Commonwealth Woods News & Blog http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/ Commonwealth Woods News & Blog Loop by Light Photography Competition http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/513/Loop-by-Light-Photography-Competition http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/513/Loop-by-Light-Photography-Competition Did you go to Loop by Light? We are holding a photography competition! We want to see your best images from the event. You have until Monday 12th December to leave a comment with your images on our Facebook page or tweet them to our Twitter account. The best picture wins a £20 Amazon voucher! Share this with everyone who is going to Loop by Light this weekend. Our Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/CommonwealthWoods2014/ Our Twitter account:  https://twitter.com/Legacy14woods  Terms and Conditions Apply Competition details form part of these terms and conditions.  Entry is open to residents of the UK except employees (and their families) of Forestry Commission Scotland, the suppliers of the prizes and any other companies associated with the competitions. Competition open date 2nd December 2016. Competition close date 12TH December 2016. No responsibility can be accepted for entries lost, delayed or corrupted, or due to computer error in transit. The prizes are as stated, are not transferable to another individual and no cash or other alternatives will be offered. The promoters reserve the right to amend or alter the terms of competitions and reject entries from entrants not entering into the spirit of the competition. In the event of a prize being unavailable, the promoter reserves the right to offer an alternative prize of equal or greater value. The winner(s) agree(s) to the use of their name, photograph and disclosure of county of residence and will co-operate with any other reasonable requests by Forestry Commission Scotland relating to any post-winning publicity. Reasonable efforts will be made to contact the winner(s). If the winner(s) cannot be contacted, or are unable to comply with these terms and conditions, Forestry Commission Scotland reserves the right to offer the prize to the runner(s)-up selected by the same judges. Confirmation of the prize will also be made in writing to the winner(s). Failure to respond and/or provide an address for delivery, or failure to meet the eligibility requirements may result in forfeiture of the prize. Where applicable, the decision of the judges is final based on the criteria set out in the promotion and no correspondence will be entered into over this decision. Competitions may be withdrawn at any time. The provider of the prize is specified within the promotional material. In the event of a discrepancy between these standard terms and conditions and the details in the promotional material (or any other terms and conditions provided/referred to at the time of entry), the details of the promotional material (and any other terms and conditions provided/referred to at the time of entry) shall prevail.     Fri, 2 Dec 2016 00:00:00 GMT Take a Walk Through Cuningar Loop's New Sculpture http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/512/Take-a-Walk-Through-Cuningar-Loops-New-Sculpture http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/512/Take-a-Walk-Through-Cuningar-Loops-New-Sculpture Our final sculpture has been installed at Cuningar Loop, thanks to our artist in residence, Rob Mulholland, she’s called Evolve and we just wanted to tell you a little bit more about her.  The six-metre high stainless steel sculpture represents the transformation of Cuningar Loop from derelict land into the vibrant community woodland that it is today.  If you use the Downiebrae entrance to visit the park you will now walk under Evolve every time you visit.  Rob came up with the design after talking to some of the local community groups from Dalmarnock, Rutherglen and Bridgeton, who wanted the sculpture to portray the regeneration of the area and a sense of looking to the future.  We think it does just that.   Next time you visit make sure you take a wander over to see her, we think she's a beauty.  Let us know what you think Fri, 4 Nov 2016 00:00:00 GMT 10 Fun Facts about Pumpkins! http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/511/10-Fun-Facts-about-Pumpkins http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/511/10-Fun-Facts-about-Pumpkins Halloween is upon us once again and the supermarkets are filled to the brim with all different shapes and sizes of pumpkins, even fake ones. Pumpkins have always been around for Halloween and when they are used for cooking they are delicious, not only are they healthy to eat (when not put in pie), they are also grown across most of the world. We thought we would take a closer look at the humble pumpkin with 10 interesting facts.   Pumpkin comes from the Greek word ‘pepon’, meaning ‘large melon’. Pumpkins are actually classed as a fruit and not a vegetable. Many just eat the flesh of the pumpkin but the seeds are tasty too. Six of the seven continents of the world can grow pumpkins, the only one who can’t is Antarctica. The first mention of pumpkin pie was in the first American cookbook by Amelia Simmons in 1796. In 2013 a Californian man broke the world record for growing the largest pumpkin as it was nearly the size of a small car. People used to believe that pumpkins could remove freckles and cure snake bites. The largest pumpkin pie had a diameter of 20 feet. The Irish used to carve Jack O Lanterns out of turnips and potatoes until they immigrated to America and discovered pumpkins. Pumpkins are rich in vitamin A, potassium and are high in fibre. Do you know any interesting facts about pumpkins we can add to our list? We hope you have a great Halloween!                                                                                      Fri, 28 Oct 2016 00:00:00 GMT All About Owls http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/510/All-About-Owls http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/510/All-About-Owls The Commonwealth Woods are filled to the brim with wildlife, whether it is amphibians, mammals or birds. Some are very easy to spot, others are more difficult and many go into hibernation over the winter months. We love it when we spot wildlife in their natural habitat, it reminds us that the woodlands are their home and we are visitors. Castlemilk Woods has their own resident species of owl, the Tawny Owl. They are a reddish brown colour and the size of a pigeon with a round body and face. You would be incredibly lucky to spot one of these beautiful birds although they are the most common owl in the UK, they only come out at night making them hard to spot. If you are interested in owls, Castlemilk Park is giving you the chance to get a closer look at these fascinating birds from 2-4pm on Wednesday 19th October at their All About Owls event. Owl Magic is bringing along a selection of owls for everyone to see and learn more about.  The event is free and attendees will get a chance to hold one of the owls as well as get involved with owl related arts and crafts. Have you spotted any owls in the Commonwealth Woods? Send us your pictures! Event Details Time: 2-4pm Date: Wednesday 19th October Venue: Castlemilk Stables, 59 Machrie Road, Castlemilk, G45 0AZ Contact: Richard.Bolton@cassiltoun.org.uk.   Wed, 19 Oct 2016 00:00:00 GMT The Butterflies of the Commonwealth Woods http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/509/The-Butterflies-of-the-Commonwealth-Woods http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/509/The-Butterflies-of-the-Commonwealth-Woods When we are on a wander through our woods it perks up our day when we spot a flutter of colour passing by. Butterflies are very beautiful, some are so extravagant that they are hard to miss and others are impossible to see because nature has granted them the art of looking exactly like a leaf. There are approximately 20,000 species of butterfly across the world, with the UK only having a total of 59, so we thought it would be a good idea to have a closer look at a couple of our favourites. Small Tortoiseshell This is a butterfly that can be spotted throughout the year in nearly any environment. The Small Tortoiseshell butterfly has orange wings with a tortoiseshell pattern and a black/brown body. As a caterpillar it feeds off of stinging nettles and is one of the first butterflies to emerge in spring. It is easy to spot a Small Tortoiseshell as they are quite common and it is hard to miss their decorative wings. Common Blue The male Common Blue is stunning and this is due to its bright blue wings, the female however is less enticing as it is predominantly brown. This butterfly can be found in a variety of grassy environments and is usually seen between June and September.  The wingspan of this particular butterfly is between 29 – 36mm. Green Veined White There are many types of white butterfly but this particular species can be identified by the green veins on the underside of its wings, however these veins can fade the older the butterfly gets. The Green Veined White is one of the first butterflies to appear in Spring. This butterfly favours damp habitats such as river banks, lakes, ponds, damp meadows, and moorland. What is your favourite butterfly? We would love to see your pictures of them in the woodlands!  Thu, 1 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT Fun in the Forest http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/508/Fun-in-the-Forest http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/508/Fun-in-the-Forest We love hosting community events in our Commonwealth Woods, encouraging people to come together to have fun and explore the outdoors.   Our events are very popular and we believe it is down to how sociable they are. Socialising with everyone is fun and makes us feel more connected locally.  We also hold many activities that everyone can get involved in. This includes storytelling, where a talented story teller takes us on a fun imaginary journey. Face painting is always a firm favourite when it comes to community events. There is nothing better than watching those who attend our get togethers leaving with their face painted and a smile.  The arts and crafts table is popular among those who want to get creative, wooden animals, tree decorations and feather crowns are only some of the crafty fun we provide. Have you ever had a family campfire? Well you will be happy to hear that we try and provide one whenever the weather permits us to, and don’t forget about toasting those marshmallows.  We are all experts when it comes to building dens with our sofas, bedsheets and chairs but have you ever tried it out in the woods? No! Then not to worry we are here to show you exactly how, Bear Grylls will have a run for his money once you have practiced during one of our community events.  Our most recent event at Boden Boo was held in partnership with Interfaith Renfrewshire Group, and was a hit with the local community. Although the weather was up and down it didn’t stop those who attended having a great time.  If you would like to come along to any of our woodland events check us out on our social media.           Wed, 24 Aug 2016 00:00:00 GMT Eilidh Malcolm, Community Ranger http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/507/Eilidh-Malcolm-Community-Ranger http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/507/Eilidh-Malcolm-Community-Ranger Our Community Rangers are very important to us as they are a big part of what keeps our forests as great as they are with activities such as teaching school and nursery children about the woodlands and encouraging the community to visit their local woods.  Therefore we thought it would be a great idea for you to get to know them a little bit better. They get to experience the beautiful woodlands first hand, so they are the best people to go to when looking for advice on how to make the most of your visit to the woods.  First up is Eilidh Malcolm who started working for Forestry Commission Scotland in March 2014, you will often find Eilidh in Auchenshuggle, Old Mine Nature Park, Cuningar Loop and Greenoakhill.   Describe a day as a Community Ranger:  This varies from day to day and is one of the things I love about this job. During school term time we often run sessions in our woodlands for schools, teaching classes about the importance of the natural environment and encouraging them to explore, enjoy and respect this wonderful resource. There is also a lot of background planning for events and volunteers in advance of sessions and checking sites.   What are you three favourite things about working for Forestry Commission Scotland? The variety of people you get to work with. The wealth of knowledge they know. Seeing the passion people have for looking after the natural environment.   What is your favourite woodland and why?  Out of the woodlands I cover my favourite is Cardowan Moss as it is one of our larger woodlands so gives you more scope to explore and learn new things about the site. There is also a really interesting avenue of older trees to the north of the site that give the woodlands so much character and charm. As for other woodlands I love the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park up in Aberfolye. I often went on family trips to this woodland as a child and I loved how tiny I felt amongst the massive trees there. After a recent trip back I loved seeing how much I remembered about this site but was also in awe how much I hadn't noticed and appreciated as a child.   Is there a particular day while working for the Forestry Commission that stands out for you?   After finishing a Branching Out programme (Branching Out is an innovative development for adults who use mental health services in Scotland.) we were handing out John Muir Awards to the participants that had attended the majority of our woodland sessions. One person said that it was the first award they had ever received. You could see they were really proud of not only what they had achieved but the fact they had also been acknowledged for their achievement was an added bonus.   What activities do you enjoy doing in the forest?   When I am not working I love getting into the woods with my family and dog or going mountain biking up at Carron Valley. When I'm working I think I prefer the more relaxed approach to appreciating woodlands and enjoying what wildlife I can spot.   What kind of wildlife have you spotted and where? When working in the Kilpatrick Hills I spotted ospreys a couple of times but not yet in my sites around Glasgow, although there have been sightings at Bishops Loch. I came very close to a water vole at Cardowan Moss but I just missed it. My favourite encounters with wildlife are often spotting amphibians like palmate newts that you often come across by chance.   Why should people visit their local woodland?  It is a great way to get outside, get a bit of fresh air and get some exercise. I always feel much better after a walk in the woods with my dog and it’s a great way to get the kids to go on an adventure without spending a fortune.  Mon, 15 Aug 2016 00:00:00 GMT Kilpatrick Hills opens a new trail http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/506/Kilpatrick-Hills-opens-a-new-trail http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/506/Kilpatrick-Hills-opens-a-new-trail Stop the press!   Kilpatrick hills has a new 8 km trail that is joined to the ever so popular John Muir Way. The new path has been specifically developed to immerse visitors into a wilderness experience. We can only imagine the abundance of wild life you might find on this adventurous new walk.   Over 2km of the existing track in the Kilpatrick Hills has been upgraded for the public to walk on with the rest built from scratch. It took a lot of effort but after a helicopter airlifting three bridges, concrete and cement the path has finally been created.   It is open to both walkers and cyclists, and we are sure in the summer months it will be used well especially since it is connected to the John Muir Way, as it stretches 134 miles between Helensburgh and Dunbar.   The John Muir Way is part of a project to increase the number of visitors enjoying the beauty of Kilpatrick Hills.   Will you be one of the first to try? Let us know what you think!               Mon, 18 Jul 2016 00:00:00 GMT The Wee Cabin Café http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/505/The-Wee-Cabin-Caf http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/505/The-Wee-Cabin-Caf We’re not sure about you but we get pretty hungry here at the Commonwealth Woods, especially when we have just had a big wander, so a café waiting for us with healthy food at the end of our journey is exactly what we are looking for. We love Cuningar Loop because there is so much to see and do so when our café opened up we thought it was time to get to know everyone at The ‘Wee Cabin Café’. Who is behind the ‘Wee Cabin Café?’ The Café is run by the Thomas family (Royce, Candace, Linda and Norman) who have lived in Rutherglen for over 25 years and have visited Cuningar Loop on several family outings since it has opened. They know the area and decided to open up somewhere where visitors had the option to eat healthily. What is on their menu? Their menu includes dishes such as avocado wraps, noodle pots, protein shakes and teddy bear toast for children. The inspiration behind the menu comes from the family’s love of traveling with the menu inspired by California, Spain, China, Cambodia and Nepal. Why should you go to the ‘Wee Cabin Café?’ Man’s best friend is also welcome down at the Wee Cabin Café as they have their own pooch, Tilda, who keeps you company while you enjoy the food. Not only do they have a resident pup, they also raise money for the fantastic charity the DogsTrust.  The menu has many options so much so that everyone would be happy with the choices on offer. They also serve barista style coffee which will warm up the coldest of people after a chilly woodland walk. Candace Thomas, from the Wee Cabin Café said: “Watching our customers enjoying the park and the services we provide is what the ‘Wee Cabin Café’ likes about being in Cuningar Loop Woodland Park.” Next time you pop by Cuningar Loop check out the ‘Wee Cabin Café’ and let us know how you got on, maybe we will see you there!  