Roundhouse will take city park back to Iron Age

The Inverleith Park roundhouse has been partly inspired by this Peebles project. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

The Inverleith Park roundhouse has been partly inspired by this Peebles project. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

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AN Iron Age roundhouse fit for the 21st century is being built on city parkland in an innovative move by a Capital-based mental health charity.

The 16-feet-wide structure planned for Inverleith Park is based on the homes used by Celtic people in Britain thousands of years ago.

Housing large families, the properties would have featured a central fire for cooking and heating.

Now a modern take on the design is being built by New Caledonian Woodlands, a city charity which aims to help those suffering from mental health problems to connect with nature and other people to “improve mental and physical wellbeing”.

Paul Forrest, who will lead the project, previously built a roundhouse in Redhall Gardens.

He said: “I got the idea from watching Time Team. It will be a really organic building that fits in with the landscape.

“It will have an informal feel and encourage people to sit in a circle and chat.

“Many of these people have been really isolated and 
struggle to communicate with others.”

Built mainly from ash, the roundhouse will also use other indigenous trees such as willow, hazel and sycamore.

Several volunteers will spend three days a week building the structure on a patch of land near Inverleith Pond and the charity’s offices.

David Hopkins, charity marketing officer, said participants would learn about timber sourcing, identification, tree felling and Iron Age techniques.

A start date is to be agreed, with the work itself expected to take about two weeks.

The roundhouse is similar to one created near Peebles in 2001 as part of the Tweed 
Heritage Project.

New Caledonian Woodlands lacks adequate space for their mental health participants to work on their handicrafts.

But Andy Ross, coordinator and founder, said the roundhouse would be used by 80 participants a year, forming “part of their recovery journey”.

Users would be making anything from baskets to wooden spoons to small pieces of furniture, products which they can then go on to sell.

New Caledonian Woodlands has been shortlisted for a grant of up to £3000 in the Bank of Scotland Community Fund for their work.

john.connell@edinburghnews.com