Cumbernauld - Forest Wood
a haven for wildlife... and for local people
Virtual tour by Mike McFarlane
The Cumbernauld Living Landscape aims to reinforce and expand existing green networks and reconnect the people of the town to their natural environment. In the degraded urban landscape this transformational change will benefit local people, wildlife and support the regional economy.
What sets the Cumbernauld’s Living Landscape project apart from other Living Landscapes to date is the highly urban nature of much of its area. The project covers roughly 5,900 ha, centred on the new town of Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire, (est. 1960s) which now has a population in the region of 50,000. The newer parts of the town are relatively affluent, but a large proportion of the population live in areas within some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged communities, mainly around the town centre. The concept behind the Cumbernauld Living Landscape is to work collaboratively with a range of partners to improve the natural environment and engage local people.
Even in an area such as Cumbernauld with a high percentage of the land under concrete and tarmac, there are many natural connections, some strong and obvious, others thin and fragile. Within this urban area greenspaces support wildlife and bring health and social benefits to people. These important natural spaces are connected through the woodlands, glens and rivers allowing people and wildlife to access natural resources and adapt to change. Throughout its short history the new town of Cumbernauld has seen the loss and degradation of many its important natural environments. Those that have survived have become isolated in a landscape of inappropriate development and industrialization. Unless action is taken on a large scale these areas will no longer be able to provide the clean air and water, and safe retreats that both people and wildlife need to survive in our towns and cities.
Cumbernauld Living Landscape will:
• Create and maintain a high quality natural environment for wildlife to flourish and people to enjoy
• Link the network of greenspaces in Cumbernauld and re-connect people in the town to their natural environment
• Promote Cumbernauld as a place to live, work and do business due to its many varied greenspaces
The project vision is shared by neighbouring landowners, Scottish Wildlife Trust, North Lanarkshire Council and the Forestry Commission Scotland, who together are the project leaders. By working with a wide range of partners and local groups the lead organisations will build upon previous success to deliver and develop projects that:
• Increase and enhance activities which re-connect the urban population with their environment such as community orchards and allotments.
• Provide a quality network of greenspace by connecting, enhancing and manage woodland within 937ha of habitat in the Living Landscape area.
• Restore and manage peatland (circa 250 ha) to improve natural drainage and vegetation helping to reduce erosion whilst capturing carbon.
• Improve water quality by expanding Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) over four areas.
• Help Cumbernauld grow in a sustainable way by influencing the design of green infrastructure and sustainable place-making in a major planned development of several thousand houses in a Community Growth Area
• Enhance the connectivity of the green network through strategic land-swaps and management agreements.
• Engage local people by collaborating on volunteer programmes, welfare to work and Local Authority Restorative Justice schemes.
To deliver the project vision a Programme Plan has been prepared, which contains projects advanced by a variety of local organisations. These projects are complementary to each other and when taken as a whole, will effect transformational change in Cumbernauld and create an urban Living Landscape. The first tranche of environmental projects currently active in the Cumbernauld Living Landscape were identified at a participative workshop. A project development manager is now in place to facilitate the delivery of the projects and develop the project portfolio with current and potential partners. All of the projects aim to restore, recreate and reconnect wildlife-rich spaces in rural and urban areas by working in partnership with local communities, landowners, schools and businesses. We want wildlife to thrive, to disperse and to re-colonise our landscape so future generations can encounter, experience and enjoy and benefit from our natural heritage.
Scheme area: 5,900 ha
Trust reserves within the scheme
This scheme is helping species including...
Badgers, roe deer and foxes make their home here as well as all kinds of woodland birds. Butterflies such as ringlet, meadow brown and small pearl-bordered fritillary make use of the meadow areas. The area is home to pine martens and is especially important as one of the only over wintering grounds for bean geese.
The Cumbernauld Living Landscape is led by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, North Lanarkshire Council and the Forestry Commission Scotland. Its development is supported by the Central Scotland Green Network. The following organisations and community groups have contributed to the Living Landscape as partners: Central Scotland Forest Trust, Friends of Cumbernauld Community Park, Friends of Cumbernauld Glen, Friends of Cumbernauld House Park, Froglife, Kyle Citizens Community Hub, Scottish Water, Wild Media Foundation.
To find out more