Nature Strips

Nature Strips report 2023

The five nature strips in Granby, Gilmour and Suffolk Road continue to be monitored and managed by 14 active local volunteers, in liaison with Edinburgh Council’s South East Parks and Greenspace team.
After Mike Shields retired, David Kyles, Park Ranger, was appointed officer of this team on a 6 month secondment. He immediately agreed to inspect the five strips and was much impressed by the Conservation and Biodiversity Report commissioned by the CPA in 2016. This in-depth study by Sarah Sigsworth identified all the trees and other plants growing in the strips and recommended actions to improve biodiversity – mainly a programme to eradicate laurel which was stifling the growth of other species. About 50% of the recommendations have been carried out since then but there is still a preponderance of laurel in strips 1 (Granby Road), 3 (Suffolk Road north side) and 5 (Gilmour Road south, southmost end).
Residents living opposite or very near the strips have varying and sometimes opposing views on the removal of laurel which does provide evergreen screening. We hope that a gradual pruning and removal of dead laurel and replacement with varied native species will provide the most amicable way of fulfilling the recommendations of the Sigsworth Report. Our aim is to encourage more biodiversity – more birds, insects and mammals.
Positive achievements of the volunteers have been the purchase (thanks to CPA) of hardy shrubs to fill in gaps in strip 4 (Suffolk Road south) and the regular maintenance of the strips – weeding, pruning back from the pavement, trimming, litter picking and sweeping of pavements. It is disheartening that some members of the public throw dog waste and litter into the strips from time to time and there has been dumping of garden waste and other rubbish near the lane off Suffolk Road. We have installed several nesting boxes and bee hotels in the strips and noted more butterflies there.
We are grateful to the Council’s team for removing the old, sagging fencing round strip 4 – a very hard job we volunteers were contemplating and thankfully didn’t have to do ourselves. The result is very pleasing, especially as we have planted new shrubs in some of the entry gaps. The main project for this autumn is the complete removal of laurel from strip 1 in Granby Road and replanting with varied shrubs. There will also be leaf gathering and general tidying.
We are always pleased to have more volunteers on our team. Work tends to be concentrated between end of August to mid-May when we leave nesting birds in peace. Please contact me by email:
It’s worth noting that neither we volunteers nor David Kyles’ team can do anything about pruning or removing trees. (Laurel is not considered a tree.)
All trees in the nature strips have a preservation order and privately hired tree surgeons have to obtain permission from the Council to carry out any pruning or other remedial work.
If you are concerned about any aspect of tree safety – loose, overhanging branches, trees growing against your house or diseased trees – you can report overhanging branches and foliage to the council at

Nature Strips Update July 2022

Volunteers in strip 5, between Wilton and Lygon Roads, have spent a couple of sessions cutting back and removing vegetation from the pavement edge and then sweeping up and it’s looking very good. The trees are well established, there is a reasonable hedge of varied bushes near the Lygon Road end, lots of flowers for bees and other insects and the bird boxes were used in spring. There has been a problem of littering and dumping of waste water opposite the mid Terrace house next to Eileen’s but the works seem to be coming to an end after a year.

Our volunteer in strip 1 (between Saville and Suffolk) has done her best to keep the area tidy but this is proving very difficult. Some neighbours have expressed conflicting wishes about pruning – some in favour and others against – and the area is also being used as a dumping ground for Christmas trees, lawn clippings and general garden waste.

The pavement on the north side of Suffolk Road between Gilmour Road and Craigmillar Park has been regularly swept by a volunteer. Waste vegetation has to be stored in the bed until November, when the Council leaves a trailer for our use. The strip on Gilmour Road north is regularly tidied and swept by residents opposite.

With all Councils being strapped for cash, it has to be recognised that if we want to keep the area looking tidy, we will have to do it ourselves. This burden has fallen on fewer than ten local residents and it would be very helpful if more volunteers could come forward. We are currently discussing how we can reach out to more people in the area. Which medium could send out information about forthcoming tidying up sessions? Can anyone come forward as a volunteer of social media, Facebook or other.

Please email me at



Nature Strips June 2021 Update (Wilma Elton)

Granby Road

Nature strip 1 running along the east side of Granby Road has lots of plants flowering at the moment. Broom, laburnum, black currant and cotoneaster are all looking good – with geranium, foxgloves, red valerian, white campion, dyers alkanet, purple toadflax and white comfrey filling in between the trees, creating a wild feel, but leaving a path along the centre and space for playing and den making for children.

The council gardening team cut back lots of laurel in the Spring at the south end of the strip which has let in more light, and opened space for planting, but with mature trees the earth is quite compacted and dry. The plan is to plant 2 or 3 trees this Autumn towards the back in the more open centre part of the strip.

Gilmour Road

The nature strip on Gilmour Road between Wilton and Lygon Roads is in full bloom with a colourful display of shrubs and flowers and many deciduous trees including laburnum with its wonderful display of yellow flowers. To encourage insects and birds, some “weeds” like dandelion and nettle are being allowed a little growing space but will not be allowed to take over. Recently an orange tipped butterfly was spotted – a species new to the strip – and we hope that our planting efforts will improve the bio-diversity in this area.

Forthcoming work will be the removal of green waste spilling on to the pavement, trimming box and moving or trimming shrubs which are growing into one another.
We’ve not observed any birds making use of the bird boxes we installed in the autumn, but perhaps next spring!

Lots of colour in nature Strip 2.