Tue, 5 Jul 2016 00:00:00 GMT The who, what and where of Scottish wildlife! http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/502/The-who-what-and-where-of-Scottish-wildlife http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/502/The-who-what-and-where-of-Scottish-wildlife Scotland is inundated with incredible wildlife, we are very lucky to have such beautiful creatures roaming our land, so we thought it would be good to have a look at the interesting wildlife you may come across on an adventure in our Commonwealth Woods. Let’s start with the Common Frog Who:  Common Frogs are normally brown or grey with smooth skin and long black legs covered in dark bands. They can grow to a length of 8cm, live up to ten years old and females are bigger than males. A top tip on the Common Frog: if you spot something hopping in the corner of your eye it will probably be one of these frogs as they prefer to hop and jump rather than walk. What: Frogs are amphibians and amphibians start their life in water with gills and tails and as they grow they develop lungs and legs for when they live on land.  Where:  Frogs enjoy ponds in the spring but spend rest of their time on dry land in woodlands and gardens.   Roe Deer Who:  Roe Deer are a small member of the deer family with their average height being between 60cm and 75cm. They are reddish brown in summer, grey in winter and have a distinctive black moustache stripe and a white chin. The males have small antlers with a maximum of three points.   What:  They are native to Britain and have recently become more widespread. Unlike most deer they do not live in herds but are often seen as solitary individuals. Bambi the deer from the children’s books by Felix Salten was a roe deer. Where:  You will find Roe Deer throughout Scotland in woodlands, particularly at the edges of woodlands and open habitats. Roe deer are most active at dusk and dawn. Have you spotted a Roe Deer in the Commonwealth Woods? Ladybird Who:  Ladybirds are commonly yellow, orange or the most obvious colour of red, with small black legs, head and antennae.  Did you know that there are 46 species of ladybird in Britain? What: Ladybirds are insects, in the USA they are called Lady Bugs and in some parts of Europe are called Lady Beetles.  They are believed to be nature’s pest controllers and are thought to be more effective than many chemicals. Where:  Ladybirds feed on insects that are found in the woods and on farms.  Ladybirds are beautiful insects, and we love to spot them when we are on a wander through the woods. If you spot any wildlife on your adventures through the Commonwealth Woods we would love to see your pictures and hear your stories, so please get in touch with us over on our social media channels.   Facebook:  Commonwealth Woods – A Glasgow 2014 Legacy Games Project Twitter: Legacy14Woods   Mon, 27 Jun 2016 00:00:00 GMT Summer in the woods http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/493/Summer-in-the-woods http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/493/Summer-in-the-woods   It is just as well our days get longer in summer as there are so many exciting things to get up to in the Commonwealth Woods. Whether it is a relaxing picnic or a spot of mountain biking we have the activity for you.     On Saturday 18th June Castlemilk are having a Teddy Bears Picnic. Bring along your teddy so they can enjoy some fun in the sun and remember to bring your favourite edible goodies, as it is a picnic after all. Not only will the Teddy bears be treated to a day out in the woods but they will also be given a ‘Forest Creatures’ puppet show.   Cuningar Loop is only a twenty minute drive from Glasgow city centre but it truly feels like you have entered the countryside. A great summer activity would be bouldering, bouldering is a form of rock climbing without the ropes and harnesses, the boulders are not high and are surrounded by safety mats. Who will be the first to reach the top?   When was the last time you flew a kite? Cathkin Braes is the perfect woodland space to watch your kite soar through the sky. Although many believe flying a kite is a beach activity we think it belongs in the wood, this is because it is believed that before paper was invented the first kites were made of leaves.   Go for a stroll in the sun and witness the city of Glasgow from a different point of view this summer from Drumchapel. Although it is a young woodland it is truly stunning, especially in summer when the high meadow is covered in wild flowers.   Hill walking is not always about bagging Munro’s, sometimes it is lovely to view them from a distance such as Ben Lomond on a relaxing stroll through Kilpatrick Hills. Walking through this area will not only give you spectacular landscape views but you may also spot some of Scotland’s local wildlife.   Bring your furry friends down to the woods, and no we are not talking about Teddy bears this time, but dogs. Dogs love the woods and they would appreciate the chance to explore and discover new areas. Wednesday July 6th we are having a Doggie Day at Castlemilk, so bring your best friend down and enter them into a fun doggie show with categories such as waggiest tail, leave the sausage, best 6 legs, best rescue dog and many more.   We hope we have given you plenty of ideas to enjoy your summer in the woods, if you would like more ideas click the activities page on the website or get in touch to find out about more events in the future.  Fri, 13 May 2016 00:00:00 GMT Easter http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/492/Easter http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/492/Easter It is that time of year were we indulge in too much chocolate and roll multi-coloured eggs down hills, what is not to love about Easter? Let’s see what we can get up to this Easter at the Commonwealth Woods.   When people eat a chocolate Easter bunny 76% bite the ears off first Have you noticed any wildlife in our Commonwealth woods yet? Easter is the perfect time of year to visit as you may be able to catch a glimpse of some animals and birds as well as look at the beautiful spring flowers; you may even spot the Easter bunny! Let us know and show us pictures of any sightings on our Facebook or Twitter pages.   Easter contributes up to 10% of the UK chocolate spending for the whole year Over indulged? The Commonwealth woods are the perfect place to walk off those chocolate eggs and bunnies. We have many walk ways for a short stroll or a long wander and you can pick which woodland would be best from our map. If you would prefer to cycle you should check out our bike pump track at Cuningar Loop or the mountain bike facilities at Cathkin Braes.  The White House hosts an Easter Egg Roll on the front lawn each year, this tradition began in 1878 Everyone is welcome to join us at our Tree Dressing event at Cuningar Loop on Friday 25th March (Easter Friday) between 12-4pm, there will be plenty of activities to start off the Easter weekend for all the family to enjoy including tree decoration making, willow weaving, storytelling, felt craft and green wood working.  A fantastic idea for the Easter holidays would be a picnic at Old Mine Nature Park and plan some fun activities for the kids such as your own Woodland Games or an Easter egg and spoon race!  Tue, 22 Mar 2016 00:00:00 GMT International Day of Forests http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/491/International-Day-of-Forests http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/491/International-Day-of-Forests We’ll be celebrating International Day of Forests in our woodlands on 21st March, the day aims to promote awareness of how important forests are in our lives.  Our Commonwealth Woodlands are the perfect place to celebrate and we want to encourage everyone to find out more about the significance of forests by heading down to your local woodland.    Forests cover over a third of the earth’s land, and certainly deserve their own international day, so let’s take a look at how the rest of the world contribute towards and celebrate this event. Spain - Organises guided walks and tree planting activities as well as a photography competition where people can enter their favourite pictures of the outdoors.  Belgium - Hosts an evening conference to help promote visiting the forest to its residents and the vital role it plays in their lives. Geneva – Is arranging an event with a ‘Forest and Water’ theme, with the aim of raising awareness of the link between forests and water sources. New York – Similar to Geneva, New York will celebrate International Day of Forests and World Water Day, highlighting the connection between water and trees.  Tajikistan – Hosts an exhibition of ornamental trees and shrubs.  Uganda - Will plant up to 30,000 more trees! Join us and celebrate our woodlands and forests and do your bit for International Day of Forests.  To find out which woodland is closest to you and the activities you can get involved in check out: http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/activities  Mon, 14 Mar 2016 00:00:00 GMT Spring Is On Its Way http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/478/Spring-Is-On-Its-Way http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/478/Spring-Is-On-Its-Way We’re nearly there.  We’re almost out of the winter darkness and into the light of spring.  Pick a sunny day in February and you can begin to see spring is definitely on the way.  It’s not just the lighter mornings and longer evenings that you’ll notice – our woodlands are already waking up to the sound of spring.  Birds, insects, animals and flowers are already preparing for the change in seasons.  This month, we take a look at some key tell-take signs that spring has almost sprung. Snowdrops – Commonly celebrated as one of the first signs of spring, Snowdrops form impressive carpets of white in areas across some of our woodlands.  Join the team at Castlemilk Park and discover the park’s snowdrifts on a guided walk.   Bumblebees – Look out for the first bumblebees in March.  You will mostly see Queen Bees who have survived the winter and are now looking for nectar and pollen from spring flowers.    Daffodils – The Daffodil brings some of the first hints of colour into spring.  There are 13 different varieties each with a different look, size and colour.  Our favourite is the common bright yellow flower which can be seen every spring across hills, woodlands and gardens.  Daffodils are said to get their name from the Greek God, Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection.  The downward facing flower is said to depict Narcissus staring at himself in a pool of water.     Frogs – frogs and toads tend to be on the move in February in time for spawning.  They often travel long distances to find suitable breeding ground, travelling at night when it’s cool and damp.   Bluebells – the sweet-scented violet blue flowers can often dominate woodlands producing carpets of violet-blue flowers.  Take in the magnificent flowers and enjoy a wander where the bluebells grow in Bluebell Woods near Johnstone Castle.    Tue, 23 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT Love Your Feathered Friends http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/477/Love-Your-Feathered-Friends http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/477/Love-Your-Feathered-Friends Our woodlands are filled with some of Scotland’s most fascinating and beautiful birds.  With love in the air in February we decided to take a look at some of our favourite feathered friends you can hope to see on your woodland walks.     We can’t help feeling happy when we hear the cheerful call of a Thrush as we work.     Probably the most famous ‘musical bird’ the Thrush is one of the UK’s most loved         birds.  Thrushes repeat their song phrases making them stand out.  You might             wake up to the early call of a Thrush throughout spring and summer.    We love hearing the ‘twit-too’ of a Tawny Owl during the night.  Rarely seen during       the day, tawny owls use the renowned call to talk to each other after dark.    The nocturnal bird is distinctive with its rounded body and head, ring of dark feathers   surrounding its face and dark eyes.   They like to eat small mammals and rodents, small birds, frogs, fish, insects and           worms making them perfect woodlands creatures.     With a striking green and yellow coat, glossy black head and perfect white       cheeks, the Great Tit is one of the most beautiful birds to see and hear.  Did     you know they have up to 40 different types of calls and songs?       Although they won’t lay their eggs for a while yet, they are already on the       look-out for a home for the summer    We couldn’t talk about our favourite woodland birds without mentioning with the         popular Woodpecker.  During the spring our woodlands are often alive with the             sound of woodpeckers drumming on the trunks of our trees.    They’re striking black and white feathers with patches of red make them beautiful to   observe but they are notoriously hard to spot as they tend to be quite shy and keep     themselves hidden from onlookers.    Thu, 18 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT Working in the woodlands http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/476/Working-in-the-woodlands http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/476/Working-in-the-woodlands Richard Bolton, Community Woodland Officer at Cassiltoun Housing Association, tells us about his unique role and how Castlemilk Park has become part of the community. It’s my job to ensure the woodlands at Castlemilk are a safe and enjoyable place for everyone to visit.  I’m employed by Cassiltoun Housing Association which makes my job pretty unique, we work together to manage and improve the woodlands for the local community.  The woodland is owned by Glasgow City Council and we work in partnership with many organisations and agencies ensuring we deliver the best woodland experience for the community.  The ethos of Cassiltoun Housing Association goes in tandem with how we handle the woodlands and how we improve it for the benefit of the local area and its residents.  Castlemilk Park has a long and interesting history, once part of the designed landscape of Cassiltoun House, the tree lined driveways still form part of the well maintained path network which we enjoy today.   When house building started in Castlemilk it transformed the area but the woodlands have always been there.  The houses now surround the park - it’s very unique and special.    With the decline in manufacturing in the 1970’s, the area suffered many problems including territorial and anti-social behaviour issues, particularly within the woodlands.  People felt the park was an unsafe place for them.  A lot of my role has focused on overcoming these issues and concerns, working with the council and partners to provide a safe woodland for residents.  We offer a great programme of events and activities for everyone.  In 2015 we had over 180 events with over 4,700 people attending, it’s really great to see Castlemilk Park become part of the community and how people react to the improvements that have been made.  We try to engage people in different ways from fairy and pumpkin festivals, health walks, and volunteer and community groups to forest kindergarten.  We have it all at Castlemilk including a stunning waterfall.    The best part of my job is seeing the transformation of the woodlands and how it benefits the community.  Getting out into the woodlands can provide a number of health benefits for people’s mental, emotional, social and physical health.  I get to see some of the long term benefits and how it has transformed people’s lives – it’s very rewarding.  I’m in the woodlands most days and visit them regularly as I’m a keen photographer and bird watcher so the woodlands are the perfect place for me.  If you’re visiting Castlemilk during the winter then look out for animal foot prints, you might be lucky enough to see tracks from a roe deer or even spot one yourself.   Tue, 19 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMT Kick start 2016 by spending more time outdoors http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/475/Kick-start-2016-by-spending-more-time-outdoors http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/475/Kick-start-2016-by-spending-more-time-outdoors January - we all begin the New Year with high hopes, resolutions and promises for the year ahead.  Learn an instrument, travel more, change job, learn a language and after all the indulgence of Christmas – eat better and get fitter. If your New Year’s resolution is to be more active and live a healthier lifestyle then look no further than your local woods for motivation.  Our network of 14 Commonwealth woodlands offer a range of unique outdoor spaces with multiple path networks for long walks, running routes and cycle tracks to help you on your way to getting fit this year.  A woodland environment provides all the necessary means for staying muscular, toned and lean.  Utilising its natural terrain and obstacles you will be able to create and complete your own challenging workout which will help keep your body fit and your mind rejuvenated.  Use your imagination, jump over logs, play tig with your kids, sprint between trees, crawl through leaves or bring a group of friends down and take part in a group activity, giving you a sense of achievement and euphoria you might not necessarily get from the gym.  You could even try out our woodland workout area at Cuningar Loop.  Open every weekend from Saturday 9th January, the area consists of 8 different pieces of apparatus including angled hurdles, balance beans, sit up logs, pull up bars and log hops.  Being exposed to nature also creates positive and calming effects to your body.  So, grab your friends and family, head on down to your local woodland and get active together outdoors.     Thu, 7 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMT Celebrating our trees during National Tree Week http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/474/Celebrating-our-trees-during-National-Tree-Week http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/474/Celebrating-our-trees-during-National-Tree-Week   We celebrated the role trees play in all our lives at our annual Tree Dressing events during National Tree Week.   Families joined in our activities including tree decoration making, willow weaving, storytelling, felt craft and green wood working.  National Tree Week has been celebrated since 1975 and marks the start of the winter tree planting season.  Trees are often described as the lungs of the earth providing us with oxygen and food and homes for animals, birds and insects.  A mature English Oak Tree is home to over 284 species of insect!      We take a look at some interesting tree facts and the impact they have on our lives and environment.  