Funding boost for woodland park extension plans

CLYDE Gateway has secured £2.3 million of Scottish Government funding, through the Clyde Mission Fund, to build on the success of its Cuningar Loop Woodland Park to create Phase 2, which involves extending the forest park on the banks of the River Clyde by a further 8.53 hectares.

In partnership with NatureScot, the next phase will see the transformation of derelict and inaccessible land into a new green space which Clyde Gateway explained will be designed to enable ‘community engagement, health, wellbeing and lifelong learning’ as part of the response to Covid-19.

Cuningar Loop, developed in partnership with and managed by Forestry and Land Scotland, currently spans 37 acres of woodland, linking communities in Dalmarnock in Glasgow’s east end and Rutherglen in South Lanarkshire. Since it opened to the public in 2016, it has welcomed over 500,000 visitors and provides features including adventure play, a bike pump track, bouldering zone, boardwalk and events area.

The project will see a natural extension to the riverside park and the inclusion of 167 specimen trees, 11,000 square metres of wildflower meadow and grassland, 6,990 square metres of new woodland planting, a 400m extension of the riverside walkway, additional linked woodland walkways with seating and picnic areas, an educational area including a pond to encourage wildlife and a teaching amphitheatre, created using tree trunks, 1,722 linear metres of footpaths, and 50 additional parking spaces.

Clyde Gateway added that the local economy will benefit from the creation of 43 opportunities for youth employment during this phase, along with two new jobs during construction.

Alison Thewliss MP, chair of Clyde Gateway, said, “I am delighted by this welcome funding and thank the Clyde Mission for their continued support and partnership approach. Green recovery will play a vital role in our response to the pandemic and this exciting new development allows the creation of an exemplar for greenspace and low carbon which connects health and nature as a priority and one which will be worthy of being showcased on a worldwide stage.”

Ian Manson, Clyde Gateway’s chief executive, added, “We are pleased to secure Clyde Mission’s funding to unlock this next stage of investment. Cuningar Loop Woodland Park has been a focal point for Clyde Gateway, and as well as providing an immediate jobs boost in terms of construction, it will help address issues of health inequality, educational attainment and social capital which have been further impacted by Covid-19.”