St. Vigeans Conservation Network was set up in 2017 by Ralph Coutts, who 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, there are national and international visitors to our picturesque town.
We carry our monthly, weekly or sometimes daily tidy ups. These might include bench installation, signage repainting or litter picks and more. We also carry out flood
protection measures in the form of Burn clearance works. Our founder invested time in making St. Vigeans a haven for wildlife by tree and wildflower planting, river cleans and bank clearance, which we continue to do.
In 2021 we have hosted visits from Girls Brigade who have planted trees for climate, planted native bluebells, cleaned up the beach and many more activities.
We are a community hub too, and we share 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, locally-produced honey or advice about feeding the birds, St. Vigeans residents come together to keep the area at its best.
The town lies north of Arbroath. Beautiful hotspots include the built environment like St. Vigeans Church, 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.
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.
There are also 2 new stone carvings in the style of the early picts erected on the green and just beyond the entrance to the cemetery. One to commemorate the year 2020 – 700 years since the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath.
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-0ending 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.
We also measure how many people take part, the number of species we record, and habitat improvements.