New pathway unlocks Glasgow’s ‘secret’ nature reserve

Visitors are being urged to discover the wonders of Glasgow’s ‘secret’ nature reserve following the creation of a new pathway through the heart of the Hamiltonhill Claypits.

The new route on the banks of the Glasgow Canal in the north of the city, officially opened today, runs through the Claypits Local Nature Reserve (LNR) and links it with the surrounding communities, the towpath network and the wider National Walking Cycling Network (NWCN). It’s hoped the 845-metre-long route will encourage visitors and locals alike to leave the couch and car behind and take to the paths by boot and bike.

Created thanks to £400,000 funding from the Scottish Government through Sustrans Scotland’s Community Links programme, the robust, all-weather path will allow the public to explore the 25 acres of woodland and wetland that make up the Claypits – a vibrant oasis of greenery in the heart of North Glasgow that’s home to everything from roaming herds of roe deer to breeding pairs of bullfinches.

As well as wildlife, the Claypits also offers spectacular views over the city and, on a clear day, to the Isle of Arran some 40 miles away – all from a site just a few miles from the M8 motorway and city centre. LED lighting will also be installed in the surface of the path in the coming weeks to allow it to be used year-round.

“The creation of this new pathway marks the next step in the ongoing transformation of the Glasgow Canal and will make it even easier for people to get active and explore the many wonders of the Claypits, the local area, and the wider towpath network.

“The Claypits is one of Glasgow’s hidden gems, offering vibrant green space, wonderful wildlife, and spectacular views just minutes from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. With the addition of this new pathway, I’m sure if won’t remain the city’s ‘secret’ nature reserve for much longer.

“From the thriving cultural quarter around The Whisky Bond to the urban playground at Pinkston Basin and now the green oasis of the Claypits, there’s never been a better time to live, work and play in North Glasgow. We’re committed to continuing to deliver lasting positive change for the area alongside our partners and the local community.”

Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Canals

Fancy exploring The Claypits by yourself? Grab our Claypits Nature Reserve Map!

The creation of the new pathway is the latest outcome of the Woodside, Firhill & Hamiltonhill Charrette – a series of collaborative design sessions which saw local people, stakeholders and government agencies come together to create a shared vision for the future of the area.

Minister for Transport Humza Yousaf said: “The Scottish Government was keen to support this project, one of many along the canal network, as it’s vital we regenerate our natural resources and encourage the people of Scotland and visitors to enjoy the great outdoors.

“We have a commitment to make Scotland an Active Nation which is why we have doubled the active travel budget to £80 million from 2018/19.”

The transformation of North Glasgow is being driven by the Glasgow Canal Project – a partnership between Glasgow City Council, Scottish Canals and Bigg Regeneration. In recent years, the project has saw the creation of a flourishing cultural quarter featuring the likes of the National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish Opera, and the creative hub of The Whisky Bond. An urban playground is also emerging in the area, with Pinkston Watersports – Scotland’s only urban white water course – and Glasgow Wake Park located on the banks of the canal.

“We are really proud to have been able to award Community Links funding to Scottish Canals to help improve the towpath network along the Forth and Clyde canal.

“The Claypits is a really exciting project which has helped to transform local community green space and the canal in north Glasgow.

“We’re committed to creating greener, better environments and the new pathway will make it easier and more pleasant for residents and visitors to walk and cycle in the local area.”

Sustrans Scotland Community Links Manager Dave Keane

The Claypits is named for its role as the location the clay that formed the watertight seal for the Forth & Clyde Canal was collected. The ‘borrow pit’ where the clay was harvested is now a wetland that’s home to a wide array of animals, from ducks and kingfishers to roe deer.

Iain Rennick, Head of Green Infrastructure at Scottish Natural Heritage, said: “SNH is delighted to support this work that enables people to get active and connected to nature in the centre of Glasgow. There is a lot of evidence showing that regenerating an area through green infrastructure has multiple benefits to the economy and health.”

To celebrate the opening of the new Claypits path, a Bike Festival is being held by the Claypits Local Nature Reserve Management Group in collaboration with Friends of Possilpark Greenspace on Saturday 31st March between 11am and 2pm. With the chance to try out an array of bikes courtesy of cycling development charity Free Wheel North, test your pedalling prowess in a range of cycling competitions and construct some scrumptious treats in BYOP (Build Your Own Pizza) sessions, the festival will offer an array of cycle-friendly fun for all the family. Dr Bike will also be on hand to offer a free health check to all two-wheeled patients. See or for more information.

Notes to Editors

About Scottish Canals

  • Scottish Canals is responsible to the Scottish Government for the management and development of five Scottish canals as well as the surrounding estate and The Falkirk Wheel. See or follow @ScottishCanals for more information
  • 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, today the canals contribute to the Scottish Government agenda of developing a Greener; Healthier; Smarter; Safer and Stronger; and Wealthier and Fairer Scotland by acting as a catalyst for sustainable economic development, regeneration and tourism; contributing to education, biodiversity, heritage and promoting active living and healthier lifestyles
  • Today Scottish Canals is utilising these 18th century assets along with innovative technology to tackle modern problems. Through working with partners to create pioneering systems, Scottish Canals is helping to combat flooding and driving positive transformation in some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas
  • The Forth & Clyde, Union, Monkland, Caledonian and Crinan canals are recognised as Scheduled Monuments and attract 22million visits per year. See for more information

About Sustrans Scotland’s Community Links Programme

  • Community Links is funded by Scottish Government and delivered by Sustrans Scotland in partnership with local authorities, statutory bodies and educational institutions for the creation of cycle network infrastructure for everyday journeys. Since 2010 the programme has funded more than 500 projects across Scotland.

For further information, please contact:

Chris McDonald at Scottish Canals on 07917217608 or email

Nicola Sturgeon at Scottish Canals on 07767383557 or email

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