At the end of last week, after a trip to Dunfermline, I dropped in to Lochore Meadows for the first time. As I only had a couple of hours, I didn’t manage to see that much of it, but from what I saw it looks like a great place to take the kids (and adults), with plenty of activities on the Loch, and walks around it.
History of Lochore Meadows
The original loch was drained sometime around 1790, when the landowner of the time, a Captain Parks, wanted to extend his cultivated land. Unfortunately for him, it was a project doomed to failure, as the land remained boggy and unsuitable to exploit commercially. The loch gradually refilled over the earlier parts of the 20th century, at the same time as Lochore Meadows was being used by the Mary Colliery coal mine. The subsidence due to the underground mine workings quickened the pace of the refilling loch. The railway embankment serving the colliery became surrounded by water, and is still visible today as islands in the loch.
My Brief Sojourn around Lochore Meadows
I only had time for a quick look at the woods between the main car park (location 1 on map) and the reinforced concrete winding headgear from the old Mary Colliery. (location 6 on map)
At the back of the woods, there is some open meadowland (location 2 on map), which was very wet from all the rain we’ve had recently. After getting covered in mud, walking sandals was probably not the best footwear to be wearing, I did manage to take a few photos, including this one of a European Black Slug (Arion ater). This is a common species of slug found in many a garden, but out here on Lochore Meadows it’s safe from the angry gardener’s clutches.
This slug is mainly nocturnal (so this one was late heading back to shade – it was about 8.00am), and an omnivore, feeding on carrion, fungi and vegetation. The mucus of the black slug is highly distasteful to many animals. The slug, however, does have some natural predators, including the hedgehog, badger, shrew, mole, mouse, frog, toad, snake, carnivorous beetle, and a few birds.
Back in the drier confines of the woods (location 3 on map) surrounding Lochore, there is plenty of moss and lichen covered trees and fallen logs, ideal photo opportunities for someone armed with a tripod and camera.
Whilst walking back towards the old colliery concrete winding gear, I came across these stacked logs, another photo prospect (location 4 on map).
A bit further on, I found what I initially thought was a member of the Umbellifer family, but once I got home I realised it was in fact Common Valerian (Valeriana officinalis). Having lived in Cornwall for much of my life, I was used to seeing Red Valerian, a very common wild flower down there, but I had never seen Common Valerian before!
Close to the Valerian plants (location 5 on map) was some Ground Elder with the ever present Soldier beetles clambering around the flower heads.
All in all, from my first visit, Lochore Meadows is certainly somewhere that I’ll definitely be returning to, hopefully with a bit more time on the next occasion.