A red squirrel revival?

Have you ever seen a red squirrel? Imagine one darting through the treetops of Cumbernauld Glen, or scurrying around the grounds of Palacerigg. It’s not as far-fetched as you might think! As Britain’s only native squirrel species, red squirrels were once widespread throughout Scotland. It’s only in the past few decades that they have been replaced by grey squirrels, an invasive American species that was first brought to the Central Belt by the Victorians. Grey squirrels are larger, they eat more and breed more and as a result they’ve out-competed red squirrels across much of the country, including Cumbernauld. However, while red squirrels are still highly threatened, things are beginning to look up. There are still strong populations not too far away in the Highlands. Thanks to conservation work (and possibly pine martens too), the spread of grey squirrels is being managed across the Central Lowlands, helping to keep red squirrel populations stable and in some places even increase their range. One of these places just might be Cumbernauld. There have been regular sightings in the Carron Valley just a


30 days of wild Cumbernauld

The Wildlife Trust runs an annual event over the month of June connecting people to nature every day under the name #30DaysWild. Tasks range from reading poetry in the garden to planting trees or flowers for pollinators. A massive number of organisations join us in connecting with and exploring nature. The Cumbernauld Living Landscape team thought we would add our own twist to an old favourite. In past years we have focused on wildlife, showing different species that you can easily find in your gardens, parks and woodlands. From tiny insect pollinators to deer grazing on the grasslands, there has always been something to see. This year we tried something different. Our new Creating Natural Connections project vision is “People and nature at the heart of Cumbernauld’s future”, and what better time to begin that ethos than during the #30DaysWild campaign.   We know that there are still a lot of people in the town who do not know of the beautiful sites that they can visit. This month we brought nature to you through events, both in and outdoors,


What can we do about rubbish?

Litter. Everyone hates it, and yet it remains one of our biggest environmental problems. From the cigarette ends and dog poo bags to fly-tipped furniture, it seems like litter is everywhere in our woodlands, parks and streams. No doubt you’ll have heard aware of the waste epidemic in ours sea, but did you know that an estimated 80% of this marine litter is a result of irresponsible disposal on land? So, who is responsible and more importantly who should be cleaning it up? Well to be honest we all are, and we all should! It takes a few seconds to make a difference by pick some litter up and binning it or taking it home. We often get comments that we should do more to clean up our local reserves. What people don’t realise at times is that charities such as the Scottish Wildlife Trust only have limited resources. This has to go towards on the ground conservation work, from planting trees to working on important projects like reintroducing the beaver. We do what we can to deal with fly-tipping and


We invite you to see our unveiled plans

Over the past few months, Cumbernauld Living Landscape has been carrying out a lot of consultations about the towns green spaces and the community groups who use them.  Thank you to everyone who has taken part and helped us to understand your views about the local green spaces in the town. In the background expert consultants have been out looking at the local area identifying breaks in path routes, habitat type, quality of routes and habitats and so much more. All of that information has now come back, and we would show you the list of projects that have come from these consultants and hear from you which projects would have the greatest impact for our community. I am extremely excited to see the list of projects which will help us to access our parks and green spaces better and so for one more time I ask your help and opinion. We have seen the Cumbernauld community spirit come alive during the heavy snow with groups of residents helping to dig out schools and parking areas. There is a craving for people


Have your say on our future

What a hectic and amazing few weeks we’ve had! As you will have seen last week we won the acclaimed Youth and Education at the Nature of Scotland Awards ceremony. For me that was a huge slab of icing on the cake for the end of our Engaging Communities project – locally known as Natural Connections. So, what’s next for Cumbernauld Living Landscape? Well it has all been going on behind the scene here at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s office in Cumbernauld. We’ve secured the initial funding to develop a new four-year project and my role has changed from community engagement, to the community development. But what does that mean? Well, firstly there’s lots of meetings! There are a huge number of people and organisations who want to work with us to make better connections between people and wildlife. This is fantastic for the Cumbernauld community and for us. Next up, we want to talk to you. We need to speak to as many people as possible to find out what would encourage you to go out and use Cumbernauld’s


Natural Connections – A Beautiful day for judging

At the start of August we had two lovely volunteer judges from Keep Scotland Beautiful out assessing areas in our town for the Beautiful Scotland of Cumbernauld’s Bloomin’ Wild.  It was a mixed day of sun and showers but that didn’t stop our local groups from shining on the day.

I would like to say a huge thank you to Adam Smith of the Cumbernauld Environmental Society for organising and delivering Cumbernauld’s previous entries over a number of years.  This is a huge undertaking and one that surprised us in its depth and requirements.


Natural Connections – The Long and Winding Road to Winter

The longest day of the year has been and gone. For many, the summer solstice marks a chance to revel in the never ending light, and look forward to the warm months to come. That’s one way to look at it. For others like myself, who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the solstice is often a grim day of the year. It’s the start of the long slow wind down into the dark days of winter. Every day from now on will be just a little shorter than the last, and each lost minute of daylight feels like a hammer blow. If that sounds like a depressing, counterproductive and negative way to look at things, that’s because it is! Many mental health issues work this way, your own mind sabotaging you in your efforts to stay positive. The countdown to autumn and winter is a natural one, and the cycle of the seasons vital to our environment. It’s important to remember even though the days may be getting shorter there’s still plenty of light and life left in the year.


Natural Connections – Help wildlife through a cold snap

Bee-utiful bumblebee © Katrina Martin

Who else got a bit of a shock when Storm Doris rolled into town?

Like many others I was caught in the traffic as the snow and ice brought the road network to a standstill.  It was great to see the spirit of Cumbernauld in action though as people helped out stuck motorists with a push or a shovel.

Cold snaps like this can be a death sentence for wildlife.  A few days before Doris we were getting reports of bumblebee queens out looking for nesting sites. Read on to find out more about our bumblebees…..


Natural Connections – Motorbikes drowning out the birdsong in Forest Wood

Damage sustained from high velocity vehicles limits our ability to carry out conservation work

I love a walk in the woods at this time of year so at the weekend I headed out to the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Forest Wood reserve to see if I could spot the beautiful carved wooden pine martens the Trust has hidden among the trees. 

The cold, still air carried sound wonderfully and my ears were tuned to the sounds of the birds singing, heralding the oncoming spring. Unfortunately however it wasn’t long before the sounds of the birds were drowned out by the sound of motorbikes.


Natural Connections – Transforming your views into actions

Concept plan of Ravenswood LNR improvements

Cumbernauld Living Landscape is currently conducting a community consultation regarding improvements to the entrance to North Lanarkshire Council’s beautiful, Ravenswood Local Nature Reserve.

These improvements include a small outdoor classroom to encourage local primary and secondary schools usage and stewardship of the site. Redesigning the butterfly garden to provide a haven for pollinators and creating a space that local residents can enjoy.