Our rivers provide the Kingdom with a wide variety of ecosystem services, as well as giving people from all walks of life a space to enjoy the natural world.
Whilst it is easy to get caught up in the threats that face our natural environment, we would like to join millions of others in celebrating #WorldRiversDay by showcasing some of Fife’s special waterways.
For our first river, we have the bonnie Eden. After leaving its source near Burnside, the Eden flows through the agricultural heartlands of the Howe of Fife before reaching the wildlife rich Eden Estuary and entering the North Sea.
The upper reaches of the Eden pass through productive agricultural land, providing a range of benefits to people and wildlife alike. The riparian woodlands provide nesting sites for birds and help to stabilise the riverbanks. These banks are full of flowers like golden saxifrage, ramsons and creeping buttercup. The natural meanders of the Eden also help to slow of water, reducing downstream flooding and creating pools and riffles for the fish that call the Eden their home. Although this area has struggled with invasive species like Giant hogweed, FCCT have been working on eradicating this since 2014 and have slowly been bringing it back to a healthier state.
Where the river joins the North Sea at Guardbridge, the water spreads out into the Eden Estuary Local Nature Reserve, an incredible varied ecosystem, including the largest functioning saltmarsh in Fife. This location has many ecological designations such as Site of Special Scientific Interest, Special Area of Conservation and Special Protection Area. At low tide the mudflats are covered with Oystercatchers, Curlew and other waders frantically feeding, whilst Harbour Seals can be seen lounging on the sandbars. In the winter months thousands of Pink-footed Geese roost on the estuary, during the warmer months the chances to spot Osprey fishing are very high and the re-introduced White-tailed Eagles can been seen all year round if you’re lucky!