The oldest tree in the UK and perhaps in Europe is believed to be the Fortingall Yew near Aberfeldy in Scotland, and is thought to be 5,000 years old Trees shrink as they become ancient, becoming shorter and squatter. It's a great survival strategy as it means they can cope better with high winds The UK has the largest concentration of ancient trees in Northern Europe Two mature trees provide enough oxygen for a family of four Trees help reduce the "greenhouse effect" by absorbing CO2 By cooling the air and ground around them, the shade from trees helps cool the Earth's temperature Trees help prevent city flooding by catching raindrops and offsetting run-off caused by buildings and parking lots A fully-grown Oak in the UK grows - and sheds - 250,000 leaves every year and produces around 50,000 acorns in a good year It has been estimated that in 50 years one tree recycles more than £60,000 worth of water, provides £50,000 worth of erosion control, £100,000 worth of air pollution control, and produces £60,000 worth of oxygen Mon, 14 Dec 2015 00:00:00 GMT Wildlife Hibernation http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/471/Wildlife-Hibernation http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/471/Wildlife-Hibernation As we approach the start of winter and the nights draw in we all want to go into hibernation mode, curl up on the couch and watch some good TV.  Our wildlife is no different; throughout our woodlands some of our most loved animals are beginning to go into hibernation and will not make an appearance until next spring. For most animals finding enough food in winter can be difficult when their main source of food like insects or green plants is in short supply.  Some animals solve this by hibernating.      Preparation is key to a mammal’s existence during hibernation.  Animals get ready by eating extra food and storing it as body fat which they use as energy during hibernation.  Animals have the ability to turn down their body temperature and slow down their heartbeat and breathing which helps to conserve their resources to make it through the winter months.    Animals that hibernate include hedgehogs, bats, dormice, queen bumblebees and butterflies.  You can help hedgehogs find somewhere to hibernate by creating your own cosy hedgehog home in your garden.  Here are a few helpful tips to get you started.     Firstly, find a quiet part of your garden preferably against a wall or fence.  Take a sturdy crate such as a wine crate and turn it upside down.  Cut a hole out one side of the crate at the base to make an entrance.  Create a tunnel from 4 x 30cm lengths of untreated wood and nail them together lengthways and slide the tunnel into the hole.  Nail the tunnel to the crate from the inside.  Make sure you make an entrance that does not face North or North East to avoid cold winter winds.  Cover the house with stones, earth, wood, grass and leaves but leave the inside clear, hedgehogs like to decorate their own homes with leaves, straw and garden debris - it’s part of their hibernation ritual.  By late March / early April your hedgehog house may need to be cleaned.  Hedgehogs can hibernate in the same place all winter and a female may even have her young in it in the spring.  Make sure you don’t have a hedgehog in residence before washing it out!   Mon, 16 Nov 2015 00:00:00 GMT Woodlands get spooky in time for Halloween http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/419/Woodlands-get-spooky-in-time-for-Halloween http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/419/Woodlands-get-spooky-in-time-for-Halloween If you’re looking for fun activities this Halloween then get yourself down to your local woodlands.  From pumpkin carving to spooky story-telling to arts and crafts, we have lots of great events for all you Halloweeners!    Boden Boo, Old Ferry Road, Erskine Saturday 24th October, 5.30 – 8.30pm Halloween fun for all the family will see children from Class Acts working with Walking Theatre Company actors to deliver their take on the Frankenstein story.  Make sure you bring a torch! £3 per child, further information and tickets available by calling 0300 067 6700.    Castlemilk Park From Saturday 24th – Wednesday 28th October Castlemilk Park’s Pumpkin Festival begins with lots of exciting activities for the whole family.  Below is just a quick look at some of the festival’s activities. For more events and booking, please call 0141 634 2673.      Pumpkin Story Telling for pre-school children  Tuesday 27th October, 10am, 11am, 1pm and 2pm Join us on this bush craft session as we make pumpkin soup over a fire in the woods of Castlemilk Park.  Booking is required.    Lighting of the Pumpkins Tuesday 27th October 6 – 7pm See over 200 beautifully carved pumpkins created over a series of events.    Todds Well, Easterhouse Friday 30th October, 5 – 7pm Join us (if you dare) for spooky fun at Provan Hall House from 5pm, followed by a lantern walk through Todds Well Woods at 6pm. Fancy dress encouraged!  No need to book, just turn up. All children must be accompanied by an adult.     Fri, 23 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMT Drumchapel 5k is a roaring success http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/420/Drumchapel-5k-is-a-roaring-success http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/420/Drumchapel-5k-is-a-roaring-success Over 60 people took part in our first Drumchapel 5k ‘With a Twist’ in September through our Cleddans Burn and Garscadden West woodlands.   The event was a re-launch of the community fun run that started in 2005 until 2011. It was previously held on the roads and streets in Drumchapel, the ‘With a Twist’ was to reflect the multi-terrain that the route covered.   The new 2k and 5k routes allowed people of all ages to run, walk or jog alongside family and friends while enjoying the outdoors.    Chester Nursery families who ran the 5k, said: “We’ve had a fabulous day, thanks again for allowing us to have a fun day”.   The event was organised by our Community Ranger for Drumchapel, Derek Shannan, who said: “The day was a great success.  It was amazing to see everyone come together and enjoy the woodlands.  We have such a great space within Cleddans Burn and Garscadden West and to use it in this way, watching everyone enjoy the outdoors was something special.”   After a successful first year Derek is already making plans for next year’s event and hopes more people will come along and join in.    Derek adds: “We’ll definitely be doing it again next year.  It’s great to see so many people from the community and further afield come down, take part and enjoy it. The other 8 community partners were great to work with and it shows what we can achieve. ”      The event was held in partnership with Forest Enterprise Scotland, Drumchapel L.I.F.E, Police Scotland, Glasgow City Council Roads Department, Clean Safe Glasgow, Goals, Great Western Golf, Drumchapel Baptist Church and G15 Youth Project.   Fri, 23 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMT We say goodbye to summer and hello to autumn http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/416/We-say-goodbye-to-summer-and-hello-to-autumn http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/416/We-say-goodbye-to-summer-and-hello-to-autumn As the kids settle back at school and the temperature changes summer feels like a distant memory, but you can still enjoy the remnants of summer and the early stages of autumn in your local woodland.   With the days still bright and long, our woodlands are a great way to watch the seasons change.    See amazing sunrises and sunsets as you walk, cycle or run through the trees and explore what the outdoors has to offer.    What can you spot in your local woodland?  Here are just a few things to look out for;        Apples and blackberries   Pine needles and pine cones   Rose hips and acorns Squirrels gathering nuts for winter See the spiders webs which are more visible in the morning dew Birds in flock preparing for their winter migration If you enjoy the sound of crunching leaves and the crisp fresh air that comes with the arrival of autumn, pay a visit to one of the 14 Commonwealth Woodlands in and around Glasgow.                Fri, 11 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT Ten great things to do outdoors this summer http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/413/Ten-great-things-to-do-outdoors-this-summer http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/413/Ten-great-things-to-do-outdoors-this-summer Build a den.  You don’t need any special equipment.  Go to your local woods and you’ll find all sorts of natural materials for building a den from sticks, branches and moss. To get started, find a sturdy, living, Y-shaped tree and prop the longest branch you can find against it. Then place branches and sticks either side to create to sloping walls. It’s such good fun and can be as big or small as you want. Build a bug hotel.  Make a home for all sorts of insects from beetles to bees. All you need is a bundle of stuff like dried leaves, twigs, old hollow broad bean stems and pine cones.  You can tie it altogether with string or cut a plastic water bottle in half or use a seed tray.  Then hide them in hedges ready for the bugs to move in. Find a bug party.  Go for a walk in the woods and look for pine cones on the ground.  Choose a few dry ones, then find out which one has the best bug party.  'Knock on the door' by tapping the cone once in the palm of your hand, then look to see which bugs have come out of the cone.  How many can you spot? The main party goers are springtails, very tiny bugs that jump a lot.  You can also find small spiders, young woodlice and other tiny bugs.  Place everything back carefully on the ground. Be a bird! Imagine being a bird and figure out how they get some of their food. Do a wee dance to bring up worms from the ground, just a like a bird would tap the ground to coax a worm.  This is giggly fun.  You can also sing the song about worms ‘Guess I’ll go eat worms’. Be an explorer! Get creative and make a very simple picture map of the walk you plan to go on with a number of things to spot like bird feathers, a robin, a tall tree, bugs under a rock, an animal track.  Depending on how creative you are, you could do an alphabet treasure hunt.  Each person has to take a turn to collect or identify nature as part of a walk and tick off items A through to Z. Have a race! Choose a tree or something to be your finish line. Everyone starts at the finish and runs for one minute and stops where ever they get to and turns back to face the finish line. Now the real race starts, with everyone having a staggered start. Race to the finish. Get creative. Head to the park or woods and collect leaves, sticks, berries or cones.  Take them home, let them dry out for a few days and then go to town being creative with glitter, pens and coloured paper.  Making your ‘nature’ piece is perfect to do at home on a wet day. Be quiet! Find a spot in a woodland away from people and cars and find a comfortable place to sit or stand. Close your eyes for five minutes and listen to all the sounds. How many different sounds can you hear? What is your favourite? How does it feel when you open your eyes again? Expand your brain power.  Gather 10 to 20 items from the woods.  Everyone has five minutes to look at the items before they are covered up.  You then have to remember what you saw.  Someone gives a few clues to help you.  The ‘rules’ can be tailored to the age of family members. 10. Go on a bat hunt. There are 17 different species of bat in the UK and nine of these thought to be in Scotland. Organise an evening walk or even a night hike near waterways and ponds to see if you can spot bats in flight.  Don’t forget to take a torch and a camera. The Commission runs the hugely successful Forest Kindergarten and Forest School programmes, working closely with nurseries and schools across Central Scotland to encourage outdoor learning techniques and activities to get children outside.   Experts recommend that children take part in 60 minutes of any physical exercise each day, five times a week to improve health and lead a happier life style. That could be all anything from riding a bike, building a den or playing chase. Ten great things to do outdoors this summer Tue, 25 Aug 2015 00:00:00 GMT Come and Try at Cuningar Loop http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/412/Come-and-Try-at-Cuningar-Loop http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/412/Come-and-Try-at-Cuningar-Loop We’re hosting a series of special events at Cuningar Loop, an exciting Legacy 2014 project which has transformed 15 hectares of derelict land on the banks of the River Clyde into an attractive woodland park. We want to give you a first peek of this exciting new park at our Come and Try events, so you can see what the new park has to offer before our grand opening in spring 2016. Three events will take place throughout August and September giving you the chance to come and try our Activity Zone which features a bike skills park, bouldering park, adventure play and woodland workout. You will be able to come and see the park as it takes shape and we hope that you’re going to love it! When finished, Cuningar Loop will feature an extensive path network, an Activity Zone, a boardwalk that runs along the River Clyde along with picnic areas, a large meadow and outdoor classroom. Sitting opposite to the new residential development, The Village (previously the Athlete’s Village), Cuningar Loop is just off Downiebrae Road by Dalmarnock Bridge and close to Rutherglen, Dalmarnock and Farme Cross.    The bike skills park has been designed for mountain biking, BMX and dirt jump bikes and will accommodate entry level cyclists and skilled users. It features four tracks: a balance track, beginners track, improvers track and pump track for advanced cyclists.  Set to be Scotland’s first outdoor bouldering park, there are nine boulders with various technical features including slabs, vertical walls, overhangs, shallow grooves, arêtes, corners and flakes to suit absolute beginners right up to experienced climbers. The adventure play has a central design and range of smaller play items to create challenging play activities for children and young people.  It's suitable for a range of ages and abilities with the purpose of encouraging children to get involved in self-led play, testing their own boundaries. The main areas of the site have been completed, including the major ground works, the boulevard and boardwalk, the path network, planting and outdoor classroom. The next big piece of work to take place is the design and build of Cuningar footbridge.   Event information Come and Try Bike - Sunday 23rd August, 12pm – 4pmCome and Try Climb - Sunday 30th August, 12pm – 4pmCome and Try Adventure Play and Arts - Sunday 20th September, 12pm – 4pm We can’t wait to show off our new woodland park. We hope you can join us at our Come and Try events this summer. See you there! Tue, 18 Aug 2015 00:00:00 GMT Put a spring in your step at Easterhouse http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/392/Put-a-spring-in-your-step-at-Easterhouse http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/392/Put-a-spring-in-your-step-at-Easterhouse Julie Wilson, Community Ranger in East Glasgow, talks about some of the ways you can explore your local woods this Spring. Beyond the soggy leaves on the ground and the bare trees there are signs that spring is well and truly on its way, and it is a wonderful time to get out into your local woods. You can have a look for the fresh buds on the trees waiting to reveal new leaves, seek out the snowdrops and primroses bringing a splash of colour to the woodland floor, or see if you can catch the birds gathering twigs, grasses and mosses for the start of nesting season.  In partnership with the Seven Lochs Wetland Park, I’ll be hosting a number of free events at the Commonwealth Woods in Easterhouse. These fantastic, free, family events provide the perfect opportunity to get outdoors, explore the woods and have some fun. First up is our Easter Bunny Hunt at Todds Well on Friday 3rd April between 12pm- 2pm. To get involved, meet us at Provanhall House where you’ll get a checklist and a pencil. From there, you’ll take a walk (or a hop!) around Todds Well to see how many bunnies you can spot hiding in the woods. Find the bunnies and you can win a chocolate treat! After that we have our ‘Spring into Easterhouse’ event on Saturday 16th May between 1-3pm. We’ll be having a guided walk, looking out for the signs of spring, learning more about the amazing woodland wildlife and enjoying plenty of fun games along the way.  The events are free and everyone is welcome so I look forward to seeing you try out the woods to put a ‘spring’ in your step this Easter! Tue, 17 Mar 2015 00:00:00 GMT Try out the treasure trails before the competition closes! http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/391/Try-out-the-treasure-trails-before-the-competition-closes http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/391/Try-out-the-treasure-trails-before-the-competition-closes Derek Shannan, Community Ranger to four of the Commonwealth Woods, urges youngsters and families to enter the treasure trails competition before the deadline on March 1st. Since launching the treasure trails last October with Commonwealth gold medal winner Kimberley Renicks, we have been delighted to see youngsters from around Glasgow giving them a go. With just a few days to go until the competition closes on March 1st, we are urging as many people as possible to try out our trails at Easterhouse, Boden Boo and Johnstone woods. The treasure trails are a fantastic way to explore the woods, stretch your legs and test your brain. All you need to do is download a map from our website then follow the clues around the woods to answer a puzzle about medal winners from the Games. The trails are free, fun and family-oriented. We’ve even given people a helping hand by revealing a couple of the answers for Rannoch Woods at Johnstone, where you can take in stunning views along the path network while doing the trail, and also for Boden Boo.  Check out the Treasure Trails web page for more details. Once you’ve completed your trail, just enter your answer and contact details onto our website and you will be in with a chance of winning a competition goodie bag which includes a £50 Tiso voucher. Of course, the most important thing to us at the Commonwealth Woods is the Games legacy. So even when the competition finishes we’ll be keeping the trails going so that everyone can continue to enjoy them for a long time to come. Congratulations to all those who have already taken part, and we hope to see a final rush of entries this week! Wed, 25 Feb 2015 00:00:00 GMT Discover treasure exploring your local woods http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/384/Discover-treasure-exploring-your-local-woods http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/384/Discover-treasure-exploring-your-local-woods Local families and budding investigators are being encouraged to complete one of the Commonwealth Woods Treasure Trails before the hunt for the treasure closes later this month. The problem solving walking activities available at Boden Boo, Johnstone and Easterhouse woods in and around Glasgow have been designed to help people have fun getting active and exploring the woods outdoors.   