Welcome to The Merkinch Greenspace Website
The Merkinch / South Kessock district has for long served as a gateway to the town of Inverness. There has been a ferry sailing between the South and North shores of the Firth since the 13th Century. Up until the mid 19th century South Kessock consisted of a few dwellings at the shore and an Inn for travellers at the pier head. In the 1840s Kessock Lodge was built, then the coast guard cottages that display the fouled anchor emblem.
Many people, local residents as well as travellers have a history of relationships with this locality, it therefore provides an authentic focus for Highland cultural identity.
Scenically the site is simply outstanding with views across to the Black Isle and Westward to the Connon Strath. In addition the wildlife and natural environment attract visitors, locals, school parties and researchers etc.
The most famous residents are of course the Dolphins who may be viewed at the right state of tide and conditions, swimming just offshore. Sightings of Heron, Oystercatcher and many varieties of duck are quite common. In the adjacent lands it is also quite possible to spot Pheasant, Woodcock, Osprey and Kingfisher. Roe Deer have also traditionally roamed the grasslands stretching west to the canal.
In addition to its own intrinsic merits, the area adjacent to the River Ness and waterfront has been identified as a regeneration area within the Inverness Local Plan.
The group now known as Merkinch Greenspace originated in the South Kessock Environmental Project (SKEP), a sub-group of Merkinch Community Council, run by local volunteers.
SKEP activities in the area started with the purchase of 2 benches in 1978 and continued with litter clearances, signage, tree planting, installation of the Boardwalk, wildflower seeding, surveys and other projects.
The groups activities centred around the old Ferry Ticket Office, which continues today as a visitor centre run by volunteers.
An Options Appraisal was carried out in July 2003 to identify a way forward for the group and it was agreed to develop the idea of a new building on the site of the ticket office. To take this forward, a new group was formed in April 2005 - South Kessock Environmental Company.
A Business Development Plan for a new visitor centre was completed in January 2006, but eventually the idea of a new building was deemed not to be financially viable for a variety of reasons and at a meeting in June 2007 the Directors agreed not to continue with the project.
However, the group agreed to continue its activities in the area with a new focus - the Merkinch Local Nature Reserve, which was designated in November 2007. Also in November 2007, the group was renamed Merkinch Greenspace.
For further information about the Merkinch Nature Reserve please visit the website at: http://www.merkinchlnr.org.uk
Merkinch Greenspace has a Management Group in place to deliver the LNR Management Plan and has developed a programme of environmental projects for the Merkinch area. This includes the community garden, the riverbank, hanging baskets and other smaller projects.
The work of Merkinch Greenspace is funded by:
- Fairer Scotland
- Merkinch Partnership
- Inverness City Partnership
- SNH, Highland Council
- Moray Firth Radio
- Central Ward Budget
- Highlands and Island Enterprise - Inverness & East Highland
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