Celebrating Ancient Gorge Woodlands

Once known as the Fruit Basket of Scotland, the Clyde and Avon valleys, just south of Glasgow, are characterised by orchards, glasshouses, glorious gardens of times gone by.  There are also traces of the area’s mining and industrial heritage and, as Sarah O’Sullivan explains, some of Scotland’s most pristine ancient woodlands in the Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve (NNR).

Scottish Natural Heritage is just one of nine key partners working over 6o projects with Heritage Lottery funded Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP) to celebrate the unique landscape and distinct cultural heritage located on the edge of the Central Belt.

Scottish Natural Heritage manages the Clyde Valley Woodlands NNR in partnership with the Scottish Wildlife Trust and South Lanarkshire Council. The NNR is made up of six woodlands in the Landscape Partnership area – Chatelherault, Falls of Clyde, Lower Nethan Gorge, Mauldslie, Cartland Craigs and Cleghorn Glen.

Due to their ravine settings, these woodlands are outstanding examples of ancient, semi-natural, deciduous woodland which at one time covered much of the Scottish lowlands. In Spring time, the woodlands bursts into life with bluebells, wild garlic and wood anemone. Visitors can often see badgers and even peregrine falcons during breeding season and there’s a fascinating array of invertebrates which thrive in the natural deadwood.

Badger Meles meles Profile of a sub-adult badger in evening light

Funding available through the Landscape Partnership has provided assistance with woodland management throughout the NNR including the tackling of non-native species, essential path maintenance at Cleghorn Glen and a study into the mysterious ruins of Castle Qua in Cartland Craigs. An invertebrate study undertaken in 2012 even identified the first Scottish record of the nationally scarce fly, Fannia aequilineata at Cartland Craigs as well as the first for the fungus gnat Mycetophila eppingensis at Cleghorn Glen!

And this is only a fraction of the work taking place through the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership. Further access improvements, recording of the estimated 42 designed landscapes in the area, revival of the orchards, natural play and oral histories capturing the stories of people who once worked in the thriving industries of the area are just some of the other projects taking place that celebrate this special landscape.

To find out more, go to www.clydeandavonvalley.org, follow them on Facebook or find them on Twitter.

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Friday 22nd May : Bluebell Walk at Cleghorn Glen, Scottish Natural Heritage

 Timse: 1pm and 3:30pm    Capacity: 15

Cleghorn Glen is a pristine example of the ancient woodlands that cloak the deep gorges of the Clyde and Avon valleys near Lanark. Surrounding the Mouse Water tributary to the Clyde near Lanark, the woodland bursts into life in Spring time with bluebells and other flora and fauna. Join the ever knowledgeable Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve’s Manager Martin Twiss on a meander along the recently improved pathways through these fascinating and colourful woodlands to find out more about the work involved in caring for these special woodlands.

Walks take a maximum of 2 hours. Please wear appropriate outdoor clothing such as boots and a waterproof. Due to the capacity of the walk, no dogs are allowed although you’re more than welcome to bring your dog along another time on your own. No unaccompanied children.

Venue: Meet at the bottom of Bellfield Road.  Booking is essential call 01555 663 430.

Further reading:







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