Participants can pick up a map for free and then explore a trail around the woods hunting out answers to intriguing clues to solve a mystery about Commonwealth athlete’s and discover who won the medal.  The trails are easy to follow walking routes that can be completed in about an hour.  They have been designed by Treasure Trails as part of the Commonwealth Woods national legacy project.  Julie Hamilton of the Forestry Commission Scotland says:  “Treasure Trails are a great free activity to try out with family or friends.  People don’t need any special equipment, just a map, a sense of adventure and to dress for the weather.  It’s an exciting way to get some fresh air outdoors during the weekend or the upcoming school holidays.”  Anyone who completes a Commonwealth Woods Treasure Trail and accurately solves the mystery at any of the three woods can enter a free competition prize draw to win a competition goodie bag including a £50 voucher to spend at a leading outdoor clothing specialist.  A free leaflet of the self guided themed walks and clues is available to download at www.commonwoods.org.uk/treasure  The competition closes on 1 March 2015 but the Treasure Trails will still be available for people to take part in for fun.  There are dozens of free events and activities to help people get active, learn or just have fun at a network of 14 Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow. For more information about other Commonwealth Woods medal route visit www.commonwoods.org.uk  For further information or pictures please contact Lynne Veitch or Alasdair Hutchison at Pagoda PR on 0131 556 0770 or email fcs@pagodapr.com Thu, 5 Feb 2015 00:00:00 GMT Happy New Year from Everyone at Commonwealth Woods http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/383/Happy-New-Year-from-Everyone-at-Commonwealth-Woods http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/383/Happy-New-Year-from-Everyone-at-Commonwealth-Woods “With 2015 now underway and many of us thinking about positive changes we want to make to our lifestyle or health and fitness, I’d encourage you to take advantage of the Commonwealth Woods near you for a brisk walk or cycle to clear the cobwebs from the festive season.  Getting out at different times of the day - at this time of year - can help to change your mood. And there’s always a surprise in store or discovery to be made.  While jogging through a woodland over the festive season, I was treated to a dawn chorus by the birds; it helped to lift my spirits and made me feel positive about the challenges that lie ahead for 2015.  I hope that our 2015 calendar (which we gave away free with the Evening Times on 19th December) is inspiring people to visit one of the fantastic woods in the network.  If you missed out on a copy, we’ve got a few left. If you’d like one, please send an A5 stamped addressed envelope to me - Julie Hamilton, Forestry Commission Scotland, Bothwell House, Hamilton Business Park, Hamilton, ML3 0QA  And if you’d like to try a walk with friends or family, why not try one of the Treasure hunt themed walks at Todds Well woods in Easterhouse, Boden Boo in Erskine and Rannoch Woods at Johnstone Woods. These self guided walks take about an hour to complete.   All you need to do is download our free Commonwealth Woods treasure trails map, and follow the clues. Complete the trail correctly and enter our competition for a chance to win a goodie bag with a £50 Tiso voucher. More information here http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/treasure  The New Year will also bring more exciting events in your local woods to help you get out and exploring. Please keep an eye out on our website and social media for updates of what is happening near you.  Enjoy the woods this year!”Julie Hamilton, Social Programme Manager for Forestry Commission ScotlandHas been involved with the Commonwealth Woods Legacy project since it was launched in 2013 and now manages the project.   Thu, 8 Jan 2015 00:00:00 GMT Our calendar comp winner shares his love of the outdoors http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/365/Our-calendar-comp-winner-shares-his-love-of-the-outdoors http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/365/Our-calendar-comp-winner-shares-his-love-of-the-outdoors Peter Flaherty is the winner of the photography competition that asked people to explore and photograph a network of 14 Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow and Lanarkshire. He won best picture overall with his stunning shot of Lang Craigs wood overlooking Dumbarton. Here he tells us why he loves walking in his local Commonwealth Wood. First of all I'd like to thank the judging panel for choosing my photo as the winner of the Commonwealth Woods calendar competition. There are a lot of good photographs and talented photographers, so to find out I had won was a very pleasant surprise and the calendar will hang proudly on my wall. The gallery of entries made me realise how beautiful the scenery and wildlife is in other Commonwealth woods. I'll be sure to check out the places I haven't visited. Going hill walking in Lang Craigs and beyond is a favourite pastime for me. The fresh air, tranquillity, the views and getting away from the hustle and bustle with my walking boots on is always pleasurable. After a while I realised that my memory of that glowing sunset or those spectacular flowers in bloom was fading and no amount of explaining it to others seemed to do it justice. I found photography the perfect complement to hill walking. It combined my love of the great outdoors and challenged me to be creative and look at things from a different perspective. Lang Craigs and the Kilpatrick Hills are places I've been going to for 20 years. I feel an affinity with them and no matter if it is bathing in the sunshine or traipsing up the Doughnut hill in wind, hail, rain or snow I'll always go back there to take photos and spend the day in a place I enjoy. I'd encourage anyone to do the same. Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:00:00 GMT Inspired by my local Woods calendar competition http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/364/Inspired-by-my-local-Woods-calendar-competition http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/364/Inspired-by-my-local-Woods-calendar-competition Our ‘Inspired by my Local Woods’ calendar competition attracted over 110 entries from locals and community groups across Glasgow and Lanarkshire. Peter Sandground, a professional photographer and one of the judges, is helping to choose the winning pictures that will feature in a 2015 calendar, to be distributed free with the Evening Times. He tells us why he loves looking at other people’s photographs. We live in a new digital age where almost everyone carries gadgets and devices that allow us to take pictures at any given time. This means the quality of pictures has improved and it can be difficult to know if you’re looking at a professional photograph, or one by an amateur. Although I take photos for a number of national newspapers and lifestyle magazines for a living, I love nothing more than looking at those taken by other professionals or by amateurs. One of the UK’s biggest news websites displays a selection of the best photographs submitted by their readers each week and I always take time to look at them and choose my favourite. I was therefore delighted to be asked to help select the winning images from The Commonwealth Woods photography competition and, as usual, choosing the best image proved to be quite a task. The images display the beauty of a network of 14 woods across Glasgow and Lanarkshire. They show the beautiful landscapes and wildlife available to people on their doorsteps. It was obvious people had put a lot of thought into their subject matter, with a good range of both wildlife and landscape images, as well as using light and shade to create a striking picture. It’s a huge challenge to decide on an outright winner and I’m so glad I don’t have to make the decision alone – really looking forward to consulting my fellow judges – Julie Hamilton of the Forestry Commission Scotland, Paul Wood of the Legacy 2014 Team and Richard Bolton, Community Woodland Officer at Castlemilk wood. One thing’s for sure, I can’t wait to see the finished calendar.To view shortlist entries, visit our gallery.  Mon, 3 Nov 2014 00:00:00 GMT Last call for locals to enter legacy calendar competition http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/362/Last-call-for-locals-to-enter-legacy-calendar-competition http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/362/Last-call-for-locals-to-enter-legacy-calendar-competition Children and families across Glasgow and Lanarkshire have one week left to take pictures of their local Commonwealth Woods and enter them in a competition that could win a display spot in a special calendar. Images to the ‘Inspired by my local woods’ photography competition, which is run by The Forestry Commission Scotland and forms part of the Commonwealth Woods, a legacy project linked to the Glasgow 2014 Games, must be submitted by Friday, 17 October 2014. Winning pictures will be used to design a 2015 calendar that will be distributed free with the Glasgow Evening Times. There is a network of 14 Commonwealth Woods that encourages residents to explore their local woods with a camera in hand to get shots of birds, plants, wildlife and community events throughout the changing seasons. The calendar will display images from each of the woods from Rawards in Airdrie, Old Mine Nature Park in Fallside to Riccard Johnstone in Motherwell. Pictures for the Inspired by my Woods photography competition must be taken at one of the network of 14 Commonwealth Woods. For more information visit www.commonwealthwoods.org.uk/competitions Mon, 13 Oct 2014 00:00:00 GMT Gold medal winner launches Commonwealth Woods treasure trails in Easterhouse http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/361/Gold-medal-winner-launches-Commonwealth-Woods-treasure-trails-in-Easterhouse http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/361/Gold-medal-winner-launches-Commonwealth-Woods-treasure-trails-in-Easterhouse Commonwealth Games 2014 Gold medal winner and Judo star Kimberley Renicks will join youngsters to launch the Commonwealth Woods Treasure Trails in Easterhouse today (Tuesday, 7 October). Pupils from Sunnyside Primary School and Lanarkshire born Kimberley will be the first to take part in this new treasure hunt themed problem solving and walking activity for families designed by Treasure Trails for the Commonwealth Woods national legacy project. They will use a range of props including magnifying glasses, binoculars, a compass and map to explore a trail around the woods and hunt out answers to intriguing clues to solve a mystery about Commonwealth competitors and find the athlete’s medal. The Commonwealth Woods Treasure Trails is a free activity to help people have fun getting active and exploring the woods outdoors. Available at three Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow - Todds Well in Easterhouse, Boden Boo in Erskine and Rannoch Woods in Johnstone in Renfrewshire - the trails are easy to follow walking routes that can be completed in about an hour. Welcoming the new initiative, Kimberley Renicks, 26, who won Scotland’s first gold medal in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, said: “I’m proud to be part of a project that is inspiring young people and families to be more physically active in the fresh air. It’s a good activity for a family or group of friends looking for an imaginative way to spend time together.” A free leaflet of the self guided themed walks and clues is available from libraries and community centres in Easterhouse, Erskine and Johnstone or to download  Ros Mills, Commonwealth Woods Walking Development Officer, said: “We are always looking at ways to encourage people to spend time in the woods and these trails offer a new and fun way for people to explore, while enjoying some of the beautiful scenery and landscape. You don’t need any special equipment to complete them, just the clues, a pen and your skills of observation. Although, at this time of year we would advise that people check the weather and wrap up warm if they need to.” The Commonwealth Woods Treasure Trails are not a race. However, anyone who completes the trails and accurately solves the answer to who the Commonwealth medal winner is at any of the three woods can enter a free competition prize draw to win a £50 voucher to spend at a leading outdoor clothing specialist. Headteacher Aileen McCaffer, of Sunnyside Primary School in Craigend, said: “We use the outdoors to encourage children to learn about conservation, environment and wildlife. In Easterhouse, we are lucky to have a Commonwealth Wood and The Seven Lochs on our doorstep where we can promote outdoor learning at every opportunity.” Tue, 7 Oct 2014 00:00:00 GMT Embracing your local wood throughout the year http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/360/Embracing-your-local-wood-throughout-the-year http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/360/Embracing-your-local-wood-throughout-the-year Derek Shannan, Community Ranger to four of the Commonwealth Woods, tells us about his role and why everyone should use their local woods throughout the year. It’s my role as Community Ranger for Boden Boo in Erskine, Garscadden Woodland in Drumchapel, the Bluebell Woods in Johnstone and the Kilpatrick Hills, to engage with local people and encourage them to use their nearby woods responsibly and safely. Whether it’s taking part in one of our many events or simply taking a stroll, the woods provide a number of health benefits and should be embraced throughout the year. Although autumn is officially here and the darker evenings are creeping in, people should not be put off from visiting the woods. They are safe places and our organised events, which run across all 14 Commonwealth Woods over the year, are a good way to see them in a different way. Our annual Halloween event at Boden Boo is happening on Saturday, 25 October from 6pm-9pm. The area will be lit up with torches and lanterns to direct people into the wood, which will provide the outdoor stage for the Walking Theatre Company. They will act out ghostly stories with some help from the youth groups in Erskine. As well as the performances, there will be traditional games to join in such as dooking for apples and doughnuts on a string. During the summer we hosted a series of events in Boden Boo, Garscadden Woods, and the Bluebell Woods, which saw dozens of local people celebrate and enjoy outdoor activities in the woods on their doorstep. Each celebration day offered a range of activities, including wild food tasting, environmental crafts and photography workshops. Over the next few months, I urge everyone to venture into their local Commonwealth Woods and experience the outdoors in a different season. For more details and to book your place at this year’s Halloween event, click here. Wed, 1 Oct 2014 00:00:00 GMT Families urged to snap their local woods for legacy calendar http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/356/Families-urged-to-snap-their-local-woods-for-legacy-calendar http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/356/Families-urged-to-snap-their-local-woods-for-legacy-calendar Children and families across Glasgow have one month left to take pictures of their local Commonwealth Wood and enter them in a competition that could win a display spot in a special calendar. The deadline for the ‘Inspired by my local woods’ photography competition is fast approaching but there’s still time for members of the community to capture the splendour of their local woods. Images to the competition, which is run by The Forestry Commission Scotland and forms part of the Commonwealth Woods, a legacy project linked to the Glasgow 2014 Games, must be submitted by Friday, 17 October 2014. Winning pictures will be used to design a 2015 calendar that will be distributed free with the Glasgow Evening Times.There is a network of 14 Commonwealth Woods that encourages residents to explore their local woods with a camera in hand to get shots of birds, plants, wildlife and community events throughout the changing seasons. The calendar will display images from each of the woods from Easterhouse, Drumchapel, Castlemilk and Cathkin Braes in Glasgow to the Kilpatrick Hills in Dunbartonshire, Boden Boo in Erskine and Riccard Johnstone in Motherwell. Julie Hamilton of the Forestry Commission Scotland said: “We’ve had dozens of fantastic picture entries from children playing games in their local wood and family picnics to autumn leaves and stunning wildlife. “We’ve been extremely impressed with the variety and creativeness of entries but we need more images from across the Commonwealth Wood network. We urge locals to take this opportunity to visit their local wood and experience what is on offer to them on their doorstep.”Pictures for the Inspired by my Woods photography competition must be taken at one of the network of 14 Commonwealth Woods. For more information visit www.commonwealthwoods.org.uk/competitions Wed, 17 Sep 2014 00:00:00 GMT How can we help improve your local wood? http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/353/How-can-we-help-improve-your-local-wood http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/353/How-can-we-help-improve-your-local-wood Local people are being urged to take part in a short survey which asks what they’d like to see at their local Commonwealth Wood. The survey is a chance for people to share their opinion and to have a say in what they’d like to see and do at Auchenshuggle Wood, near Tollcross in Glasgow. Even if you have never or only occasionally visited the wood, we are interested in and would like to hear your thoughts on how to enhance the area for everyone. By completing the survey you will be entered into a competition to win Amazon vouchers. Please follow for more details and to take part in the survey. Deadline to send feedback is Friday, 12 September 2014.  