reserve on island
of the most popular walks in the area, which offers visitors spectacular
views and a chance to see wildlife at close quarters, is to be improved.
At present, the Torry Bay Local Nature Reserve route to Preston Island,
from Low Valleyfield and Culross, is not a circular one. This will change,
hopefully this year (2006), when new paths on the eastern side of the
Valleyfield ash lagoons are opened.
The actual reserve, established in 1996, stretches from Logannet Power
Station to beyond Comrie Point, with the ash lagoons and Preston Island
forming a focal point.
There are various flat and wide, easily-accessible routes along and through
the reserve to suit everyone, including wheelchair users.
The mud flats provide an abundance of food for the birds, such as shelduck,
wigeon, curlew, redshank and dunlin that overwinter at Torry Bay. In the
autumn, sandwich tern, ringed plover, ruff and greenshank can be seen.
Pockets of saltmarsh contain colourful flowers such as sea aster, thrift
and scurvy grass.
The ash lagoons are reclaimed land, created from the coal burning operations
at Longannet. The ash is mixed with water and pumped along pipes to the
artificial lagoons - now a haven for wildlife, thanks to extensive tree
Preston Island, although no longer surrounded by water, features several
well-maintained ruins of early 19th century industrial use.
A coal mine, established by Sir Robert Preston, was shut following an
explosion, but the buildings were later to accommodate an illicit distillery.
Fife Council Countryside Ranger Stephanie Little is excited by the latest
developments at the reserve.
people have wanted a circular walk for some time and it will be a real
improvement, being a lot more open, with far fewer fences and a grass
area at Preston Island where people can enjoy a picnic."
The work is being funded by Scottish Power, who manage the ash lagoons.