery into the garden to do the scheduled work. 
The pile of topsoil has been spread over the garden, making it look rather wet, muddy & uninviting. Things will improve, we promise! 

And other (less earth-moving) changes: the fennel has been transplanted (in a hurry - feel free to adjust it if you're down there!) to get it out of the way of the planned pathway in the corner of the garden, which will lead out to the car park by the bowling club. There are a couple of rescued gooseberry bushes in there too, so we'll see how they settle in.

And all the raised beds have been claimed for the year, now. You can be put on a waiting list if you're interested in taking one on though :) 

Monday, 8 February 2016


Machines moved on site today to dig out the park & lay hardcore for the path foundation. 

(Early morning photo, taken whilst walking my son's newspaper delivery route with him - it's not normally this gloomy-looking in the park!) 

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Preparation ...

Work has already begun in the park! In case you are wondering what is going on, here's a brief outline: 
The council are putting in a path along the bottom of the park to allow vehicle access to the community garden for Rollo, the contractor who will be working there, in order to avoid damage to the grass. Hardcore for the path will be delivered to the car parking spaces on Bankfoot, & moved into the park by diggers.  
Rollo will be clearing the area by the container in preparation for putting a patio in front of it and moving the soil mound into the garden area to level it. They will also be clearing the area just inside & to the left of the park gates. 

It's exciting to have work starting so soon - well done to all the highly organised people who have made it happen! 

Sunday, 24 January 2016


Happy New Year, everyone!

All has seemed quiet over the autumn & winter, but there has been a lot going on behind the scenes, including successful funding applications & helpful meetings with the council.

Funding has been successfully applied for from East Lothian Council's Civic Pride Fund; The Coalfields Regeneration Trust and the Preston Seton Gosford (PSG) Area Partnership. These funds will make a huge difference to the park & will be used for various projects, such as the following:

  • Opening the bricked up passageway in the corner of the community garden & putting in a gate, allowing easy access from the main road, by the small car park.
  • Putting slabs down on the area in front of the container, to allow for a useful community space (with a beautiful outdoor table donated from the old power station). 
  • Resurfacing the community garden paths with a much more resilient & low-maintenance surface.
  • Soft planting around the garden & park. 
  • More seating around the park.
  • Signage at the nearby road junctions & on the road outside the park gates. 
  • Dog waste bins.
  • Re-opening the path from the park to Prestongrange Museum (this may take a while to finalise, but the funds are in place. The council is negotiating with the golf course.)
  • Possibly including paths through the length of the park allowing disabled access (depending on funds remaining & whether the Prestongrange path is undertaken this year or left until next year.)

So, all in all, it's looking like there is a great year ahead for the park! 

We hope to have a meeting in the next month or so to plan some events for the park, & we'd love for more people to be involved, so please get in touch if you'd like to help plan/organise/advertise/run anything.

Also, for those of you who have been responsible for a raised bed over the past year, please let me know whether you'd like to continue for the next year, or not.  

We may have a community bed that anyone can help with & that the community can harvest together at the end of the growing season. Let us know if you'd be interested in this.

Hope to see some of you soon.

Best wishes,


Secretary, Friends of Cuthill Park