Keeping in the loop with work on woodland park

IT MAY still look a bit barren and desolate but work is pressing ahead on transforming a derelict site into a stunning woodland park.

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Project manager Joneen Clark takes a walk through newly-planted woodland at the under-construction Cuningar Loop Woodland Park in the east end of Glasgow near the Games Athletes Village                            Picture: Jamie Simpson
Project manager Joneen Clark takes a walk through newly-planted woodland at the under-construction Cuningar Loop Woodland Park in the east end of Glasgow near the Games Athletes Village Picture: Jamie Simpson

The Evening Times was given access to the area to see how it has changed in recent months.

The land, at a bend in the River Clyde known as Cuningar Loop, sits opposite the Athletes' Village in the East End.

For the past 50 years it has lain derelict, covered with domestic rubbish, self- seeded trees and scrub.

But the site, which is the size of 15 football pitches, has been cleared and work is pressing ahead on transforming it into a £6million visitor attraction.

By spring next year, it will have become a native woodland with open grassland and meadows, paths, play facilities and picnic areas.

Around 15,000 trees, 30,000 shrubs and 40,000 bulbs along with meadow grass are being planted.

Trees will include native oak, silver birch, maples and lime trees, and a wild flower meadow will also be established.

A new pedestrian and cycle bridge will cross the river from the park to the Athletes' Village where a new community of 700 homes has been built.

An extensive network of paths will be built, adventure play facilities and a bike track created, and picnic areas and an outdoor gym set up.

When the park is established, it will be a far cry from the wasteland where rubble from the demolition of large areas of the Gorbals was dumped into landfill.

Workers on site say hundreds of tones of debris still lies not far beneath the surface of the earth.

South Lanarkshire Council owns the land and Forestry Commission Scotland and regeneration agency Clyde Gateway have formed a partnership to develop the site.

They say the area is expected to attract more than 100,000 people by 2021.

It is hoped they will benefit from getting out of the city into a rural environment and will become more active.

Joneen Clark is project manager for the development and overseeing the work being carried out.

Included in the projects about to start are a boulevard which will travel up the spine of the site and a boardwalk which will snake round by the river.

Ms Clark said: "It is going to be a very busy site in the next few months.

"Whether or not a cafe goes in has still to be decided but if it does it will be a temporary structure.

"The park will have two distinct zones. The activity zone will be noisy with lots of kids but as you walk to the top of the site beside the river there will be a much calmer feeling.

"There will be something for all ages."

The Forestry Commission says the new park will be an ideal location for its Scotland's Forest School programme.

It offers young people regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence, resilience and self esteem through hands on learning in a local woodland environment.

The new park will also offer a woodland apprenticeship scheme and will get involved with back to work programmes run by other local organisations.

vivienne.nicoll@eveningtimes.co.uk

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