Nature welcomed back

Six years on from acquiring nature reserve status it is fair to say that outside space has never been better appreciated. The Covid crisis has meant that an escape from being confined to home has had to be a local option, so having good urban greenspace nearby has been increasingly valued.

Malls Mire Community Woodland is a Local Nature Reserve in Glasgow’s Toryglen district. It was the very first community woodland in the city and since 2015 has been a Local Nature Reserve.

Six years on from acquiring nature reserve status it is fair to say that outside space has never been better appreciated. The Covid crisis has meant that an escape from being confined to home has had to be a local option, so having good urban greenspace nearby has been increasingly valued.

Today Malls Mire is an area of mixed woodland and wetland habitat, but go back to the late 1930s and you will find that area was dominated by a 9-hole golf course which occupied land previously part of Toryglen farm. The National Library of Scotland have an excellent online map resource and one piece of software lets you compare an older map with the current ‘google earth’ view … it’s an interesting experience and shows the dramatic changes that taken place in Toryglen and the surrounding areas.

The golf course proved relatively short-lived and disappeared when Glasgow Corporation bought the site for housing.

A key aim at Malls Mire, which is sensitively managed for community good by the Urban Roots environmental project, has been working on the path network so that more people can get in and enjoy the site. 

Most of the woodland was planted in 1993, with the trees planted very close together in rows. This dense planting is intended to give wildlife cover and shelter. Locals know that a lot of wildlife has made the area home with deer, foxes, kestrels and sparrowhawks being spotted. However, the dense planting means that the paths are an essential aid to navigating the site.

It is perhaps unsurprising that when you make a place better for wildlife, it becomes a better place for people!  Popular sites require management beyond their creation. Keeping trees in a safe condition is just one challenge, another is keeping the site litter and rubbish free – it’s not just high profile sites such as The Meadows in Edinburgh where littering issues have blighted a greenspace.

That work benefits from the nine-year old Malls Mire Conservation Group which meets weekly to carry out conservation work in the woodland and open ground habitats.  No task it seems is too much with Tree felling, Path Maintenance, Habitat surveying, Litter Collection, Meadow management and Hedge-laying all being tackled.

So what next for Malls Mire?

Clyde Gateway is now working with Urban Roots to transform a further 16 hectares of land that is connected to Malls Mire Community Woodland. The ‘Malls Mire’ project will create a mixed-use community park with play areas, a wetland area and a network of paths for walkers and cyclists and will further enhance Malls Mire Community Woodland local nature reserve. The park area will boast an outdoor gym, natural play areas, open recreational space and a bike pump track. The wetland area, will feature a three-metre wide lit path to greatly improve the quality and usability of the path network for cyclists and walkers. The woodland will be enhanced by connecting the existing path network to these new routes and an art trail will be installed. The works are well underway and are expected to be completed by Autumn 2021.

The current works are supported by ERDF Green Infrastructure Fund (administered by NatureScot), Glasgow City Council (including Vacant and Derelict Land Funding from Scottish Government) and UK walking and cycling charity Sustrans.

Find out more:

Keep in touch on twitter via @ClydeGateway, @UrbanRoots and @MallsMire

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