Tue, 9 Sep 2014 00:00:00 GMT Discover your local Commonwealth wood this autumn http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/357/Discover-your-local-Commonwealth-wood-this-autumn http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/357/Discover-your-local-Commonwealth-wood-this-autumn Local people are being urged to take up walking and discover the stunning autumn colours and wildlife that can be found in their local wood. A network of 14 Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow was set up to provide a lasting legacy of the Commonwealth Games while encouraging people to explore their local wood and get active outside, learn and have fun. There is lots to see and do at the Commonwealth woods including walking, cycling, picking blackberries or collecting leaves and pine cones that have fallen from the trees. Free activities to enjoy in your local wood this autumn Forage: Juicy blackberries can found growing on thorny shrubs called brambles along the edge of paths. These provide a lovely snack as you walk, or take some home with you to turn into jam. Foliage: As autumn arrives, our trees start to prepare themselves for winter. There is not enough light in the short days which results in them losing their leaves and changing colour. It is then that we see the orange and yellow colours. Family Woodland Scavenger Hunt: How many of these autumn treasures can you find and collect on your woodland walk?• A tough or shiny evergreen leaf that has been shed• The sound of a nut falling to the ground• An acorn in its cup• Fallen pine needles• A shiny conker• A leaf with teeth• A pine cone (thick woody scales or bracts)• The sound of the wind in the tree tops• A fallen twig covered in moss or lichen• 10 leaves each with a different autumn colour or shade• The sound of an animal rustling in the dead leaves or undergrowth Wed, 3 Sep 2014 00:00:00 GMT Keeping in the loop http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/352/Keeping-in-the-loop http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/352/Keeping-in-the-loop Joneen Clarke is the project manager for Cuningar Loop, a £5.7 million Legacy 2014 project opposite the Commonwealth Games Athletes Village. She tells us about the work being carried out to turn this derelict site into a stunning woodland park. After the excitement of the Commonwealth Games in July, it’s full steam ahead to complete work at Cuningar Loop, a flagship woodland for the next generation of people in Glasgow to enjoy. By spring next year, it will have become a native woodland with open grassland, meadows, paths, play facilities and picnic areas. We’ll also see a new pedestrian and cycle bridge that will cross the river from the park to the Athletes' Village where a new community of 700 homes has been built, not to mention an adventure play facility, bike track, picnic areas and an outdoor gym. It’s going to be a very busy site in the next few months but when it’s finished, it will look spectacular. In the last couple of weeks, construction has started on a boulevard that will travel up the spine of the site and a boardwalk which will snake round by the river. The park will have two distinct zones - the activity zone will be noisy with lots of kids but as you walk to the top of the site beside the river there will be a much calmer feeling. It’s important we have something for everyone at our new visitor attraction which is why we’re holding a public consultation to allow members of the public to let us know what they like and don’t like about our adventure play, bouldering and bike track areas. There are two design options for the adventure play area including zip wires and den building and four bike track options from a balance bike track for new cyclists, to a pump track for the experienced dare devils and two in between helping youngsters to progress their skills and confidence. If you’d like to have a say in the different options, please visit the library within the Olympia Building in Bridgeton, Glasgow on Wednesday, 3 September from 2pm till 4.30pm. Mon, 1 Sep 2014 00:00:00 GMT Locals urged to take on health walk challenge as part of new festival http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/345/Locals-urged-to-take-on-health-walk-challenge-as-part-of-new-festival http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/345/Locals-urged-to-take-on-health-walk-challenge-as-part-of-new-festival Local people are being urged to take part in a new walking festival that offers fun and challenging walks at a network of Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow. The 2014 Commonwealth Woods Walking Festival, which runs throughout August, aims to encourage residents and visitors to take up walking as a way of staying healthy while at the same time enjoying the stunning scenery in their local woods. The free guided walks include wildlife spotting as well as walks aimed at parents and children such as ‘Nature Detective Walks’ and ‘Pushy Parents Buggy Walks’. They will take place at Commonwealth Woods sites in Drumchapel, Easterhouse, Erskine, Johnstone and Bellshill. The festival has been created as part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games legacy to encourage people to discover the wood on their doorstep and get active outdoors. Organisers including The Forestry Commission Scotland and Paths for All are hoping people of all ages and abilities support the initiative. Ros Mills, Commonwealth Woods Walking Development Officer, said: “This family-friendly festival offers local people and visitors the chance to enjoy a series of informal walks in their local woodland while enjoying stunning scenery and wildlife. “Walking has so much to offer in terms of fitness and enjoyment and we hope the success of the recent Commonwealth Games encourages people to try something new and take part in more physical activity.” Local organisations and walking groups are invited to lead their own walks during the festival. Ros added: “We hope local groups with an interest in walking and the outdoors will share their ideas with us and consider leading their walks at one or more of our Commonwealth Woods. We’d like to see as many people as possible take part in the festival.” The festival also includes two walks as part of the Commonwealth Woods photography competition to design a 2015 calendar. Participants will have the opportunity to use a range of fun and quirky props to take a range of pictures in the woods which can then be uploaded to the competition website to be in with the chance of winning a photography masterclass or family photo shoot worth £500. More than 7,000 people have taken part in free events at activities across a network of 14 Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow since the legacy project launched in June 2013. To find out where and when walks are taking place visit www.commonwoods.org.uk/activities Tue, 12 Aug 2014 00:00:00 GMT Locals urged to take part in a free photography masterclass http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/346/Locals-urged-to-take-part-in-a-free-photography-masterclass http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/346/Locals-urged-to-take-part-in-a-free-photography-masterclass Budding local photographers are being invited to take part in a free photography master class at Riccard Johnston, as part of an initiative for the Commonwealth Woods 2014 Legacy project. The Forestry Commission Scotland has teamed up with landscape photographer Scott Jones for a series of master classes designed to help people enhance their photography skills and learn how to focus, frame, light and position the perfect landscape picture. The free master classes will take place at Riccard Johnston wood at New Stevenson in Motherwell on Saturday, 16 August from 1pm to 3pm. It forms part of the Commonwealth Woods Inspired by my local woods calendar competition, which is encouraging people to explore a network of 14 Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow by taking pictures of the local landscape, trees, birds and wildlife or of family and friends enjoying a day out in the woods. The winning pictures will be used to design a 2015 Calendar that will be distributed free with the Glasgow Evening Times. Hugh McNish of the Forestry Commission Scotland said:“This is one of many free events that we’re helping to organise across the Commonwealth Woods for people, of all ages, to take part in at their local woodland. “It’s a great opportunity to get creative and try out something new, while picking up tips from a professional photographer. It will help people to build their skills and, hopefully, encourage them to carry on snapping. “We’re looking for a range of pictures to make up our official 2015 calendar that will capture the interesting wildlife and landscapes of the 14 woods, as well as the change of seasons throughout the year.” The photography masterclass is open to anyone living in the local area who is interested in developing their photography skills. There are only 12 places available so booking is essential. Participants are asked to bring their own camera and to wrap up warm with waterproof clothing. To book a place email commonwoods@forestry.gsi.gov.uk or call 01698 368 530. Pictures for the Inspired by my Woods photography competition must be taken at one of the network of 14 Commonwealth Woods. For more information visit www.commonwealthwoods.org.uk/competitions Tue, 12 Aug 2014 00:00:00 GMT Volunteer shares experience of the Games and his role as wildlife surveyor in local wood http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/325/Volunteer-shares-experience-of-the-Games-and-his-role-as-wildlife-surveyor-in-local-wood http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/325/Volunteer-shares-experience-of-the-Games-and-his-role-as-wildlife-surveyor-in-local-wood Alan Kerr was one of four volunteers from Dunbartonshire awarded Commonwealth Games legacy tickets for ensuring the Kilpatricks, one of a network of 14 Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow, are well maintained. Here Alan talks about his experience at the country’s biggest sporting event, and why he enjoys volunteering at a local beauty spot. I volunteer as a wildlife surveyor for the Woodland Trust which owns the land at Lang Craigs wood in Dumbarton. I know the area well and have fond memories playing in the woods when I was a young child. I’d often visit with my parents and enjoyed going for long walks and spotting local wildlife. I record bird life and plant species on certain routes, in line with British Trust of Ornithology (BTO) guidelines and Plantlife recommendations. The concept being that, as these species change and as the trees grow, I monitor and record the change of habitat. I also record butterflies and look for moths, and wildlife in general. We can learn a lot from the wildlife that visits and lives in our woods. It’s important to keep detailed monitoring reports so we can learn if there are changes year on year. I have a grand time wandering around the woodland that I played in when young, and over the years visited for walks and exploring, but now it’s with a greater sense of purpose. It makes this pastime even more enjoyable and worthwhile. I was both surprised and delighted at the same time to be given legacy tickets for the squash at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. I played squash up to last year and with my ticket I was able to watch the world numbers one and two, and also the Scottish Champion, Alan Klyne. Messrs Matthew and Windstrop went on to contest the final but the game of the session was young Michael Craig of Northern Ireland who played the Indian champion, Harinder Pal Sandhu. The first game was very close but experience told in the end and Harinder Pal went on to win. The atmosphere at Scotsoun was a delight, everyone was very friendly and helpful and by chance I managed to get a seat beside the scorer. The all glass court and white ball made watching a pleasure, so much better than on television as you could really appreciate the brilliance, skill and athleticism of the players. Mon, 4 Aug 2014 00:00:00 GMT Castlemilk volunteer and her grandson are all set for the Commonwealth Games http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/347/Castlemilk-volunteer-and-her-grandson-are-all-set-for-the-Commonwealth-Games http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/347/Castlemilk-volunteer-and-her-grandson-are-all-set-for-the-Commonwealth-Games A grandmother from Castlemilk who has devoted her time to bringing families together in their local wood has been rewarded for her volunteering with legacy tickets to the Commonwealth Games. Jean Devlin, aged 53, has inspired people of all ages and backgrounds to get outdoors and get active in Castlemilk Park, one of a network of 14 Commonwealth Woods across Greater Glasgow that’s part of a national legacy project of the 2014 Games. Her grandson Scott Bruce, aged 11, will be joining Jean at the gymnastics on Tuesday, 29 July. Richard Bolton, Community Woodland Officer at Cassiltoun Housing Association, said: “Jean has dedicated the last three years to volunteering in the wood from clearing paths and evasive weeds, to encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to join in free events and activities.” Events at Castlemilk Park range from local history and walking groups to foraging for fruits, and heroes and villain fancy dress parties. Jean said: “Volunteering is very important to me. I take pride in ensuring the wood looks the best it can and if that means clearing paths and weeds then that’s what I’ll do. I also encourage local families to come along to the events and activities taking place each week. Everything is free which is important to young families.” Her grandson Scott has also made a positive contribution to the wood. During an archaeological dig he discovered a midden, now known as ‘Scottie’s Midden’, that contained pieces of glass and pottery dating back to the 18th century. The items are now on display at Castlemilk Stables on Machrie Road. Cabinet Secretary for Sport and Commonwealth Games, Shona Robison said: “It is great to see the wide variety of people, organisations and communities who have benefited from the gift of Legacy Tickets to the Commonwealth Games. “Through the allocation of Legacy Tickets, our key partners are recognising the fantastic contribution individuals make to their communities and they are an important part of the inspiring experience we hope many will have this summer. “I hope that Jean and Scott have a wonderful time at the Games and will treasure the memories for years to come.” Mon, 28 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT Four volunteers from Dunbartonshire awarded Commonwealth Games legacy tickets http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/348/Four-volunteers-from-Dunbartonshire-awarded-Commonwealth-Games-legacy-tickets http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/348/Four-volunteers-from-Dunbartonshire-awarded-Commonwealth-Games-legacy-tickets The hard work of four volunteers who dedicate their spare time to maintaining a community woodland in Dunbartonshire have been rewarded with tickets to the country’s biggest multi-sporting event. Joanne King, Peter McFarlane, John Coleman and Alan Kerr are the driving force behind ensuring the Kilpatricks, one of a network of 14 Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow, are well maintained. The Kilpatrick Hills, including Lang Craigs and Overtoun Estate is part of a 2014 legacy project led by the Forestry Commission Scotland, with partners including the Woodland Trust Scotland who own the land. Roy Barlow, site manager, said: “Our volunteers dedicate their spare time, often juggling full or part time employment, to the upkeep of one of the most beautiful parts of the Scottish countryside. It’s an inspiration to see how enthusiastic the volunteers are on maintaining a natural asset on their doorsteps for hundreds of people to enjoy all year round.” The Woodland Trust Scotland has planted a total of 200,000 native trees at Lang Craigs to create a dedicated Commonwealth Grove. The volunteers were instrumental in ensuring school children and local people helped plant 10,000 of the trees, which will provide a physical legacy of the 2014 Games. Some of their other roles include wildlife and plant monitoring that shows how the habitat is changing year on year, on-site patrols, recording visitor numbers and picking up litter. John Coleman has been volunteering for six months. He said: “I’ve spent most of my life walking the surrounding area, in particular Lang Craigs, so I have very good local knowledge of the natural and archaeological history of the site and felt it was beneficial to pass this on. I thoroughly enjoy volunteering; it’s great to do something you enjoy.” Cabinet Secretary for Sport and Commonwealth Games, Shona Robison added: “It is great to see the wide variety of people, organisations and communities who have benefited from the gift of Legacy Tickets to the Commonwealth Games. “Through the allocation of Legacy Tickets, our key partners are recognising the fantastic contribution individuals make to their communities and they are an important part of the inspiring experience we hope many will have this summer. “I hope that Joanne, Peter, John and Alan have a wonderful time at the Games and will treasure the memories for years to come.” Sun, 27 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT Queens’s baton visits Commonwealth Wood http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/319/Queenss-baton-visits-Commonwealth-Wood http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/319/Queenss-baton-visits-Commonwealth-Wood Mountain bike racer Robert Wardell carried the Queen’s Baton at Cathkin Braes in Castlemilk today as the relay enters the final leg of the journey. Crowds gathered to watch the mountain bike star cycle down the Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike trails on the 39th day of the relay, before going to Castlemilk Community Centre and then on to Hampden. Robert Wardell is one of the last people to pick up the baton as its journey across 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth comes to an end with the opening ceremony at Celtic Park tomorrow (Wednesday, 23 July). The baton, which contains a message from the Queen, has travelled throughout Scotland carried by thousands of baton-bearers including famous faces, charity workers and community volunteers. Cathkin Braes is one of a network of 14 Commonwealth Woods, a 2014 legacy project.  