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Window wildlife-watching

Nestled in the middle of an industrial estate, I’m always amazed by how much wildlife there is to see from the Cumbernauld Living Landscape office window. As I type, I’m watching two male bullfinches potter about, their orange-pink bibs unmistakeable against the open green grass. I’ve seen flurries of visiting redwings, prancing young roe deer; and there’s always robins, starlings and blackbirds coming and going throughout the year. A couple of days ago there was bit of a commotion taking place on the roof above my head. A familiar sound, but I couldn’t quite place it…suddenly an oystercatcher appeared out of nowhere, being swiftly chased off by a less-than-impressed gull. It was a welcome distraction from emails and report-writing! Research has consistently shown that spending time in our local greenspaces – exercising, breathing fresh air and connecting with nature— is hugely beneficial to our health and wellbeing. Cumbernauld Living Landscape is committed to helping as many people as possible access the nature around them, whether through our path improvement projects, inclusive events and volunteering or Wild Ways Well sessions. But

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NEWS: New boardwalk improves access to nature at St. Maurice’s Pond

A new boardwalk has been installed at St. Maurice’s Pond, improving the site’s accessibility and helping visitors get closer to nature. Installed by North Lanarkshire Council in partnership with Cumbernauld Living Landscape, it replaces the previous boardwalk which was no longer fit for purpose. The new boardwalk is wider with more subtle bends and a smoother anti-slip surface, making it easier to move across with a wheelchair, pram or bicycle. Its positioning has also been adjusted to provide local school groups with better access to ideal spots for pond-dipping and wildlife-watching. The connecting footpath was also upgraded to further improve accessibility on the pond’s popular circular route, in addition to a section of nearby Netherwood Way, which connects St. Maurice’s Pond with homes in the Westfield area. Fiona McGrevey, Cumbernauld Living Landscape Project Manager said: “St. Maurice’s Pond is a fantastic place for connecting with nature. Swans, ducks and herons patrol the pond year-round, and in summer the boardwalk comes alive with bees, butterflies and dragonflies. “Everyone should be able to enjoy the nature on their doorstep. By improving access

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A wild year ahead

It’s hard to believe that we’re more than halfway through January already! Here at Cumbernauld Living Landscape it’s full steam ahead as we continue to work towards our vision of putting both people and wildlife at the heart of our town’s future. We’ve got lots of exciting projects coming up in the next 12 months, many of which you could get involved with. Our Wild Ways Well Thursday sessions started back last week, open to anyone looking to improve their mental wellbeing by spending more time outdoors. For people who like to get their hands dirty, our Nature Ninjas volunteers have been out planting trees at Glencryan Wood, and will be carrying out a variety of conservation activities throughout the year. Our education team are busy connecting with local schools, organising workshops and programmes that will connect young people with nature through fun and engaging activities based on natural heritage. Our habitats work will include a continuation of our ‘Nectar Networks’ projects, creating more homes for pollinating insects and improving biodiversity in the town. We’ll be working with partner organisations

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Access your wild side

When was the last time you ventured out into nature? If you live in Cumbernauld this may simply be part of your daily routine. Cumbernauld is an incredibly green town, and most people are fortunate enough to live a short distance away from a park or nature reserve. However, despite this fact, not everyone finds it easy to get outdoors and explore. While the town was designed with pedestrians in mind, today Cumbernauld’s greenspaces are not always as accessible as they should be. Narrow walkways, uneven surfaces, challenging slopes and overgrown vegetation can all cause issues for anyone with special requirements. At Cumbernauld Living Landscape we believe that everyone should feel welcome, safe and secure while enjoying the nature on their doorstep, which is why over the next few years we’ll be upgrading paths at various priority sites around the town. We believe that everyone should feel welcome, safe and secure while enjoying the nature on their doorstep The first project starts this week at St. Maurice’s Pond. Very soon the site will have a brand new boardwalk, plus part of the connecting woodland path will

