About The Leven Programme

The River Leven is a river in Fife which starts at Loch Leven and flows through a number of communities before entering the Firth of Forth at Leven.

In the past, the river was the powerhouse of Fife and every kind of industry depended on the river, including flint mills, flax/linen mills, waulk mills, paper mills, bleach works, iron works and extensive power weaving mills.

At its peak it sustained several hundred mills and factories, was home to a proud population of miners and workers in the manufacturing industries, and once had a productive port.

Sadly, many of these industries are no longer present in the area, leaving behind pockets of vacant and derelict land, and communities with high unemployment rates, poor health and well-being, and other pressures associated with areas of high deprivation.

Instead of being something that once brought communities together and provided their livelihood, the river has now become a barrier, disconnecting people and towns from each other. Serious environmental challenges have also arisen along the river catchment, with multiple pressures and environmental impacts stemming from the historical use of the river, including barriers to fish migration and physical modifications.

The Leven Programme

The Leven Programme was formed in 2018 to bring together those public bodies, businesses and community representatives who want to make a positive difference to the river and its surrounding areas.

By improving the physical and ecological conditions of the river; creating better access to the river and between communities; as well as creating opportunities to improve people’s health, well-being and economic prospects, all partners realise that more can be achieved working together than can be achieved working alone.

What we aim to deliver

To create such significant change over such a large geographical area will take time, investment and collective input from all those who want to improve the River Leven and its surrounding communities.

We anticipate that this Programme will take 10 years to deliver, so that by 2030, our partnership approach will have contributed to, and delivered a number of individual projects that will collectively have helped to breathe life back into the River Leven, making the communities surrounding it great places to live, work and visit.

We are currently working on a number of different projects within Levenmouth that are all at various stages of development. Our intention is to develop a series of projects along the entire length of the river over the next few years.

Below is a list of some of the projects that we are developing or delivering. You can find further information as well as updates regarding each project in our Projects section.

  • River Leven Connectivity Project - We are working on delivering a series of on-road and off-road improvements along key routes within Levenmouth that will enable easier and safer travel for those wishing to get around by foot, wheeling or cycling.
  • River Leven Park - We are working to create an accessible, attractive and biodiverse public park for the local communities of Levenmouth, as well as visitors to the area. The aim is to have six themed gardens along the river, built on areas of land that are currently abandoned and/or in poor condition.
  • River restoration - We are currently delivering two projects that aim to address some of the challenges faced by the River Leven as a result of its historical past. One of the projects focuses on a 4km section of the River Leven between Windygates and Leven, and the other focuses on one of its tributaries, the Back Burn, which flows from the Lomond Hills.
  • River Leven Green Network - We are delivering activities where local people can view and learn about nature and wildlife along the River Leven. This includes developing a series of pollinator corridors, which involves planting wildflowers along the river routes to encourage more insects, including bees, which are important and endangered pollinators.
  • The River Leven's history - We are working to incorporate the river’s heritage into a series of dedicated projects and initiatives over the next few years.
  • Health and well-being - We are working closely with NHS Fife to develop a series of projects that encourage physical activity and improved connection to the natural environment along the River Leven.

Related projects

We are also working closely with a few other programmes and projects currently operating in the Levenmouth area to ensure a joined-up approach to all the proposed improvements.

These partner programmes have a similar vision for Levenmouth, namely, to improve connectivity to, and within Levenmouth, and to capitalise on the social and economic opportunities that these improvements can bring.

Levenmouth Reconnected Programme

The Levenmouth Reconnected Programme (LRP) is a £10 million fund managed by Fife Council, which aims to maximise the economic and social opportunities presented by the new Leven rail link, the regeneration of the River Leven and its proposed path network, investments in renewable energy, as well as other initiatives being implemented within Levenmouth.

The programme aims to create a viable and sustainable legacy for Levenmouth’s people, communities, businesses and visitors.

Levenmouth rail link

The reinstatement of the Levenmouth rail link is part of wider improvements to Scotland's railway infrastructure and will provide a major boost to economic sustainability and connectivity.

It will deliver opportunities for local people - unlocking access to education, culture, entertainment and employment options, as well attracting new business and investment.

Network Rail have been commissioned by Transport Scotland to develop plans to reinstate the connection from the mainline rail network to Leven to restore passenger services to the town by 2024.

Visit the Scotland’s Railway website for further information about the Levenmouth rail link.