Tue, 22 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT Family Woodland Adventure Day http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/320/Family-Woodland-Adventure-Day http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/320/Family-Woodland-Adventure-Day Maryhill Integration Network has created a fantastic video following their recent family fun day at Garscadden wood in Drumchapel. Over one hundred local people attended the event with tree top aerial performances, adventure walks and storytelling. The Family Woodland Adventure Day formed part of Refugee Week [16-22 June], which celebrates the support and contribution that refugees have made to communities in Scotland.  Garscadden Wood in Drumchapel is one of a network of 14 Commonwealth Woods, an official 2014 legacy project of the Games led by the Forestry Commission Scotland. Watch the video here Tue, 22 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT Creative friends awarded tickets to Commonwealth Games http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/318/Creative-friends-awarded-tickets-to-Commonwealth-Games http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/318/Creative-friends-awarded-tickets-to-Commonwealth-Games Two school friends from Motherwell have been given tickets to the country’s biggest ever sporting and cultural event after their Commonwealth Games inspired artwork was chosen to feature on a bench at a newly created woodland maze in New Stevenson. Caitlin McCall, aged 8, from New Stevenson Primary School and Maurah Fagan, aged 9, from St Patrick’s Primary School were amongst four people to win an art competition that asked pupils to design a bench based on the themes of the Games; active, sustainable, flourishing and connected. The competition was run by the Youth Legacy Ambassadors who raised £40,000 and secured permission to use the official Games logo for creation of a woodland maze at Riccard Johnston wood, one of a network of 14 Commonwealth Woods. It’s part of the 2014 legacy project led by Forestry Commission Scotland. Caitlin’s design, based on the active theme, features a football, skipping ropes, bike, tennis racket and rugby ball and Maurah’s design, based on the sustainable theme, says Go Greener Scotland and features the Scottish flag. The designs were made into a bespoke metal bench, hand crafted by a local blacksmith and revealed to the public at a special launch event at Riccard Johnston on Tuesday (15.07.14). Hugh McNish, health advisor for the Forestry Commission, said: "Using the Games and its 17 sports as creative inspiration has been a major part of creating a lasting legacy. I know how satisfying it is to see your work being appreciated and this fantastic opportunity allows their designs to be seen by thousands of visitors to the Commonwealth Wood over the coming years. "Young people are at the heart of the Games and its legacy, so I’m pleased we’ve been able to award Caitlin and Maurah the opportunity to get involved and experience the excitement of a live sporting event." Maurah and her mum won tickets for the squash at Scotstoun Sports Campus on Thursday, 24th July, and Caitlin and her mum Jackelynn will see hockey at the National Hockey Centre on the Sunday 27th July. On Caitlin’s award, Councillor Logue said: "Caitlin clearly has great artistic talent and her bench is a wonderful design. She is very excited about receiving a ‘gift of the Games’ ticket and it is well deserved for efforts in producing such an eye-catching addition to the Commonwealth maze site." Cabinet Secretary for Sport and Commonwealth Games, Shona Robison said: "It is great to see the wide variety of people, organisations and communities who have benefited from the gift of Legacy Tickets to the Commonwealth Games. "Through the allocation of Legacy Tickets, our key partners are recognising the fantastic contribution individuals make to their communities and they are an important part of the inspiring experience we hope many will have this summer. "I hope that Caitlin and Maurah have a wonderful time at the Games and will treasure the memories for years to come." Mon, 21 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT Commonwealth Maze brings legacy to life http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/317/Commonwealth-Maze-brings-legacy-to-life http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/317/Commonwealth-Maze-brings-legacy-to-life A giant woodland maze in the shape of the Commonwealth Games 2014 logo was officially launched at a wood in New Stevenson in Motherwell today (Tuesday, 15 July). Youth Legacy Ambassadors raised £40,000 and secured permission to use the official Games logo for the environmental project at Riccard Johnston wood, one of a network of 14 Commonwealth Woods. Designed to create a beautiful natural attraction it will also function as a maze, an outdoor classroom and provide a woodland area for people of all ages to learn, get active and enjoy the outdoors for years to come. The project won a top accolade at the Sunday Mail Young Scot Awards 2014 in the environment category. Chairperson of the Youth Legacy Ambassadors and local Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Jordan Linden MSYP, said: “This is an incredibly exciting moment, not only for us as Youth Legacy Ambassadors but for the people of North Lanarkshire. This maze will be a lasting reminder to all in the community of the impact that the Commonwealth Games can deliver to communities across Scotland. “The maze is an attraction for all the family to enjoy. The object is to find your way to the centre of the maze which is in the shape of the Games logo, without taking a wrong turn. We urge locals and visitors to come along to Riccard Johnston and try out this new adventure.” The whole community have helped create the maze with school children and community groups planting trees and locals donating historic, named bricks to create the path around the maze, linking the future legacy of the Games with Lanarkshire’s industrial past. Spanning an area of 2,000 square metres the maze has been planted in the four distinct parts of the Games logo, namely:• the outer red ring made out of local 19th and 20th Century bricks from Lanarkshire’s industrial history forms a path • the inner yellow ring from planted golden sedge grass • the blue arc with planted blue cypress trees • the planted “G” in the middle of Scots Pine, recently declared Scotland’s national tree. Funding for the project came from the Environmental Key Fund (EKF) with additional support from North Lanarkshire Council as the woodland owner, and Forestry Commission Scotland. Councillor Harry Curran, Chair of the Environmental Key Fund, said: “We are delighted to support the Young Ambassadors in their work to develop the Commonwealth Logo Maze. This will be a spectacular display that will leave a positive and sustainable legacy in the heart of a North Lanarkshire community long after the games have gone.” Riccard Johnston, a former farm holding that was planted as a community woodland in the early 1990’s, was recently transformed following a Forestry Commission grant in 2013. It’s the latest wood to join the network of Commonwealth Woods that are an official 2014 legacy project of the Games. Tue, 15 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT Kids enjoy a teddy bears' picnic http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/316/Kids-enjoy-a-teddy-bears-picnic http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/316/Kids-enjoy-a-teddy-bears-picnic A fabulous family fun day was enjoyed by youngsters at a teddy bears’ picnic party at Old Mine Nature Park and Fallside Nature Park in Uddingston. Around 15 children and their parents enjoyed guided walks, storytelling and arts and crafts at the popular event on Saturday, 28 June. They were also joined by Big Ted who went on a walk with youngsters (and adults) around Old Mine Nature Park to enjoy the sunshine. Old Mine Nature Park is one of a network of 14 Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow, that's part of a 2014 legacy project led by the Forestry Commission Scotland. Eilidh Malcom, Community Ranger for Glasgow East, said: “Everyone had a great day out and enjoyed the activities we had on offer, especially the storytelling. The teddy bears' picnic is organised in such a way that it is engaging, interactive and a great day out for all the family.” Fri, 11 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT Cuningar Loop mobile museum and exhibition goes on the road http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/354/Cuningar-Loop-mobile-museum-and-exhibition-goes-on-the-road http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/354/Cuningar-Loop-mobile-museum-and-exhibition-goes-on-the-road James Winnett, Cuningar Loop’s artist in residence, has created a mobile museum of unearthed artefacts found among rubble of the former landfill site, which will be exhibited at GREEN2014 from 15th July –26th August at The Lighthouse. Cuningar Loop is a £5.7 million project that is transforming 15 hectares of derelict land on the banks of the River Clyde into an attractive woodland park. Led by Forestry Commission Scotland, the main ground works started in January. His idea for the exhibition is to create a show piece of the weird and wonderful artefacts found from the site - old bricks, glass bottles, kitchenware, toys, pieces of lino, melted plastic and warped watch faces - to give people an insight into the changing nature of the site and its transformation into a new woodland park. Forestry Commission Scotland project manager for Cuningar Loop, Joneen Clarke, said: “This is a really exciting Legacy 2014 project that will create a fantastic woodland park right in Clyde regeneration heart land. “For over 200 years this area of land has been used for mixed industrial use. Fifty years ago it was a landfill site both for Rutherglen and for the rubble from the clearance of the Gorbals. The exhibition is a great opportunity for local people to see the artefacts discovered from the site – discovering the old before the new comes. “James’ exhibition is exactly what we’re looking to do more of throughout the site’s transformation. By offering lots of opportunities for local residents to get involved, our hope is that when the park opens people feel a sense of pride and ownership for what will be a great asset on their doorstep.” GREEN2014 is an exhibition showcasing the Environmental Legacy of the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. James comments: “I’ve been amazed at how nature has reclaimed what was a landfill site from the sixties onwards and how the site is being transformed again by the Forestry Commission.” “The site was strewn with bricks, blocks of sandstone, old glass bottles and bits of household bric-a-brac. The exhibition documents the way the site has been for over half a century. It’s an important part of the local social history and offers an opportunity to reflect on the past as the transformation is taking place.” Cuningar Loop’s mobile museum was on display at Rutherglen’s Landemer Day Celebrations and Cambuslang’s Summerfest last month. James continues: “People are fascinated by the curious artefacts, easily identified from their childhood, as items owned by their parents or grandparents. I built the mobile museum from local reclaimed materials with the help of a local 'Handy Folk' group and I've found that it’s a great way for getting people talking about the artefacts, and letting them know what is coming – the new woodland park.” Two larger exhibitions of James’ involvement with Cuningar Loop including: his research, film footage and photography of the site, artefacts from the mobile museum and art pieces created by local people during his art workshops, will be available to see at: • Rutherglen Town Hall from Saturday 26th July to Tuesday 12th August, 9am – 5pm, with a special viewing on Thursday 31st July from 4-7pm where you can meet James• East Kilbride Arts Centre from Wednesday 5th to Sunday 30th November with an opening evening at 7.30pm where James will give a talk. Cuningar Loop is expected to be open to the public in spring 2015.  Fri, 11 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT Young Scot shares their view on the new Commonwealth Wood and its Legacy http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/305/Young-Scot-shares-their-view-on-the-new-Commonwealth-Wood-and-its-Legacy http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/305/Young-Scot-shares-their-view-on-the-new-Commonwealth-Wood-and-its-Legacy Chairman of the North Lanarkshire Young Scot Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Youth Legacy Ambassadors and local Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, Jordan Linden MSYP shares his views on Riccard Johnstone.   Myself and the team in North Lanarkshire are absolutely delighted Riccard Johnstone is the latest wood to join the network of Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow. It’s a fantastic initiative to get people involved in the legacy of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games by being active in their local greenspace. We’re also privileged to have gained exclusive use of the Glasgow 2014 Logo to create a Commonwealth maze. Our maze is nestled in a corner of the wood that’s steeped in history and easily accessible to the local community and two local primary schools.  It’s been designed in the shape of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Logo with a circle of red brick on the outside, golden sedge grass, blue conifer and Scots pine all forming the internal rings.  From an aerial perspective you’ll clearly see the Games logo and the maze will deliver a lasting physical legacy to the people of North Lanarkshire. I, along with my colleagues, was honoured to welcome Cabinet Secretary for the Commonwealth Games, Sport, Equalities and Pensioners rights Shona Robison MSP onto the maze site last week. She was impressed by the commitment of our Ambassadorial team in delivering a project that encapsulates the spirit of the 2014 Legacy. We want people of all ages to enjoy the new woodland.  I am so proud to live in a nation that is using the Commonwealth Games to deliver benefits not only for the athletes and visitors but for its own people too. Together we are all delivering a lasting Legacy that will impact communities across Scotland for generations to come. Tue, 1 Jul 2014 00:00:00 GMT Funding secured for new features in Cuningar Loop http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/297/Funding-secured-for-new-features-in-Cuningar-Loop http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/297/Funding-secured-for-new-features-in-Cuningar-Loop Forestry Commission Scotland project, Cuningar Loop is to benefit from the Legacy 2014 Active Places Fund, which will expand the features of its proposed Activity Zone. Cuningar Loop is a £5.7 million project that is transforming 15 hectares of derelict land on the banks of the River Clyde into an attractive woodland park.  Located opposite to the Glasgow 2014 athletes’ village, the new woodland park will be open to the public in spring 2015.  It is a significant Legacy 2014 project, which aims to attract over 100,000 visitors by 2021. The funding secures an adventure play area and a bike skills area, suitable for mountain biking, BMX and dirt jump bikes.  Cuningar Loop’s unique shape will enable two types of track to be developed, accommodating entry level cyclists and skilled users. The site will see Scotland’s first outdoor bouldering park being added to Cuningar Loop’s Activity Zone.  This has been supported by sportscotland’s Sports Facilities Fund. Major redevelopment of the site is underway with 15,000 trees, 30,000 shrubs, 40,000 bulbs and meadow grass due to be planted along with a path network, natural play facilities, picnic areas and an amphitheatre for outdoor learning. Cabinet Secretary for Commonwealth Games and Sport Shona Robison commented: “The Commonwealth Games is Scotland’s biggest ever sporting and cultural event and I want to see a lasting Games legacy across the whole of Scotland in the years to come.   “Cuningar Loop is an exciting project and the new woodland will be a recreational resource that will encourage local people to get outdoors and become more active.” Forestry Commission Scotland project manager for Cuningar Loop, Joneen Clarke commented: “We’re thrilled to be one of the projects to benefit from the funding.  The bike skills area and outdoor bouldering park will be key features in our Activity Zone. “Our project strives to make physical activity more accessible to everyone in the local area and the funding will make a real difference to local communities and help provide a lasting legacy from Glasgow 2014.” Louise Martin CBE, Chair of sportscotland, said: “Cuningar Loop is one of over 100 projects set to benefit from the Legacy 2014 Active Places Fund, as we aim to encourage more people of all ages and abilities to become involved in sport and physical activity. “sportscotland and the Scottish Government are working closely to deliver a successful sporting legacy from Glasgow 2014, and the Active Places Fund is a key component of that vision.”   Wed, 18 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT Hundreds turned out for family fun http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/295/Hundreds-turned-out-for-family-fun http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/295/Hundreds-turned-out-for-family-fun Over one hundred local people joined the family fun day at Garscadden wood in Drumchapel on Saturday 14 June. With tree top aerial performances, adventure walks and storytelling, there was something for everyone to take part in. The fun day formed part of Refugee Week [16-22 June], which celebrates the support and contribution that refugees have made to communities in Scotland.  Rose Filippi, Development Worker at the Maryhill Integration Network, who hosted the event with support from the Forestry Commission Scotland, said:  “The event brought people together to enjoy the outdoors and learn about nature. “There were lots of activities that everyone enjoyed, whether it was arts and crafts, face painting or the inspiring acrobatic or music performances.  It was a great opportunity to introduce people to their local woods, many of which are on their doorstep.” Mon, 16 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT Festival fun at the Mela http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/294/Festival-fun-at-the-Mela http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/294/Festival-fun-at-the-Mela Thousands gathered to join Scotland’s multi-cultural festival, Glasgow Mela, on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 June. Although the weather was mixed with sunny spells and showers, that didn’t put off anyone from visiting Forestry Commission Scotland’s fantastic kids zone and taking part in fun activities, including environmental art, storytelling and mini woodland games. Lots of people and families tried their hand at willow weaving and tested their sporting skills in games of archery, while learning about the 14 Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow.  