situated between the village of
Kilconquhar to the
South and the hamlet of Barnyards to the North, is a typical example of
the problems of conservation today.
the wildlife site is only
in extent it is a virtual oasis, and is one of the last areas of its
type in the East of Fife. The Reserve, comprising one third of the
marsh, is part of the glebe of Kilconquhar Parish.
is leased from the Church of
Scotland by the
Lady Elizabeth Lindsay Memorial Trust and managed on its behalf by the
Scottish Wildlife Trust.
Lady Elizabeth Lindsay Memorial
Trust was set
up by the Eleventh Earl of Balcarres in memory of his sister Lady
Elizabeth, who was deeply interested in all things connected with
nature. The object of the Trust is to foster a better understanding of
conservation and wildlife in the East of Fife, especially in the
marsh is used for educational
purposes by the
local Primary School at Colinsburgh. The pupils take an active interest
in the site and have contributed to a leaflet which is being prepared
about the marsh.
to the Reserve
The easiest way to find the Marsh is to first find Kilconquhar, a
picturesque old village straddling the B941, a branch road off the East
Neuk Tourist Route (A917). The junction of the two roads is 1.5 km
North of Elie.
you find Kilconquhar
(pronounced locally as
'Kinneuchar') the rest is easy. The main Entrance to Barnyards Marsh is
about 50m up the Colinsburgh road. This unclassified road is
immediately across from the church ('Kinneuchar Kirk'.)
well defined path meanders through
from which flora and fauna can be observed, but wellington boots are
advised in all seasons.
is a car park nearby, opposite
Inn as well as street parking around the area of the church.
OUT a copy of this Web page
and take it
with you when you visit the reserve.
The marsh is a
species-rich area of wetland plants
the most abundant being the Lesser Pond Sedge (Carex acutiformis),
which is more commonly found in East Anglia and up the East coast of
England than in Eastern Scotland. Other sedges are Brown Sedge (Carex
disticha), White Sedge (Carex curta) and Bottle Sedge (Carex rostrata).
Altogether over 90
species of plant life have been
Rarer plants on the site include Northern marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza
purpurella) and Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi), while Meadowsweet
(Filipendula ulmaria), Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) and Common
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) are abundant.
In summer Sedge
Warblers and Reed Buntings nest
more usual garden birds, and much of the plant variety is attractive to
butterflies, including the Ringlet in early July. Snipe and Jack Snipe
overwinter on the site, mostly in the rush dominated area to the North
of the drainage ditch.
A small pond has
been dug. This has been colonized by
usual insect life, and has produced a healthy population of frogs over
the last few years. Blue Tailed Damselflies have been observed but
insect life has yet to be studied in depth.
As can be seen from
the surrounding countryside, farming
played, and continues to play a major part locally. This has probably
contributed to the demise of most areas of wetland in the East of Fife.
It is because of this that places such as Barnyards have to be
protected from further erosion.
The local Church
which overlooks the village is 180
having replaced a previous building parts of which can still be found
in the kirkyard. There has been a church on this site for about 800
Finally, if you
look 2km North from the main entrance,
the wooded Balcarres Ridge, you can see Balcarres House and Estate
where Lady Elizabeth spent many happy hours studying nature, her love
of which led to the Reserve.
This consists at
present of keeping the drainage ditch
path through the Reserve clear. An annual South West - North East
transect takes place, usually around the first weekend in June. As
growth and spread of species become better known some control may
become necessary to help keep a balance of species on the marsh,
especially to remove invasive garden plants such as Michaelmas Daisy.
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