The description here was written in June 2012 based on a variety of sources of information. Please let us know if anything needs to be corrected.
Overview of the Area
The village of Findhorn is on the north east side of Findhorn bay looking over the water to the Culbin Forest. Two miles from Kinloss and 5 miles from the town of Forres, Findhorn is surrounded on three sides by the waters of the Moray Firth and Findhorn Bay.
In the past, the village was at the centre of Moray’s fishing industry with the railway reaching to the pier to transport the daily catch to markets further afield. Today the Bay is popular for leisure pursuits such as sailing and fishing, and is the home of the Moray Gig – well known sail training vessel which offers opportunities to disadvantaged youngsters, and others.
The bay and the adjacent firth is home to a diverse range of wildlife including hundreds of grey seals, numerous types of seabirds and is a popular fishing ground for native ospreys who nest nearby around the river Findhorn. Dolphins can be spotted from the ‘back shore’ beach – miles of golden sands providing walks for nature lovers and tourists alike.
There are several holiday homes in the village which are occupied only in the summer months. Many inhabitants have retired to the village from the nearby RAF base and in addition, many residents have been attracted to the area from around the world by locally based Findhorn Foundation (FF).
The housing in Findhorn is made up of privately owned homes – mainly renovated traditional fishermen’s cottages and houses and some more modern family homes. Some recent eco-build houses have been built in gap sites as well as on the outskirts of the village, and Moray Council rented houses exist alongside Housing Association affordable houses. Some private holiday homes are rented out in the off-season as ‘winter lets’.
The FF is an international educational/spiritual community, established for 50 years and located 1mile south of the village of Findhorn. About 100-200 residents live at the Park, in a variety of houses, chalets and caravans – a number of high spec eco houses have been built there and many more are in various stages of building and planning.
The majority of working people in Findhorn leave the village for employment, while many others are retired. In the village employment opportunities exist in the 2 pubs, the Kimberley Inn and the Crown & Anchor (which also has a few guest rooms) employing bar and catering staff, 3 restaurants – The Captain’s Table and The Bakehouse, and the Findhorn Yacht Club employ bakery, bar, kitchen and restaurant staff.
The village post office and general store, and a small hairdresser’s salon employ mainly part time staff, the Chandlery and Boatyard employ retail and specialist sailing staff.
The Findhorn Village Centre (previously the village school then the Moray Council outdoor education centre) was developed by a village community group, and provides hostel accommodation to individual visitors and groups, and operates as a venue for community activities. They also rent space for the offices of ‘Wild Things!’ – an educational environmental charity, providing forest schools and bush craft training in the local area, for children and young people. Both provide some employment.
Cullerne House and gardens are located on the south edge of the village, and house the Findhorn Flowers Essences (providing therapeutic remedy production and education) and a productive organic growing project which is allied to the Findhorn Foundation, and provides fruit and vegetable produce for them and other local food outlets. Both provide some employment.
Residents of Findhorn access healthcare at the GP surgeries, dentists and alternative therapies in Forres, and medical facilities at Leanchoil Hospital, Forres, and Dr Gray’s Hospital, Elgin as appropriate.
Several alternative therapies are available in and around Findhorn, provided by practitioners in a variety of different therapeutic disciplines.
Findhorn is served by regular public buses to Forres and Elgin, running daily every hour. The nearest taxi service is based in Forres and is easily accessed by Findhorn residents. The Findhorn Foundation owns a few private mini-buses which provide transport for members, associates and guests to their sister organisation – ‘Cluny Hill College’ in Forres.
A ‘water taxi’ takes visitors from Findhorn Marina and Boatyard at the northern end of the village, across Findhorn Bay to Binsness, daily, and by special arrangement, in the summer months. A Findhorn car-share scheme is managed by the New Findhorn Association.
Sport leisure and cultural activity
Sporting facilities in Findhorn include; a tennis club with its own tennis courts; a bowling club with its own greens; a municipal football pitch, and a children’s playground.
The Royal Findhorn Yacht Club provides sailing instruction, a base and facilities for private sailors and refreshments and meals for members and visitors.
Several individuals enjoy bird watching and wildfowling activities in and around the Bay. A bird hide is provided on the shore adjacent to the Findhorn Foundation, by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).
The Moray Gig – a local voluntary group with a locally built sail/row boat provide sail training activities to various volunteers and trainees.
A few individuals enjoy keeping horses and horse-riding in the vicinity of Findhorn.
The Findhorn Heritage Centre provides access in the summer months, to the fascinating history of the village at the volunteer-run visitor centre with tours of the adjacent ice house illustrating and explaining Findhorn’s past.
The Moray Arts Centre is located in the ‘Park’ near the Findhorn Foundation, and is an award winning, eco-built, carbon neutral centre for contemporary arts, managed by a community organisation and providing classes and workshops, events and exhibitions in various art forms including visual arts, performing arts and a range of participatory hands-on activities for all age groups.