Tue, 10 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT A step back in time at Castlemilk http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/296/A-step-back-in-time-at-Castlemilk http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/296/A-step-back-in-time-at-Castlemilk With its ancient surroundings and wildlife, Castlemilk wood is the perfect place to explore as you never know what you might dig up from the past.  Dozens of local people took a step back in time and joined Castlemilk’s history and heritage weekend on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 June. They took part in a range of activities, including archaeological digs and guided walks to try to discover more about the wood’s rich history. A range of objects were uncovered from unusual sized bones to the remains of crockery, complete with burn marks, which were once used by the cooks and servants on the estate.  Mon, 9 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT Commonwealth athlete shares childhood memories of playing in woods http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/292/Commonwealth-athlete-shares-childhood-memories-of-playing-in-woods http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/292/Commonwealth-athlete-shares-childhood-memories-of-playing-in-woods Scottish mountain bike champion Lee Craigie has planted the final tree within a new native woodland in Dumbarton. The Woodland Trust Scotland has planted a total of 200,000 natives trees at Lang Craigs to create a Commonwealth Grove, which will grow to become a lasting legacy of the Games. Lee Craigie reminisces about childhood memories of playing in her local woods. I grew up in a small suburb just outside Glasgow and only a few hundred yards from a magical adventure playground of mixed woodland and peat bog. It was here I would inevitably escape given the slightest chance. Whenever I entered this wild place I became free to explore and challenge myself away from the usual confines of being a child. It felt like the trust from of escapism. Unlike watching TV or playing video games, when I was outside climbing trees, building dens or making up fictional worlds in the woods – the whole of me was engaged. By that I mean all of my senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and all of my body: running and jumping – whether alone or with friends. Having unknowingly explored and developed all these aspects of my young self, I would emerge from the woods at the end of a day filthy, exhausted and very, very happy. These days I continue to play in the woods albeit in a slightly different way. I was probably drawn to mountain biking for the same reasons. The feelings of freedom and excitement you get from exploring wild places under your own steam has never lost its power for me. I get on my bike and reconnect with that child that spent long days up to her armpits in mud and leaves. On the day I visited Lang Craigs wood, one of the 14 Commonwealth Woods, to plant some trees, the hillside was swamped with people remembering similar experiences from their own childhood. What united us all was an absorption in our task to plant new native trees within a Commonwealth Grove, while sporting grubby hands and knees and sharing a sense of satisfaction from all that was being achieved. As well as tree planting there was fun and laughter at the foot of the hill with young people and adults alike playing tug of war and trying their hand at archery and other outdoor games. As I rode off at the end of the day I could still hear the whoops and hollers behind me. The Woodland Trust has managed to create more than a young woodland that will become a lasting legacy of the Commonwealth Games, but a community invested in it.  Mon, 2 Jun 2014 00:00:00 GMT Last tree planted at Lang Craigs http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/222/Last-tree-planted-at-Lang-Craigs http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/222/Last-tree-planted-at-Lang-Craigs Scottish mountain bike champion Lee Craigie has planted the final tree within new native woodland near Dumbarton. The Woodland Trust Scotland has planted a total of 200,000 native trees at Lang Craigs to create the new woodland. Local people and schoolchildren have planted 10,000 of the trees. To mark the completion of the project the charity held a public tree planting event which was supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery on Saturday 17 May. Activities included woodland games and archery, as well as tree planting. Carol Evans, director of the Woodland Trust Scotland said: “In just a few years the trees planted at Lang Craigs will form a flourishing native woodland that will be enjoyed by both people and wildlife. It’s an amazing place and I’d like to thank everybody who has made our project possible. “Thanks to fantastic support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery we have been able to give hundreds of local school children the chance to dig deep and plant a tree. I’m sure people will come back to see the new trees as they grow into thriving woodland. Jackie Baillie MSP said: “The new woodland at Lang Craigs is a great thing for West Dunbartonshire. I love coming up here and as the trees grow it will become more and more beautiful. “Planting trees is a superb way for people to make a difference for the environment. It's an important part of the legacy of the Commonwealth Games.” Lang Craigs is one of 14 Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow. These woods form a legacy of the 2014 Commonwealth Games for generations of people to enjoy. A special Commonwealth Grove forms part of the new woodland at Lang Craigs. Hugh McNish, health advisor for the Forestry Commission Scotland, said: “The trees planted in the Commonwealth Grove will stand for hundreds of years, providing a lasting legacy to all those who enjoyed the Commonwealth Games. “Lang Craigs is just one of 14 Commonwealth Woods across the Glasgow area playing a vital role in encouraging people from local communities to get active outdoors on their doorstep. “These symbolic trees will transform this landscape into rich, vibrant and flourishing woodland and will stand proud for generations to come.” Wed, 21 May 2014 00:00:00 GMT Commonwealth Woods joins festival fun http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/221/Commonwealth-Woods-joins-festival-fun http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/221/Commonwealth-Woods-joins-festival-fun The Commonwealth Woods legacy project has teamed up with Scotland’s biggest multi-cultural festival, Glasgow Mela, at Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow this summer.  A mini Commonwealth Games, environmental art and workshops are just some of the fun activities on offer at a fantastic Kids Zone sponsored by the Forestry Commission Scotland. It’s an opportunity for families to learn more about our network of 14 Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow where people of all ages and abilities can enjoy free events and activities to get active, learn or just have fun. It has been created as part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games legacy to encourage people to get outdoors, foster community pride in local green spaces and improve the quality of life for local communities.The Glasgow Mela takes place on 7th and 8th of June 2014.  Wed, 14 May 2014 00:00:00 GMT Commonwealth Woods - A Lasting Legacy http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/218/Commonwealth-Woods-A-Lasting-Legacy http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/218/Commonwealth-Woods-A-Lasting-Legacy Hugh McNish, Forestry Commission Scotland’s health advisor for the central belt tells us why the Commonwealth Games has sustainability at its core. There’s no denying that the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will be a spectacular display of world-class sporting success, bringing together thousands of athletes, volunteers and spectators in an incredible festival of sport and culture. But it’s important for people to realise that the Games has sustainability at its core. GREEN2014 is a new exhibition by Architecture and Design Scotland that offers a fantastic platform for people to explore the environmental legacy of this exciting event. I went along to the launch of the exhibition at The Lighthouse in Glasgow and was blown away by the number of community projects contributing to the events success. The exhibition takes you through a journey from the successful bid and looking back through our sporting history to an overview of Glasgow’s Greener Legacy projects ranging from urban bee keeping to the children’s play ‘The Worm’. I’m proud to say that The Commonwealth Woods network takes pride of place at the entrance of the exhibition, clearly showing the benefit it’s brought to families in and around Glasgow. We’ve had over 6,000 people visit our network of 14 Commonwealth Woods since our launch last June. Our woods are a place where families, friends and visitors can create their own memories and contribute to the legacy of the Games by joining in our events which range from Play in Dark and woodland games to health walks and photography masterclasses. As Glasgow aims to become one of the most sustainable cities in Europe, I’d urge people to visit GREEN2014 and witness for themselves what incredible projects are taking place across our city. And for those interested in how we worked with several partners to create the network of Commonwealth Woods and engage local communities to take part in our events and activities, should also come along to a FREE seminar Commonwealth Woods, A Lasting Legacy at The Lighthouse in Glasgow on Friday, 9 May. For more information click here. To find out more about the free exhibition visit www.ads.org.uk Mon, 5 May 2014 00:00:00 GMT Hop along to the woods this spring http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/212/Hop-along-to-the-woods-this-spring http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/212/Hop-along-to-the-woods-this-spring Bunny hunts, duck races and crafts are just some of the activities that are going on in the Commonwealth Woods this Easter. Castlemilk wood and Todd Wells woods in Easterhouse will host two free events for the whole family to take part in. Castlemilk welcomed over four hundred people to its annual event this week [Wednesday, 16 April], where local people took part in an Easter bunny hunt through the woods, egg and spoon races, arts and crafts, as well as a duck race down the burn. If you’re looking for more spring fun, come along to Easterhouse on Friday, 18 April and search for the Easter bunny hiding in the woods. The aim is to collect all the clues to help you find the bunny and you’ll win a chocolatey prize. Find out more details here. We would love to see pictures of you at these events or spending time in one of the Commonwealth Woods this spring. Remember to bring your camera and enter your pictures into our photography competition. Thu, 17 Apr 2014 00:00:00 GMT Nature’s version of Commonwealth Games 2014 logo unveiled http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/211/Natures-version-of-Commonwealth-Games-2014-logo-unveiled http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/211/Natures-version-of-Commonwealth-Games-2014-logo-unveiled A giant woodland Commonwealth Games logo will be planted at a new Scottish community wood in North Lanarkshire as a lasting legacy of the sporting event. Youth Legacy Ambassadors raised £40,000 and secured permission to use the official Games logo in this environmental project at Riccard Johnston woods at New Stevenston, near Motherwell, one of a network of 14 Commonwealth Woods.  Designed to create a beautiful natural attraction it will also function as a maze, an outdoor classroom and provide a woodland area for people of all ages to learn, get active and enjoy the outdoors for years to come. Spanning an area of 2000 square metres the maze is being planted in the four distinct parts of the Games logo, namely: • the outer red ring made out of local bricks forms a path • the  inner yellow ring from planted  golden sedge grass • the blue arc with planted  blue cypress trees • the planted “G” in the middle of Scots Pine, recently declared Scotland’s national tree. Jordan Linden (18), a Youth Legacy Ambassador, said: “With only a few months until the Games start, we’re excited to reveal our design.  The maze will be a striking addition to the local area and help bring the community together in celebration of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.” The Youth Ambassadors are appealing to families in the area to donate historic, named bricks to create the path around the maze linking the future legacy of the Games with Lanarkshire’s industrial past. Jordan added: “The bricks we’re looking for were made at many of Lanarkshire’s brickworks in the 19th and 20th Century and have different company’s names on them.  We think they’ll add a nice touch to the path, connecting the old with the new, our history and our culture, in a community project to make the locals proud. “We urge members of the public to let us know if they have, or know where we can find, any of these historic bricks.” Riccard Johnston, a former farm holding that was planted as a community woodland in the early 1990’s, was recently transformed following a Forestry Commission grant in 2013. It’s the latest wood to join the Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow that are a legacy project of the Games. Funding for the project, which will invite dozens of children and families from the area to help plant the new woodland maze, came from the Environmental Key Fund with additional support from North Lanarkshire Council as the woodland owner, and Forestry Commission Scotland. Hugh McNish, Forestry Commission Scotland’s health advisor for the central belt, added: “A lot of people don’t know the woods on their doorstep so we’re encouraging them to take inspiration from the Games and get outside and explore. This is a fantastic project that will do just that, by creating a great visitor attraction at Riccard Johnston and allowing young people and the local community to become part of the legacy.” The Youth Ambassadors brick appeal is currently underway.  Initial construction of the maze and path will start soon with planting due to take place in May and June involving local schools and community groups. For more information about events and activities and a map of the Commonwealth Woods, visit www.commonwoods.org.uk   -Ends-   For further information, interviews or pictures please contact: Julie Watt on 0131 556 0770 / 07920025436 or email fcs@pagodapr.com Wed, 16 Apr 2014 00:00:00 GMT Owls up close at Castlemilk http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/210/Owls-up-close-at-Castlemilk http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/210/Owls-up-close-at-Castlemilk With the Easter holidays in full swing, why not try something new and take a trip to your local wood as you never know what you might find. Castlemilk wood played host to range of owls and birds of prey today, with help from specialist bird company, Owl Magic. This is one of four Owl Magic events at Castlemilk this year, where local people can learn about different owl species and where they come from, as well as the chance to hold some of them. Richard Bolton, Community Woodland Officer at Castlemilk, said: “This is a great event for people, of all ages, to take part and see some of these beautiful birds from the Commonwealth Countries close up and learn more about them. “With the days getting longer and the change in seasons, it’s the perfect time to explore your local Commonwealth Wood and find out what is on your doorstep.” Wed, 9 Apr 2014 00:00:00 GMT Be part of a lasting legacy by planting a tree this spring http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/209/Be-part-of-a-lasting-legacy-by-planting-a-tree-this-spring http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/209/Be-part-of-a-lasting-legacy-by-planting-a-tree-this-spring Roy Barlow from the Woodland Trust Scotland tells us why people should plant a tree at Commonwealth Wood, Lang Craigs in May. As the countdown to the Commonwealth Games continues, we’re looking forward to the Trust’s final tree planting event at Lang Craigs near Dumbarton, on Saturday 17 May. Since 2012 we’ve been working with local schools and community groups to encourage them to visit the wood and plant a tree within a dedicated Commonwealth Grove, which will grow and become a lasting legacy of the Games. Commonwealth Games and Sport Minister, Shona Robison, is just one of more than 2,000 people who have planted over 200,000 new native trees. And this spring, we are continuing to welcome school pupils to Lang Craigs to help complete the Grove. Our final tree planting event will see Glasgow-born mountain bike champion, Lee Craigie, plant a tree ahead of competing in the Commonwealth Games in July. This is an exciting event and we’d love to see lots of people, of all ages, come along and celebrate the final planting of the Grove. As well as tree planting, there will be a range of activities, including a mini woodland games. Although it’s the last opportunity to contribute to the planting of the Grove, this is a long term project that everyone can be part of by visiting and watching it flourish and change through the seasons and over the years, beyond 2014. The event takes place from 11am-3pm and a free mini-bus from the West Dunbartonshire Council office off Garshake Road, Dumbarton will provide transport to the site. Wed, 2 Apr 2014 00:00:00 GMT Faith groups go wild about a Commonwealth Wood http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/204/Faith-groups-go-wild-about-a-Commonwealth-Wood http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/204/Faith-groups-go-wild-about-a-Commonwealth-Wood Dozens of people took part in a range of fun activities including herbal walks, food foraging, environmental art and interfaith prayers at Boden Boo in Renfrewshire. Around 50 people from different faith groups attended the Our Faith in Nature event at Boden Boo wood, under the iconic Erskine Bridge, one of 14 Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow. The event was part of Islamic Awareness Week [17 until 23 