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.
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.
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 www.facebook.com/theclaypits or www.scottishcanals.co.uk for more information.