St. Vigeans Conservation Network

Restoring pride in a local area of natural beauty, helping to conserve conserve habitats for wildlife.

Est. number of people
who benefit directly

Our story

St. Vigeans Conservation Network is a community-led conservation network, set up in 2017 by Ralph Coutts, whom we celebrate and remember through our work in the area. His vision was to encourage younger generations to continue to preserve the area and its wildlife, while educating others on biodiversity and the environmental impact of litter. It was set up to enhance the locality for everyone. As well as residents and locals, national and international visitors come to our picturesque town.

We carry out monthly, weekly or sometimes daily 'tidy ups'. Our activities might include bench installation, signage repainting or litter picking. We have also carried out flood protection measures, in the form of Burn clearance works. Our founder invested time in making St. Vigeans a haven for wildlife, through tree and wildflower planting, river cleaning and bank clearance, which we continue to do.

In 2021 we have hosted visits from Girls Brigade who planted trees and native bluebells for climate, cleaned up the beach and many more activities.

We are also a community hub, sharing local events and goings on through our Facebook page. Whether it is an axe throwing event, requesting help to re-set a hand-carved bench, advertising locally-produced honey or offering advice about feeding the birds, St. Vigeans residents come together to keep the area at its best.

Local History
The town lies north of Arbroath. Beautiful hotspots include the built environment like St. Vigeans Church and the Pictish Stones, and wilder parts like the nature trail which accompanies the Brothock Burn running directly through St. Vigeans, en route to its entry point to the North Sea at Danger Point by the harbour at the ‘fit o’ the toon’.

There is so much history to the area, and our conservation work helps to restore and maintain this as well as local wildlife. We work alongside organisations like Historic Scotland to keep St. Vigeans a beautiful place full of heritage and biodiversity.

Pictish Stones
Examples of Pictish stone carvings were discovered within the grounds of the current church during a major restoration in 1870. The stones were incorporated into the medieval sandstone church, which dates in part as early as the 12th century. The carvings including the Drostan Stone are now in the care of Historic Scotland. It is thought that followers of St. Fechin founded a monastery here in the 8th century.

Two new stone carvings in the style of the early Picts have been erected, on the green and just beyond the entrance to the cemetery. One commemorates the year 2020, which was 700 years since the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath.

Our advice

We are lucky enough to have some beautifully hand-carved artwork including a bench. These are stunning additions to local natural beauty, but they have been at risk of vandalism. It can feel a bit hopeless when things like this happen, but we have to remember to stick together as a community and remember our goals. Setbacks might be big and unavoidable, but we can pull through and keep working for our goals.

Litter picking is a never-ending process. Sometimes it's people who don't think, and others it might be gusts of wind spreading rubbish around the area. It's important not to give up – every piece of litter picked up keeps the area picturesque, and could save wildlife.

Our metrics

A lot of our measurement is by eye, or qualitative. It's clear to see a healthier, happier landscape and people enjoying themselves during the activities and that's what matters most.

We also measure how many people take part, the number of species we record, and habitat improvements.
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The team taking part in a fundraising activity
The St. Vigeans Conservation Network
A stunning bench designed by one of the network members