Kinross charity aims to plant 1400 trees at planned new outdoor education centre

Kids in Glenrothes could soon help to plant 1,400 trees on their doorstep under new plans for an outdoor education centre.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 4:20 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd March 2021, 4:27 pm

Nature's Nook, a Kinross-based charity, hopes to build what it brands a "woodland learning facility" to the north of the Pitcairn Centre on the northern edge of the Fife town.

It wants youngsters, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to learn more about appreciating the great outdoors, with on-site staff educating kids about the health benefits of being surrounded by nature.

Under its plans, submitted to Fife Council last week, four "Basecamp" cabins will be erected each with a kitchen, play area and toilets, ideal for visiting groups of children from schools and community groups.

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The outdoor education centre would be a 'woodland learning facility'

To the north of the "snug" cabins the charity wants to replant 1400 native Scottish trees across a hectare of land in collaboration with the Woodland Trust - with kids visiting the centre helping to plant the trees themselves.

"Social benefits will include collaboration with the local community and involve them on projects on site such as tree planting, building bird boxes and vegetable growing, allowing generations to share skills with each other," the charity's planning agents said in a statement.

"The impact of this forward-thinking project will be a valuable and inspirational asset for environmental education, with relation to the ambitious climate change pledge the Scottish Government has made.

"Removing barriers to accessing the outdoors, such as handwashing facilities and fenced areas, Nature’s Nook will have a significant impact on the lives of young people and the opportunities that open to them."

However, the charity will have to justify the development in the countryside before its permit can be signed off. Fife's planning policies generally oppose building outside of existing settlements.

Nature's Nook says their agenda aligns with these rules, stating plainly that it was "not reasonable" to try to replicate the sights and sounds of the woods in the middle of Glenrothes town centre.

Operating from 9.30am to 5pm seven days a week, the new outdoor centre would expect to fill no more than three of its four Basecamps each day and anticipates having a positive impact on the local environment and biodiversity thanks to the extensive tree planting that is planned.

The proposal will go before Fife's Central and West Planning Committee in the coming months.

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