‘Salt of the Earth’ – The Salt Marsh in the Eden Estuary
‘Salt of the Earth’ – The Salt Marsh in the Eden Estuary

‘Salt of the Earth’ – The Salt Marsh in the Eden Estuary

Episode 52: ‘Salt of the Earth’ – The Salt Marsh in the Eden Estuary

Let’s visit a landscape that is neither fully on land nor fully at sea – the precious salt marsh in the Eden Estuary near St Andrews.

‘Salt of the Earth’ is a story about a landscape of extremes. No, we’re not talking about extreme temperatures or weather events. The salt marshes of Scotland have other extremes to deal with… Twice a day, this thin strip of coastline gets flooded by the incoming tide and the plants that grow here perform their own secret magic trick – surviving and thriving in both fresh and salt water!

But that is not the only fascinating fact about salt marshes that we’ll cover in this story.

Our walk in the Eden Estuary is accompanied by Dr Helena Simmons, a researcher from the University of St Andrews who works for the Green Shores salt marsh restoration project. We meet her and volunteer, Jess Byers, to talk about this unique landscape, why it’s important for our climate strategy and what goes into restoring it.

At the end, I’m sharing my top tips to get the most out of a trip to the salt marsh near St Andrews.


The Green Shores Saltmarsh Restoration Project at the University of St Andrews

Reach out to Dr Helena Simmons about volunteering opportunities: greenshores@st-andrews.ac.uk

Video: What is a salt marsh?

What salt marshes can do to fight against climate change

Mapping Scotland’s salt marshes

Scotland Outdoors Podcast: The Salt Marshes of Caerlaverock

Ologies Podcast: Wildlife Ecology with Corina Newsome

Chincoteague Bay Field Station in Virginia

You may also enjoy this episode of Wild for Scotland about the young rewilding movement in Scotland called ‘The Big Picture’.

Disclaimer: All information provided in this podcast is based on personal travel experiences. Companies mentioned in the story or tips were active at the time of release. If you listen to episodes at a later point, note that this information may have changed in the meantime.

5 Travel Tips for the Eden Estuary in St Andrews

1) Consider whether you have to visit

This sounds a little counter-intuitive for a podcast like this, but really my first tip for visiting a salt marsh is to consider whether you have to go there at all. Salt marshes are fragile eco-systems and small fragments like the one at the Eden Estuary aren’t really set-up for tons of visitors. You may find it enough to just learn about this landscape from afar.

2) Go via West Sands

If you do want to see the salt marsh in Eden, you can access it from West Sands in St Andrews where there is plenty of parking. It’s a fairly long walk along the shore and you do have to be very careful with the tides. Other things to be mindful of are the steep embankments, slippery rocks and uneven ground below the vegetation.

3) Bring binoculars

Not only will they allow you to observe the salt marsh from a distance, you can also use them to spot birds further out in the estuary.

4) Stick around and visit St Andrews

St Andrews is a wonderful place to visit, whether you spend time in the salt marsh or not. You can visit the ruins of St Andrews Cathedral, find the marvellous tunnels below the castle, stroll through medieval cobbled lanes and visit the beaches along the coast. Head to my detailed St Andrews travel guide on my Scotland travel blog.

5) Visit other salt marshes

Even though they are rare, there are other salt marshes in Scotland that are a little easier to visit. The nature reserve at Aberlady Bay in East Lothian for example, has raised boardwalks around the salt marsh to prevent damage and make it easier to experience this eco-system.

The Salt Marsh in the Eden Estuary in Pictures


Written and hosted by Kathi Kamleitner.
Produced, edited and sound design by Fran Turauskis.
Transcript by Kathi Kamleitner and Michelle Payne.
Social media support by Michelle Payne and Anesu Matanda-Mambingo.
Cover Art illustrated by Lizzie Vaughan-Knight.
All original music composed by Bruce Wallace.
Field recordings and photographs by Kathi Kamleitner.

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  1. Pingback: Wild For Scotland Podcast – Green Shores

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