For such a
relatively small site, Carlingnose has a high
habitat and plant diversity (over 170 species recorded). One notable
species to look for is Dropwort, a rarity in Scotland, being more
commonly associated with the grasslands of southern England.
scarce species occur, such as Field
(over 400 individual plants), Bloody Cranesbill, and Lesser Meadow-Rue.
Both Heather and Harebell, listed as priority species in Fife's
Biodiversity Action Plan, occur on the site, along with Bell Heather,
Burnet Saxifrage and Hairy Rockcress.
On the cliffs left
by past quarrying, Fulmars have
breed, and can be seen soaring and wheeling about the cliffs during the
The dense scrub of
hawthorn and gorse provide cover and
nesting sites for many species of warblers and finches.
During the winter,
Carlingnose is a good viewpoint to
the bird life of the Forth Estuary, with divers, grebes and sea ducks
Carlingnose is possibly derived from its
to mariners sailing up the Firth of Forth, to whom it looked like an
old witch (Carlin is Norse for old woman).
Because of its
domination of the point where the Forth
narrows, it has probably been fortified since early times. For most of
the time Carlingnose has been used as farmland, but quarrying started
in the early 1800s. The hard dolerite rock was used in the building of
the bases for the Forth Bridge. Quarrying ceased during the First World
War, but was re-started after the war for a short time.
Much of the land
was sold to the War Department in 1898
barracks and a gunsite were constructed. Two cannon were put in place
for coastal defence, but replaced by anti-aircraft guns for the Second
The barracks ceased
to be used by 1957 and the War
sold the land on. From the sixties to the nineties Carlingnose has been
developed for house building, planning permission having been given
before it was designated a SSSI.
has only recently been acquired,
little conservation management has so far taken place.
The site's first
management plan has been written for
period 2000-2005, and will concentrate on managing the remaining areas
The site has
suffered in the past from a lack of
so the natural process of succession has meant that the grassland areas
are being invaded by scrub, thereby shading out the rare plant species
and their habitat.
The main aim of
the management of the site will be to
this process. Although scrub itself is a valuable habitat, plenty will
still remain on other parts of the site.
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