The Claypits Glasgow Inner City Local Nature Reserve in Hamiltonhill, North Glasgow which runs along the Forth & Clyde Canal was officially opened on Saturday 31st July 2021.
Water lovers and landlubbers flocked to the Claypits to embrace nature in the heart of the city as the new local nature reserve was opened to the public with a variety of activities from canal side community groups.
The community festival, which ran from 10am until 2pm offered visitors the chance to take to the water and try their hand at paddle boarding as well as visit one of the city’s narrowboats to see first-hand what it is like to live on water. Environmental enthusiasts kept their feet on the ground with a series of nature walks through the reserve to see the fauna and flora the area has to offer.
The Claypits viewpoint proved popular, with members of the public enjoying views across the city skyline, with the iconic structures of the Finnieston Crane and the locally known Squinty Bridge in the distance.
“The opening of the Claypits marks a new era for North Glasgow one which will unlock the true potential of wildlife in around the canal for local communities to enjoy.
On behalf of Scottish Canals and our partners I would like to thank all of the volunteers at the opening and in particular members of the Claypits Local Nature Reserve Management Group who will maintain the Reserve” - David Blair, Revenue and Regeneration Director at Scottish Canals
The Claypits projects, totalling £8.8m and which include the local Nature Reserve , have been funded by Sustrans, Glasgow City Council (Vacant and Derelict Land Fund), NatureScot (European Regional Development Fund), Central Scotland Green Network, Scottish Canals, Green Exercise Partnership via Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership (NHS), is a critical part of North Glasgow’s ongoing regeneration. Associated key partners to the project are the Scottish Government via Queens Cross Housing Association and The Glasgow Canal Regeneration Partnership.
Francesca Osowska, NatureScot’s Chief Executive, said:
“This wonderful project reclaims an important industrial site and brings nature closer to the communities in the north of Glasgow – giving them a lovely place to enjoy as well as helping with mental and physical health. The nature reserve is also just the kind of nature-based solution we need right now to help combat climate change.”
The Claypits, which was once used to line the Forth & Clyde Canal with clay over 200 years ago, has transformed into an accessible inner-city local nature reserve. Associated projects include a new bridge, canal infrastructure improvements including to facilitate future development of a canal side site, and the creation of a Sustainable Urban Drainage system to serve neighbouring housing development at Hamiltonhill. The project also includes a new “Front Door“ to the canal and its green and blue spaces in the form of “Garscube Link”.
With a nod to its industrial past, the Claypits is creating new and exciting opportunities for future generations in North Glasgow. The opening means more than 13,000 homes in North Glasgow now have direct access to quality green and blue space within a 10-minute walk.
Karen McGregor, Director for Capital Programmes, Sustrans Scotland said:
“We are proud to fund and support access improvements, the new boardwalk and the Garscube Bridge, to really make Hamiltonhill Claypits a place that’s open and accessible for everyone. This is a fantastic space – a reminder of Glasgow’s industrial history but also a beautiful green space where the community come together and enjoy the outdoors.”
The Garscube Link provides an accessible ramp, stairs and even boasts a set of big and small slides which connect the canal to Garscube Road. The little and large slide, dubbed the mummy and baby slide, proved a big hitter at Saturday’s opening with visitors including local comedian Janey Godley.
The link not only connects canal side communities but also creates access to the National Walking and Cycling Network (NWCN) along the Forth & Clyde Canal. In 2019, over 145m trips were made along the NWCN supporting more than 27,500 jobs. With new access being provided to active travellers, local businesses will feel the benefits of the new connection.
Councillor Allan Gow, Chair of the Glasgow Canal Regeneration Partnership, said:
“This is a great day for the canal corridor and North Glasgow. The Claypits Inner City Local Nature Reserve is a fantastic asset for the area, one which I am sure will attract many local people as well as visitors to the city. Glasgow City Council was delighted to work with our project partners to help create this unique destination, another symbol of the massive regeneration currently taking place in this part of Glasgow.”
The site will be managed on behalf of the community by a group of dedicated local volunteers, The Claypits Local Nature Reserve Management Group. The group will promote the area and maintain the green space to benefit the community.
Notes to the editor:
About the Claypits
The purpose of the Claypits project is to provide greater public access to, and renewed community benefit from, a piece of green and blue space which has over years taken the place of that previous industry and which has become a place where nature could thrive.
In addition, the project has provided:
- Claypits is an Inner-City Local Nature Reserve: located on the site of historic removal of clay to build and line the canals.
- Connecting communities: The Claypits project will deliver a quality environment to 13,000 households within a 10-minute walking distance of the site.
- Health, leisure and learning opportunities: Claypits LNR lies within areas ranking from the top 5-15% on the Scottish Indices of Multiple Deprivation.
- Environmental stewardship: LNR designation May 2016, the intent is to retain and develop a diverse environment
- Remediation and services to derelict land in advance of development: services infrastructure for a proposed Scottish Canals owned development site.
- Living on Water and water-based uses: Creation of 14 moorings between Applecross and Firhill, with more planned.
- SUDs scheme facilitating QCHA to deliver 600 homes in the adjacent Hamiltonhill
- Garscube Bridge, a new bridge structure designed and engineered for minimal impact on the historic canal structure while linking communities east to west.
- A new “Front Door“ to the canal and its green and blue spaces in the form of “Garscube Link”. The link not only connects canal side communities but also creates access to the National Walking and Cycling Network (NWCN) along the Forth & Clyde Canal.
- Art work by from the Archive of the late Alasdair Gray.
About Glasgow Canal Regeneration Partnership
The GCRP is a partnership between Glasgow City Council, Scottish Canals and its development partners, established ‘To transform the canal corridor in to a vibrant local and city destination and reconnect and reinvigorate its neighbouring communities. To this end, the Partnership will engage in the promotion, facilitation and management of the sustainable social, economic and environmental regeneration of the canal corridor and its adjoining communities. In so doing, the Partnership aims to enhance the quality of life, health and well-being and employment opportunities for people in North Glasgow and decrease deprivation across the area’.
About Scottish Canals
The microsite https://www.scottishcanals.co.uk was created by Scottish Canals in celebration of the Year of Coasts and Waters. The site contains information on how to enjoy each of Scotland’s canals by boat, bike or boot.
For information on how to book a boating holiday on Scotland’s canals, including details of hire boat operators, customers are advised to visit Boating holidays.
Scottish Canals is responsible to the Scottish Government for the management and development of the Union, Monkland, Forth & Clyde, Crinan and Caledonian Canals. As well as the waterways themselves, Scottish Canals care for 251 bridges, 212 buildings, 256 locks, The Falkirk Wheel, The Kelpies and 19 water supply reservoirs in locations across Scotland. The reservoirs cover an area equivalent to 7,494 football pitches and supply the canals with the 332 million litres of water which flow through them each day.
The Forth & Clyde, Union and Monkland canals in the Lowlands, the Crinan Canal in Argyll and the Caledonian Canal in the Highlands together extend over 137 miles from coast to coast, across country and into the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness. Built two hundred years ago to fire the Industrial Revolution, Scotland’s canals are now recognised as Scheduled Monuments and attract 22million visits per year.
The new state of the art electric fleet benefits from Scottish Canals electric charging points across various venues. Electric charging points can be found across all four navigable canals; the Caledonian, Crinan, Forth & Clyde and Union Canal. The 17 charging points were funded UK and Scottish Government grants.