A new native woodland is set to take root in Glasgow with 20,000 trees to be planted on former pastureland on the southern edge of the city.
Backed by Glasgow City Council and Green Action Trust, the £125k project will see nine different species of native broadleaf trees planted across 15 hectares next to the Cart and Kittoch Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest, near to Carmunnock.
Planted in line with the 45 hectares of ancient woodland that has been preserved and managed at Cart and Kittoch since before the 1750s, the new woodland will also spread towards the existing woods at the adjoining Cathkin Braes Country Park. Once the 20,000 trees begin to mature, it is intended that a network of paths will be installed within the deciduous woodland that will link neighbouring communities and these greenspaces.
The initiative follows a review of the city's landscapes by the council and Green Action Trust in collaboration with communities that found there were significant opportunities for expansion of woodlands and habitats at the southern edge of the city.
Work to prepare the council-owned pastureland for planting is underway and fencing is being erected to keep deer away from saplings that can measure just 50cm in height.
In time, however, the native trees being planted will grow up to 15metres tall and help to create a habitat for a wide range of flora and fauna, including bluebells, primrose and foxgloves to hedgehogs, badgers and birds. With the lifespan of the trees being planted anywhere between 60 and 100 years, it is anticipated that the new woodland will be able to regenerate and continue indefinitely with appropriate management.
Establishing the woodland, which will cover a space the size of 21 football pitches, will also create a store for carbon from the atmosphere and contribute to Glasgow's efforts to tackle the climate emergency.
Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, expressed her hope the new woodland would provide a significant legacy for the local area but also for the city as a whole.
"Our woodlands are a huge asset, providing space for recreation and a natural haven within the city environment. Throughout the Covid crisis, our open spaces have been greatly appreciated and so it is vitally important we cultivate these places for future generations to use as much as possible.
"But with the council also declaring a climate and ecological emergency, preserving and enhancing our open spaces also has a practical purpose. Creating a new woodland at Cart and Kittoch will help to support some of thousands of species that exist in Glasgow, but will also add to our carbon reduction efforts.
"The new Cart and Kittoch woodland is a community project and we want to involve the residents and groups at each stage of it development. As the woodland matures we hope it becomes somewhere that is treasured by the community."
The Green Action Trust, one of Scotland's leading environmental regeneration charities, is driving forward the delivery of Europe's largest greenspace initiative, the Central Scotland Green Network. Douglas Worrall, Director of Service Delivery at the Green Action Trust, explained the importance of woodland creation projects like these.
Douglas said: "There are substantial and long-lasting benefits to investing in tree planting. As well as filtering air pollutants, woodlands sequester carbon and alleviate flooding. They also create a place for people to feel good in an environment which supports healthy lifestyles and well-being.
"With Scottish Forestry's support through its forestry grant scheme, we look forward to working with Glasgow City Council to create this new native woodland that will contribute towards the Central Scotland Green Network vision of enriching the environment of central Scotland, benefiting local communities and wildlife, and helping to mitigate against climate change."
The plans for the new woodland have been presented to the Linn Area Partnership and staff from the council's Parks Development Team have been linking with Carmunnock Community Council.
John Lawless, Chair of Carmunnock Community Council said: "As a Community Council we welcome the Cart to Kittoch tree planting initiative. We recognise the obvious benefits to the environment in producing oxygen, capturing carbon dioxide and increasing wildlife. Importantly for Carmunnock, the proposed woodland further protects the green belt. There will also be health benefits to future generations as the woodland will provide access to more trails and paths in the local area."
The species of trees being planted at Cart and Kittoch are Common Alder (10%), Downy Birch (20%), Bird Cherry (10%), Holly (5%), Pendunculate Oak (10%), Sessile Oak (10%),Rowan (20%), Hawthorn (5%),Hazel (10%).
Green Action Trust secured the £125k fund for the project through a grant from Scottish Forestry.