Larbert hospital grounds could be valuable people’s resource

Gordon Harper
Gordon Harper

Patients and staff at Forth Valley Royal will be able to take advantage of their scenic surroundings if new plans are given the go-ahead.

A partnership of local bodies wants to transform the area to the south of the hospital into a greenspace that can be enjoyed by the local community.

It has now submitted a plan to create and upgrade a series of footpaths through the area.

Proposals to install new signage, picnic tables, benches and a ‘teaching circle’ which could be used by school pupils and other community groups have already been agreed and work is scheduled to begin this year.

The area was once part of the 18th century Larbert House estate which went on to become the Royal Scottish National Hospital.

The project is a partnership between Central Scotland Forest Trust, Forestry Commission Scotland, NHS Forth Valley and Falkirk Council.

Mike Ewart, sustainable development officer at the trust, said: “The access improvement works to the land to the south of the new Forth Valley Royal Hospital will transform the area into a positive feature for the community to enjoy.

“The greenspace project aims to encourage staff, patients, visitors and the local community to make greater use of the woodland and greenspace resource adjacent to the hospital for health improvement, therapeutic activity, physical activity and relaxation by providing them with accessible outdoor space.

“The development also offers a variety of community engagement opportunities based in the woodlands, including a teaching circle which can be used for educational purposes.”

Central Scotland Forest Trust is an environmental charity which aims to increase the woodland cover in the central Scotland forest area - a mosaic of woodlands spread across 620 square miles bounded by Edinburgh, Glasgow, Falkirk and Lanark. To date, the partnership has planted over 16.5 million trees.

Gordon Harper, the Forestry Commission ranger for the area, said the forest was a real asset for the local community.