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Commonwealth woodlands unveiled across Scotland

Published on: Tuesday 11th June 2013

Commonwealth woodlands unveiled across Scotland

Communities across the Glasgow area are being encouraged to head outdoors, get active and enjoy a new network of 13 ‘Commonwealth Woods’ launched today (Tuesday 11 June).

A legacy project of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the network includes woods that are well-established, boasting ancient trees and wildlife, to newly-planted woods and a riverside park that’s being created out of derelict land opposite the Commonwealth Games athletes’ village.

Each of the 13 Commonwealth Woods – from Lang Craigs and Overtoun Estate in West Dunbartonshire and Garscadden Woodland at Drumchapel, to Cathkin Braes, Castlemilk and Eastserhouse - provide outdoor spaces for people to enjoy free events and activities, get active or just to go for a walk in the fresh air.

According to recent research nearly seven in ten (68%) of residents surveyed near a Commonwealth Wood are aware of a woodland in their local area, but only a third (27%) of them use it regularly or often.  This initiative aims to raise awareness of the events and activities people can enjoy at their local woods and encourage people to use them more often.

The 2014 legacy project was launched by primary school children and community groups at Overtoun Estate near Dumbarton today.  They were joined by Glasgow born Commonwealth Games bronze winner and London 2012 Olympian, former badminton player Susan Egelstaff.

Welcoming the new initiative, Shona Robison, Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport said:

“This network of woods will be a legacy of the Commonwealth Games for generations of people to enjoy.

“Many people may be surprised by the beauty of the City’s woodlands that they can enjoy right on their doorstep. This initiative aims to encourage more people into the outdoors whether they want to get fit and active or just sit quietly and take in the views.”

Speaking at the launch, Susan Egelstaff added:
“It’s important for children to be active and to get outdoors. The Commonwealth Woods are great natural play areas where families can enjoy a range of activities, have fun and get healthy. I hope they inspire children to become even more active and sporty.”

A new website www.commonwoods.org.uk has been launched where people can find out where their nearest wood is and discover what they can do and enjoy for free and a leaflet – with a map showing the network of woods – is also being widely distributed.

Speaking on behalf of the project partners, Keith Wishart, Conservator with Forestry Commission Scotland said:

“By promoting the network of woods to people in and around Glasgow, we hope that more of them will find reasons to visit – and visit more regularly - whatever the season.

“Each of the woods has something to offer from stunning views, walking and cycling paths to free events and activities, year-round, where people can escape the hustle and bustle of city life.”

Over the next 12 months, there are lots of events planned for the Commonwealth Woods, ranging from tree planting, storytelling and guided walks, to soup making, teddy bears’ picnics and Halloween parties.

Walking and fitness groups also meet each week in many of the woods in the network. These events and activities will be promoted through the website, social media and printed publicity, as well as schools projects.

Rory Syme from the Woodland Trust Scotland said:
“We believe that life is better with trees, and these woods are vital spaces which can provide a green gym and a habitat for wildlife.

“We want to encourage more people to get out and experience the great things that woods can offer.”

The Commonwealth Woods network is a partnership between Forestry Commission Scotland, Woodland Trust Scotland, the Commonwealth Forestry Association, Glasgow City Council, Clyde Gateway, Cassiltoun Housing Association, West Dunbartonshire Council, South Lanarkshire Council and Paths for All.

 

Commonwealth woodlands unveiled across Scotland
Commonwealth woodlands unveiled across Scotland
Commonwealth woodlands unveiled across Scotland
 
Commonwealth woodlands unveiled across Scotland
Commonwealth woodlands unveiled across Scotland

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Forestry Commission Scotland Woodland Trust Scotland Commonwealth Forestry Association Glasgow City Council South Lanarkshire Council North Lanarkshire Council West Dunbartonshire Council Clyde Gateway Cassiltoun Housing Association Paths 4 All