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Friends News

Picnic Drive At Plean Country Park

Pony Trap

The Forth Driving Group RDA spent a most enjoyable picnic drive at Plean. While being relaxed the route driven gave plenty of variety. After a short, but steep climb from the area for horse transport we drove around the perimeter of the walled garden before a downhill section which levelled off just before rounding the ruined house. A left turn afforded a good straight run allowing a lively trot before negotiating a trick section through the trees before returning to base. Although overcast, the weather remained dry and gradually improved during the afternoon.

Then of course the best was yet to come……the picnic including a Birthday celebration! As usual the spread of food did nothing for our waistlines but the variety of savoury and sweet delights had all to be sampled. Lynn’s Birthday Cake was adorned by too many candles to be counted but thankfully we didn’t need to call on the services of the fire brigade.

Our thanks must go to Stirling Council who allows access to the park; also to The Friends of Plean Country Park for the use of their gazebo, table and chairs which enabled us to relax following the activities of the morning drives. Thank you to all the volunteers who made this outing possible and of course to the drivers for their presence and camaraderie.

Orchids on the meadow

We are fortunate in Plean Country Park to have one of the best displays of Greater Butterfly Orchids (Platanthera chlorantha ) in Scotland. This plant with its lovely vanilla coloured flower spikes grows in old meadows and other unimproved grasslands and during the months of June and July appear in the meadow in large numbers.

Orchid carving reduced size

The plants are most densley populated in the main meadow situated in front of Plean House which is why this area was the obvious choice for the recently installed carving of the butterfly orchid and the moths which pollinate the plant.

  Each year volunteers count each and every flower spike and this year has been no exception. Following the count last weekend it has been found that the number has increased overall this year to about 2800 however the annual report is not yet available. If you would like to know a bit more about these wonderful plants or are interested in their management, you may be interested in the report produced by Jennifer Davidson following last years count.

New animals in the park

Great Spotted Woodpecker Carving PCP reduced Badger carving PCP Hedgehog family PCP

A variety of animals have arrived at the park and some of them have made their first public appearance. 

One by one they are taking up position on a route from the car park onto the north drive in one direction and in the other direction towards the south drive and Plean House.

The children's play area is where most of them congregate and make an ideal photo opportunity. A few of our new friends are pictured here but please come to the park and see all of them for yourself.

Owl archway PCP

Path Works Event

Saturday 21st May 10am-3.30pm.

Paths for All Training CoursePaths for All is a Scottish charity who promote everyday walking as a way to a healthier, happier Scotland. They have an excellent website containing a host of information including Walking For Health and Community Paths  together with details on support and funding.

A number of the Friends of Plean Country Park members have attended Paths for All courses at their National Path Demonstration site at 21Oatridge College near Linlithgow. 

We are fortunate that Paths for All have agreed to hold a Community Paths event in Plean Country Park which is an ideal opportunity for volunteers to gain skills and contribute to improving and upgrading one of the paths within the park. The event is free and lunch and refreshments will be provided.

 To book a place on this course please go to the Paths for All website click here or use our Contact Us page.

Celebrating Scotland's Walking Champions.

Our regular Monday Health Walks have now finished their fifth season but will return after the winter break.

This year the Plean Health Walk was nominated for a Paths for All award as the Health Walk Group of the Year and our line manager Tricia Cumming of the Stirling Walking Network was nominated as Volunteer Manager of the Year.

Tricia receiving her award

As a satisfying end to our walks for this year we were invited to a reception at the Scottish Parliament "Celebrating Scotland's Walking Champions" on the 4th November.

Although Plean didn't ultimately win the group award we were delighted to be with Tricia to celebrate as she received her award as Volunteer Manager of the Year.

Walking reduces the risk of many diseases including cancer, heart disease and diabetes so we would encourge everyone to go for even a short walk as often as possible.

During the winter months in the park some of the paths can become dangerous as the weather takes it's toll. Great care must be taken on any muddy or icy surfaces particularly if you are out walking on your own.

Keep safe and enjoy the park!