THREE Towns community group FRIENDS has produced exciting plans to restore Holm Plantation in Ardrossan and Saltcoats.

The Plantation was formerly a natural beauty spot, with a picturesque, shallow burn running through heavily wooded grounds. Over the decades, however, the site has lost most of its woodland and the burn has been canalised.Now the group hope to restore it to its former glory.

Iain Hamlin, secretary of the FRIENDS group, told the Herald: “Many local people, on seeing old photos of the Plantation, bemoan the loss the beautiful habitats that used to make-up the site. We hope to reinstate much of what has been lost.”

Proposals include planting hundreds of trees and tens of thousands of bluebells, recreating the broad, shallow burn, as well as restoring some of the other natural features lost from the site over the years, such as the natural grasslands and sandy habitat.

The group hope that the bluebell woodland, natural burn and meadows will make the site a more attractive, enjoyable and interesting place to visit.

Iain added: “It might take a few years to complete the project, but we think the end result will be worth it.”

The group say that the benefits of the project extend beyond humans: the project will also benefit biodiversity.

Jean Frew, Chair of the FRIENDS group, said: “Between the woodland, riparian and meadow habitats, hundreds of new species would be attracted to the site, from butterflies, moths and bees, to the birds and bats that feed on them.”

The proposals follow many years of improvements to the site made by Friends of the Plantation, and FRIENDS are keen to pay homage to the group.

Jean added: “For many years, the now disbanded Friends of the Plantation worked hard to make huge improvements to the site. Among many other improvements, they planted trees, upgraded the path network, installed lighting, and provided seating. We’re eager to continue efforts to improve this greenspace.”

FRIENDS are keen to proceed only if the plans are popular with the community.

Iain said: “Over the decades, the Plantation has changed from a natural beauty spot to a park dominated by lawn. We think there’s an appetite to restore the plantation back to its former glory. However, we could be wrong, so we are undertaking a survey of local people to understand their thoughts on these proposals. If the proposals prove unpopular, then we’ll drop them.”

Further details of the proposals can be found at: and a link to the online survey is


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