The Findhorn Foundation studios, include weaving, painting and pottery and provide regular and occasional classes and tuition in various crafts, as well as providing goods for sale locally, and are run by artist and crafts-folk mainly from the Foundation.
The Universal Hall is a nationally recognised performance venue, with an auditorium, music recording and dance studios, equipped with professional sound and lighting facilities, as well as administrative office and a café which support all Hall activities and events. The Hall is run in association with the Findhorn Foundation, by an independent group with appropriate expertise, and is a regular venue on the NE Scotland theatre circuit.
The Blue Angel café includes gallery space for local artists and refreshments and catering for various events and conferences, as well as regular visitors attracted by quality food and drinks and a relaxed ambience. Weekly ‘Open Mike’ nights attract performers from around the area and are a popular meeting place for musicians and poets. The cafe is a partner organisation of the Phoenix Shop.
The Findhorn Foundation is an international recognised spiritual, educational and environmental organisation with a history of innovative thinking and new ideas for individual, group and organisational development. The Foundation provides residential workshops, both theoretical and practical, in a wide range of topics, from gardening and working with nature, to religious, spiritual and philosophical approaches to life. The Foundation is a popular visitor destination with daily tours of their renowned organic gardens, eco homes and community facilities. Many residents living here are from overseas and bring an international and diverse flavour to many of the structures and activities.
The James Milne Institute is Findhorn’s village hall, run by a local committee and providing the venue for many village events from the annual Findhorn Summer Fayre to regular meetings of eg the Women’s Royal Institute, and the Community Council to occasional privately run ceilidhs, classes and exhibitions.
The Findhorn Village Centre is a locally run community enterprise running a hostel, meeting venue, playgroup and classes.
There are no schools in Findhorn. Children and young people from the Findhorn area attend Kinloss Primary School, Forres Academy and/or the independent Moray Steiner School in Forres, which provides specialist schooling for children aged 3 –14.
Tourist facilities and visitor attractions
Findhorn is a popular destination for tourists and visitors. The main attractions include the distinctly favourable weather, the spectacular environment and natural land and seascapes, the well-known Findhorn Foundation and its unique activities and culture.
Visitor accommodation includes B&B’s, guest houses and caravans. There are 2 caravan sites – Findhorn Sands by the beach, and Findhorn Bay Caravan Park (FBCP) at the Park, owned and run by the Findhorn Foundation, both offering residential caravans for hire and spaces for touring caravans, in the summer months.
The Foundation runs a programme of residential courses throughout the year, and provides a range of accommodation options both with and without meals.
The Moray Art Centre attracts visitors to exhibitions and courses and the Findhorn Heritage Centre interprets the history of the village and its people.
Pubs and places to eat
The Kimberley Inn, the Crown and Anchor Hotel, the Yacht Club, the Bakehouse Bistro, the Captain’s Table and the Blue Angel Café at the Universal Hall (described above) – all provide food and drinks for residents and tourists alike. A small seasonal snack bar opens in FBCP in the summer.
The village Post Office and general store provides postal services, newsagents, small supermarket and off licence. The Phoenix Shop at the Park, by the Findhorn Foundation, is a craft and gift shop specialising in local and ethical crafts, a book and music shop, a health food shop, delicatessen and organic produce supplier, owned and run as a subsidiary.
Findhorn Church of Scotland has weekly services in Findhorn Church, sharing the minister’s time with the neighbouring Kinloss Parish Church.
The sanctuary at the Findhorn Foundation is a non-denominational meditation place with daily quiet times as well as guided sessions which are open to all who support the Foundation’s approach to life.
Active community groups and links between groups
Findhorn and Kinloss Community Council is an active and involved group of individuals representing a range of local interests and meets regularly. Findhorn Residents Association; Findhorn over-60s club; SWRI, and others meet regularly and welcome new and old participants.
The New Findhorn Association (NFA) is a community association made up of individual and group associates and supporters of the Findhorn Foundation (FF) who mainly live in the Findhorn and Forres areas, and attend FF events and activities. NFA members frequently volunteer with FF, and NFA provides subsidised places to their members for FF events, workshops etc. and publish a weekly NFA/FF community newsletter.
Cullerne gardens, the Moray Arts Centre and the Phoenix shop all have committees, or boards of directors who meet to oversee and plan activities for their respective organisations.
Top themes from HIE Community Survey
- Development of the Findhorn Village Centre – including childcare facility
- Facilities for young people
- Development of Village Heritage Trust
- Improved environmental protection/nature reserve
- Improvement/ repairs to ‘back shore’ beach road
- Increased public transport, later services, consideration of community transport
- Jobs, training, apprenticeships, skills academy, facilities for young people
- Provision of NHS dentist
- Regeneration of Forres High Street
- Business development on RAF base – maybe a sports academy
- Upgrade A9 to dual carriageway