Promoting the paths and routes at Little France Park

A Smarter Choices, Smarter Places grant has helped to make some big improvements at Little France Park in Edinburgh.

Little France Park
Little France Park path view

Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust (ELGT) was awarded almost £12,000 to promote the network of paths and cycling routes at the park and encourage people to use them for leisure or to get to nearby Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. 

Little France Park was created using unclaimed and unmanaged grasslands and has been developed for the community establishing a green corridor from Midlothian to the heart of Edinburgh. It links up several major sites of employment, including the hospital.

Our grant has helped to raise awareness of the park and led to a substantial increase in walkers and cyclists.

Richard Darke from ELGT said: "We wanted to promote Little France Park and had some funding in place, but the SCSP funding enabled us to deliver more activities and improvements. 

"We upgraded the signage around the park and produced maps which were distributed at the hospital and surrounding area. We promoted the park to staff, visitors and patients at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and encouraged people to use it by running competitions. 

"The maps and posters in the hospital’s reception had a big impact and enabled us to promote and run walks which helped people become more familiar with the park.   
"The interpretation panels have made navigating the park easier with a map provided on each one. The panels also help bring the park alive with interesting information.
The whole project really helped make people more aware of the active travel routes to and from the hospital which helped reduce car use by staff."

The counters in the park showed an increase in use since the project started with an average of 1665 people cycling through Little France Park per week and an average of 3790 people walking through the park per week. 

This was an increase of 56% for cycling and 350% for walking compared to the previous year, although lockdown probably contributed to the increase in numbers too. A survey sent to schools, families and the hospital showed a significant amount of people walk and cycle through the park, which included commuting to school or work, and that staff thought there has been an increased interest in Little France Park in the past year.

Richard added: “We know that there is a link between our activity and the uptake/use of the park as people have told us through social media, emails, and surveys that they were discovering the park for the first time due to taking part in some of the activities that we had promoted.”

Supported by Transport Scotland, Smarter Choices, Smarter Places aims to encourage people to change their behaviours to walk and cycle as part of everyday journeys. Grants of between £5000 and £50,000 are available to public, third and community sector organisations. Click here to apply.