Findhorn Hinterland Group (FHG)
As the Findhorn Hinterland group has no office, Jonathan Caddy and I met in the Blue Angel Café in The Park. One of the Caddy boys, Jonathan grew up in The Park. He says: “It gave me a love for nature, I know the land intimately here, from fishing, seals to nesting birds. As kids we spent our summers barefoot outdoors playing and learning.” He studied ecological science in Edinburgh and has a wide range of nature-based skills.
When he was working for Duneland Ltd, in 2006 Jonathan instigated a first meeting to get local people involved in how the land owned by Duneland Ltd would be managed. “I was particularly interested in seeing the area valued and conserved, as well as an opportunity for building community through working on shared land issues. Recently we looked at whether we would work under the umbrella of PET, but we think we are bigger than just the Park. It is important to work as much as possible with local organisations, including the new Findhorn Village Conservation Company, which will buy out the Novar Estate. We have one representative from the Kinloss and Findhorn Community Council, but are open to all local groups. To have a few more people involved would be great!” Jonathan explains how our area has changed since the Wilkie’s Estate was bought. “We almost take it for granted now that we can access local land, but actually it is a privilege. In the past the Private Property – Keep Out sign was prominent. To be surrounded by open space, dunes and woods with a mosaic of habitat adds greatly to this place.”
The FHG does not own land. Jonathan: “No, but FHG works with other organisations on integrated land management issues – it has a formal agreement with Duneland Ltd to manage its land and is negotiating a similar agreement and lease with the Findhorn Foundation. It would be very good to get into dialogue with Scottish National Heritage to get conservation protection status, as it would give conservation long-term security and organisations greater access to resources.
SOME FACTS for ‘Hinterland’:
Legal status: Changing from an Unincorporated Association to a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation) – expected summer 2015.
Management Committee, which meets monthly, to become Trustees: Jonathan Caddy (convenor), Sasha Angus (for Findhorn Foundation), Marilyn Gamble (for NFA Council), Judith Berry, (secretary/for Findhorn Dunes Trust), John Willoner (treasurer), Bruce Wallace (Duneland Ltd), Pat Carroll (for Findhorn and Kinloss Community Council), Kajedo Wanderer (vice convenor), Fay Blackburn.
Other co-workers: Chris Preece (membership secretary), Will Russell (Green Burial funeral co-ordinator) and Ariane Burgess (project manager Edible Woodland Garden), Heather Paul (local lichen specialist), Sean Reed (ecological advisor).
Contact: c/o Jonathan Caddy (convenor), 228 Pineridge, The Park, Findhorn, Forres, Moray IV36 3TB; t 01309 691877, m: 07825 212816, e: . w: www.findhornhinterland.org
Other information: Leaflet green burial facilities, notice board/ information point at tool shed and at woodland shelter.
Year founded: 2006
Members: 120. Membership from £ 5/yr.
Vision: Conserve and value land on the Findhorn Peninsula by promoting integrated land management, educating about the land and its special features and getting people involved in regular, practical land management activities; to build a sense of local community and promote health and well being.
Previous activities and projects: Woodland shelter, green burial area, memorial tree grove, edible woodland garden, ongoing management of nationally important lichen beds, creating firebreaks, educational presentations, chainsaw trainings, replanting.
Current and near future activities: Public consultation, update integrated management plan, update website. Monthly work parties, two wildlife ponds (with charity Froglife), develop edible woodland garden site, educational work with local people.
Income comes from: Firewood sales, Christmas trees, pony grazing, land maintenance work for third parties like Findhorn Wind Park, green burials, grants for skills training and capital projects; donations.