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Broadleaves for Broadwood

You might have already seen on social media that some exciting work is about to begin at Broadwood Loch. Our partners – North Lanarkshire Council – will be carrying out forestry work over the next few weeks. This work is part of a larger programme of woodland improvements within Cumbernauld. This part of Cumbernauld Living Landscape is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Scottish Forestry’s Woodland in and Around Towns fund. The works will include clear felling and thinning areas of dense non-native conifers which have little value for wildlife and stop light reaching the forest floor, meaning wildflowers and shrubs can’t grow. These mature trees are also particularly susceptible to being damaged by storms Clear felling has a very immediate impact on the landscape but we’ll be replacing the conifers with over nearly 4,000 native broadleaf trees including oak, rowan, hazel and birch to create a mosaic of woodlands. As that develops, and surprisingly quicky, we’ll start to see much more wildlife in the woodland. Broadwood Loch will also be a much brighter and easier space for

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Why ‘messy’ wildflower meadows are great for wildlife

We often debate which cleaning product is better for keeping germs at bay, and how Feng the Shui of our homes should be. And sometimes our thoughts and wishes for everything to be clean and pristine are carried into the natural world. I’ve had countless discussions with people who think “it’s lovely to see the grass cut and neat” or “that lawn is pristine, it’s just like a golf course”. Sadly, while they are neat and tidy, they are also artificial and limited in animal and plant species. Wildflower meadows are sometimes undervalued because they look untidy compared to a formal flowerbed, but the amount of life they can sustain is incredible. A true meadow consists of native species with a mix of sizes and flowering times, and a large variety of grasses swaying in the wind as if they are being led by a maestro. Part of this is due to companies advertising non-native plants in a mass of floral beauty. This is an artificial situation. Many of these plants will only last one season as they are not

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Funding boost for Creating Natural Connections

As you might recall we were on tenterhooks during December, waiting to hear about the funding from Heritage Lottery Fund for our new initiative, Creating Natural Connections. This is a very exciting four-year project that will lead to huge improvements to our green spaces and connect even more people to nature. It has been a tense couple of months and our nails have been bitten down to the quick. It is with great pleasure that I can tell you that we have been successful in gaining the funding, and that you are going to be hearing much more about Creating Natural Connections over the next four years. To celebrate we have invited people who have been involved with the Cumbernauld Living Landscape since its launch in 2011 to an event tonight at Kingdom City Church. This our small way of saying thank you for having faith in us and for being willing to try something out of the ordinary, but mostly for supporting us and the work we do. Without valued funding, the dedication from our partners, the support of

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Guest Blog – Chris Simpson from Informed Tree Services

Chris Simpson is the Managing Director of Informed Tree Services and does much of his work providing training in tree and woodland management within Cumbernauld. We invited Chris in for a Q&A about his work.     What does your job involve? I organise and deliver training courses, and assessments, for candidates looking to learn forestry and tree surgery skills.   You have been using Cumbernauld as a training base for the past 9 years. What makes it a good location for your business? Cumbernauld is such a central position; easily accessible whether candidates are coming from the east, west, north or south. When the Cumbernauld Development Cooperation planted so many trees around the new residential developments they created a fantastic woodland resource. That resource requires some re-spacing work, if it is going to reach its full potential, and that fits in nicely with candidates learning how to fell, clear windblown trees, climb trees etc.   What do you think is the biggest opportunity is for green businesses in Central Scotland? Without  doubt the gradual move to “carbon neutral” fuels,

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Conservation day at Luggiebank Wood

We are very excited to be heading out to Luggiebank Wood Wildlife Reserve for a spot of conservation work at the weekend. This is a wee gem looked after by the Scottish Wildlife Trust located just behind the train station at Greenfaulds. It is the Trust’s smallest reserve in Cumbernauld but what it lacks in size it makes up for in wildlife. I’ve been told you can spot kingfishers fishing in the fast-flowing waters either side of the waterfall and our surveys along the river have even found evidence of otters. There are a bonanza of birds to be seen including grasshopper warblers, chiff chaffs, buzzards and owls. And don’t forget about the plants! Shimmering bluebells, bright orange fox and cubs, and lots more wildflowers can be found. As long as the weather obliges our volunteer day will be aimed at turning a small patch of grass into a wildflower patch for local school children to explore and learn about and we will also be cutting back the vegetation that in encroaching on the path network. There is quite a lot