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 £125,000 project will see nine different species of broadleaf trees planted across 15 hectares next to the Cart and Kittoch Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest, near Carmunnock.
Planted in line with 45 hectares of ancient woodland preserved and managed there since before the 1750s, the new trees will also spread towards the existing woods at the adjoining Cathkin Braes Country Park.
Once they begin to mature, it is intended that a network of paths will be created within the deciduous woodland that will link neighbouring communities with the greenspaces.
The initiative follows a review of the city’s landscapes by the council and Green Action Trust in collaboration with communities. This 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 50 centimetres in height.
In time, however, they will grow up to 15 metres and help to create a habitat for a wide range of flora and fauna, ranging from 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 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.
The species of trees are common alder (10 per cent), downy birch (20 per cent), bird cherry (10 per cent), holly (five per cent), pendunculate oak (10 per cent), sessile oak (10 per cent), rowan (20 per cent), hawthorn (five per cent) and hazel (10 per cent).
Councillor Anna Richardson, city convener for sustainability and carbon reduction, said: “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 the 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.”
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, 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 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 the community council, said: “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.”