SNH’s Green Infrastructure Fund is approaching its halfway stage with a first phase of projects all due to finish in 2019. The Fund is a £38m investment programme supported by the European Regional Development Fund to create quality greenspace in our towns and cities, especially in areas of multiple deprivation. 

One of the jewels in the crown is the Fernbrae Meadows project in the Cathkin Braes area, South Lanarkshire.  Here a former golf course, which had gone out of business and fallen derelict, has been transformed into a new urban park.

It’s the catalyst to regenerating an area which many will associate with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and mountain biking events.  Blessed with marvellous views north over Glasgow to the Campsies, this area nevertheless lacked good local greenspace … until now.

The closure of Blairbeth Golf Club in 2015 was bad news for golfers and ultimately for locals, as the site became a magnet for anti-social behaviour. Following community consultations, South Lanarkshire Council applied to the Fund and got the green light for their project.

Fernbrae Meadows

The 20-hectare site has been renamed Fernbrae Meadows at the suggestion of the local community.  As it borders Cathkin to the east, Fernhill to the south, and Castlemilk to the west, it clearly has huge potential to be visited by many people and to connect hitherto distinct communities. 

Local people are grasping the opportunity to use the park for a range of activities including health walks and school visits. Despite the project only being part complete, in spring and summer 2018 there were over two-dozen community events held in the Meadows.

Facilities and biodiversity

Now, a series of paths and cycle-ways greatly improve access and offer a network of green travel routes between the various communities bordering the site. Add to the mix seating, trails, community growing areas, visits for schools and volunteering opportunities and the site will clearly have a huge positive impact.

The biodiversity of the site will be enhanced by creating a series of natural meadows connected by woodland corridors, attracting back native species that had been driven away during the site’s intensive management as a golf course. The management and maintenance of the wetland area of the site will create an integrated natural habitat, reducing flood risk and creating more natural processes which will allow the watercourse to better support local ecosystems.

Next steps

It’s great to know that picking up the challenge of managing the site long-term is already in hand.  A ‘Friends of the Park’ group will contribute much of the on-going park activity and maintenance.

In May the countryside rangers are organising wildflower planting and a drop in event for educators and families, exploring outdoor learning opportunities. In June the Friends group is planning a big summer event. Information about the events can be found on Facebook,Twitter and Instragram 

Find out more about the background of the Fernbrae Meadows project