March], which aims to bring together people from different faiths groups across Renfrewshire to celebrate nature and enjoy family fun activities including woodland crafts, environmental art, and guided walks on foraging and medicinal benefits found in nature’s garden. Cookery demonstrations using some of the ingredients found in the wood including herbs, mushrooms and berries was also a popular attraction. Sadia Ismail, a community volunteer who hosted the event with support from the Forestry Commission Scotland, said: “This has been a fantastic day that celebrates Islamic Awareness Week. We’ve had herbal walks along the River Clyde, cookery demonstrations and environmental art and shelter building. “There are many more free events, like this, at the Commonwealth Woods to help introduce people to their local woods, many of which are on their doorstep.” Tue, 25 Mar 2014 00:00:00 GMT Youngsters launch Commonwealth Woods medal routes in Easterhouse http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/202/Youngsters-launch-Commonwealth-Woods-medal-routes-in-Easterhouse http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/202/Youngsters-launch-Commonwealth-Woods-medal-routes-in-Easterhouse Youngsters and community groups have launched the Commonwealth Woods Medal Routes at Bishop Loch in Easterhouse today (Tuesday, 4 March). Pupils from St Benedict’s Primary School and local walking groups have taken part in a series of short walking routes of different lengths at the wood - bronze (15mins), silver (30mins) and gold (60mins). Bishop Loch is one of five woods in Easterhouse, which are part of a network of 14 Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow where people of all ages and abilities can enjoy free events and activities to get active, learn or just have fun. It has been created as part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games legacy to encourage people to get outdoors, foster community pride in local green spaces and improve the quality of life for local communities. Ros Mills, Commonwealth Woods Walking Development Officer, said: “The Commonwealth Woods project has teamed up with Ramblers Scotland’s Medal Routes Legacy Project to create a series of short walks at Bishop Loch. This is a fun activity for all the family that will help us deliver a lasting legacy of the Games by encouraging people to visit their local wood and complete a medal route walk. “It’s a good way to spend time with your family and become familiar with your local wood and learn about the trees and wildlife.” Local health groups and the wider community are invited to try the medal routes. A free leaflet and map with directions of the gold, silver and bronze walking routes is available from The Bridge Community Centre at Bishop Loch in Easterhouse or to download at www.commonwoods.org.uk. Commonwealth Games and Sports Minister Shona Robison, said: “It’s an exciting time as we count down and prepare to host the largest sporting and cultural event in Scotland’s history, the Commonwealth Games. It’s important that we embrace the Games in years to come and ensure it delivers a lasting legacy that brings health benefits to people across Scotland. “These walking medal routes launched today will offer the opportunity for all the family to get active outdoors and explore their local woods. With now less than 150 days to go until the Games, venturing into the fresh air and taking part in something new can improve health and has a positive impact on physical and mental wellbeing.” There are more than 200 Medal Routes in over 75 locations throughout Scotland. Rob Burns, Medal Routes Project Officer for Ramblers Scotland, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many people in the Easterhouse area try the Medal Routes. It’s a beautiful area and these three routes give a perfect opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy their local surroundings.” The Commonwealth Woods network is a partnership project between Forestry Commission Scotland, Woodland Trust Scotland, the Commonwealth Forestry Association, Glasgow City Council, Clyde Gateway, Cassiltoun Housing Association, West Dunbartonshire Council, South & North Lanarkshire Council and Paths for All.   Tue, 4 Mar 2014 00:00:00 GMT Create a lasting legacy http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/201/Create-a-lasting-legacy http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/201/Create-a-lasting-legacy Following a visit to Lang Craigs woods in Dunbartonshire, Commonwealth Games and Sport Minister, Shona Robison explains the importance of getting active and creating your own legacy. It’s an exciting time as we count down and prepare to host the largest sporting and cultural event in Scotland’s history, the Commonwealth Games. It’s important that we embrace the Games in years to come and ensure it delivers a legacy that brings health benefits to people across Scotland. We’re committed to securing a lasting legacy from this year’s Commonwealth Games through dedicated legacy projects such as the Commonwealth Woods programme, which aims to encourage local people to get active outdoors and explore their local woods. During the recent Legacy Week, a partnership between the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council and Glasgow 2014, individuals, communities and organisations in Glasgow and across Scotland held events to raise awareness of their Commonwealth Games Legacy. The Commonwealth Woods is one such project vital in contributing to the legacy of the Games as it offers a range of activities and events for the local community and schools. People of all ages can learn about their natural surroundings and try something new, including photography walks, arts and crafts and cycling. These will hopefully develop into hobbies or life-long passions people will continue to participate in and share with friends and family. I recently visited Lang Craigs, owned by the Woodland Trust Scotland. I experienced the walking trails and planted a tree in its dedicated Commonwealth Grove. This is part of a community initiative that has involved over 2,000 people from local groups and schools and will see over 200,000 new trees planted, another sustainable legacy for the future. It was great to see such work in practice as it encourages people to be part of the community and enjoy a local wood which they can visit regularly and watch flourish in years to come. As we lead up to the Games, I hope projects such as this will urge everyone to get active, walk more, and make the most of the woods, and outdoor spaces, which exist within their local communities, to help build a legacy beyond 2014. With now less than 150 days to go until the Games, I believe it’s the perfect opportunity for people to venture into the fresh air and take part in something new, which can improve health and have a positive impact on physical and mental wellbeing.   Mon, 3 Mar 2014 00:00:00 GMT Commonwealth Woods highlights of the year http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/200/Commonwealth-Woods-highlights-of-the-year http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/200/Commonwealth-Woods-highlights-of-the-year This week in celebration of national Legacy Week (24 to 28 February) we are looking back on our events and activities, in support of the 2014 Games legacy. It all started with the official launch of our network of Commonwealth Woods at Lang Craigs in Dunbartonshire last June, with the help of local primary school children and community groups. They were joined by Glasgow born Commonwealth Games bronze winner and London 2012 Olympian, former badminton player Susan Egelstaff. Since then hundreds of people across the Glasgow area have taken part in free events and activities at the Commonwealth Woods. There have been animal handling sessions at Castlemilk Wood, foraging skills and den building at Auchenshuggle, tree planting at Lang Craigs and Woodland Games at Drumchapel. Communities are also encouraged to show their creative side and take part in our Inspired by my local woods competition. Winning pictures will make an official 2015 Commonwealth Woods calendar distributed free to local people in the Evening Times. The Commonwealth Woods project encourages communities across the Glasgow area to head outdoors and explore their local woods. Whether it’s looking for a bit of peace or beautiful surroundings to enjoy a walk or a picnic, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at the woods. Here’s a selection of our favourite images:  Thu, 27 Feb 2014 00:00:00 GMT Sports minister visits Commonwealth Wood http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/199/Sports-minister-visits-Commonwealth-Wood http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/199/Sports-minister-visits-Commonwealth-Wood Commonwealth Games and Sports Minister, Shona Robison, visited Lang Craig woods in Dunbartonshire today  (Wednesday 19 February) and planted a tree as part of a community initiative involving local children and community groups in planting more than 5,000 native trees to form a dedicated Commonwealth Grove. Lang Craigs above Dumbarton is one of a network of 14 Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow that provides outdoor spaces for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy free events and activities to get active, learn or just have fun. It has been created as part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games legacy and aims to increase use of and foster community pride in local green spaces and improve the quality of life for local communities. Roy Barlow from the Woodland Trust Scotland, said: “We’ve planted more than 200,000 native trees at Lang Craigs that will benefit people and wildlife and we’re immensely proud to dedicate one of the areas that have been planted by local people and schoolchildren as a Commonwealth Grove. The Commonwealth Grove covers just over two hectares and will contain more than 5,000 trees including oak, Scots pine, rowan and birch. “Dozens of children and families from the area have helped plant this new woodland, which will be easy to explore and enjoy. In years to come, by the time the children who planted trees here have grand children of their own, there will be a flourishing woodland here.” Lang Craigs will also benefit from the Active Places Fund, which aims to encourage physical activity as part of the Scottish Government’s Games Legacy programme. The Woodland Trust Scotland, which owns the site, has been granted £48,000 to make a number of improvements including upgrading the path network, installing new signage, way-marking and interpretation boards and extending the car park. Work is due to start in April. Roy Barlow added: “This investment will help us to deliver a lasting legacy of the Games by improving facilities at Lang Craigs to encourage people to get active and use the walks and pathways that will be intrinsic to the design, even if it means going for a walk.” 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.  The Commonwealth Wood initiative aims to raise awareness of the events and activities people can enjoy at their local wood, which is home to lots of different plants and animals. Commonwealth Games and Sports Minister Shona Robison, said: “The Scottish Government is committed to securing a lasting legacy from this year’s Commonwealth Games, and I’m delighted to visit the Lang Craigs Commonwealth Wood today to see such work in practice. “As just one of the 14 Commonwealth Woods across the Clyde Valley area, these sites play a vital role in encouraging people from local communities to get active outdoors on their doorstep, as well as enhancing their knowledge of local woodlands. “Encouraging people to respect and protect their natural environment for the benefit of future generations is key to creating a sustainable 2014 legacy, and it is also well known that regular activity, such as walking, provides a great range of health benefits and makes people feel happier, less stressed and adds years of quality life.” Wed, 19 Feb 2014 00:00:00 GMT Birds from around the world visit Castlemilk http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/196/Birds-from-around-the-world-visit-Castlemilk http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/196/Birds-from-around-the-world-visit-Castlemilk Castlemilk wood welcomed a range of owl species from across the Commonwealth countries last week [11.02.14]. Owl Magic, a company that cares for birds of prey, brought along and displayed a range of nine owls of varying sizes, colours and origins. People got to learn about each bird and where it comes from. Over 100 people joined the event, which included a guided walk through Castlemilk’s wood and the chance to hold some of the owl creatures. Richard Bolton, Community Woodland Officer at Castlemilk, said: “This is one of four Owl Magic events taking place at Castlemilk this year. It’s a great and different event for people, of any age, to take part in at their local wood. It’s an opportunity to learn more about and see such magnificent creatures from across the world up close.” The next Owl Magic event is taking place on Wednesday, 9 April 2014 at 1.30 until 3.30pm. Mon, 17 Feb 2014 00:00:00 GMT Commonwealth Woods joins forces with Young Scot http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/197/Commonwealth-Woods-joins-forces-with-Young-Scot http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/197/Commonwealth-Woods-joins-forces-with-Young-Scot Young people are being encouraged to get out and explore their local Commonwealth Woods with friends, family and community groups. The Forestry Commission Scotland is working with Young Scot to show under 26 year olds the hidden gems that can be discovered at a network of 14 Commonwealth Woods across Glasgow that are to be a legacy of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Young Scot Young Scot cardholders will receive Legacy 2014 Rewards points for taking part in a number of initiatives such as attending a selected event or activity at one of the woods or entering the ‘Inspired by the local Wood’ photography competition. If they collect enough points they will be in with a chance of winning a day’s work experience shadowing a Forestry Commission Development Officer.  Hugh McNish of the Forestry Commission Scotland said: “We’re keen to get more young people visiting their local Commonwealth Wood and in particular entering the Inspired by my local woods photography competition. We want photographs for an official 2015 calendar that will be distributed in the Glasgow Evening Times and also form a public exhibition.” Images can be of wildlife, the natural landscape or a community event or family day out. The only requirement is that the picture is taken by you in one of the 14 Commonwealth Woods:  Kilpatrick Hills, Overtoun Estate, Lang Craigs, Garscadden, Boden Boo, Johnstone Woods, Cuningar, Auchenshuggle, Cathkin Braes, Castlemilk, Easterhouse, Rawyards, Old Mine Nature Park and Riccard Johnston. If you are under 26 and want to find out how you can receive enough points to shadow a Forestry Commission Development Officer for the day, visit the Young Scot website for more information. Mon, 17 Feb 2014 00:00:00 GMT How can we help improve your local wood? http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/190/How-can-we-help-improve-your-local-wood http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/190/How-can-we-help-improve-your-local-wood Local people are being urged to take part in a short survey which asks what improvements they’d like to see at their local Commonwealth Wood. Ros Mills, Walking Development Officer for the Commonwealth Woods, will be gathering feedback from people during a consultation walk at Boden Boo in Erskine and Old Mine Nature Park in Bellshill. During the walk, which is aimed at local people, Ros will ask for their feedback on recent improvements made to the area and what they’d like to see improve in the future. Ros said: “Whether it’s walking, cycling or having a leisurely picnic, we’re interested in hearing how you and your family spend time in Boden Boo and Old Mine Nature Park. Even if you have never or only occasionally visited, we value your opinion as to how we can enhance your experience and make the woods more accessible to everyone.”If you can’t make either of the consultation walks but would still like to take part in the survey, simply email Ros your suggestions at woodlandwalks@pathsforall.org.uk The survey responses will help to inform future development and community plans at both Boden Boo and Old mine Nature Park as well as other Commonwealth Woods across Glasgow. Consultation Walks will take place on Saturday 15 February: Boden Boo, Erskine at 10 - 11.30am (meet in the main car park)Old Mine Nature Park, Bellshill at 1.30 - 3pm (meet at the Fallside Nature Park entrance) Thu, 6 Feb 2014 00:00:00 GMT Building stronger, better connected communities http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/189/Building-stronger-better-connected-communities http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/189/Building-stronger-better-connected-communities Claire Quinn, Community Engagement Officer for the Seven Lochs Wetland Park, tells us about her role and why she wants to see more people taking part in events and activities at their local Commonwealth Woods.My role is extremely varied, but ultimately it’s about getting more and more people from the Easterhouse area to visit their local woods and enjoy the outdoor spaces on their doorsteps. We’re lucky to have so many beautiful woods in our community which are home to an array of trees, wildlife and flowers. A large part of my job involves coming up with fun events and activities that the whole community can enjoy. Over the last year we’ve had a number of themed events take place at Todds Well wood in Easterhouse; from Walk for Women on International Women’s Day, and a Lantern Walk on Halloween, to a Jingle Bell stroll at Christmas. I’ve noticed a huge increase in the number of people who are starting to attend our outdoor events, which is very exciting. Our events are free and aimed at families; anyone is welcome to come and join in the fun. It’s a good way to spend time with your family and become familiar with your local wood and learn about the trees and wildlife. In the next few months I’ll be working with local residents, community and sports groups to raise awareness of these events and encourage people of all ages to come along. To find out what events are taking place at a Commonwealth Wood near you, visit our events calendar.   Mon, 3 Feb 2014 00:00:00 GMT Show your creative side http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/170/Show-your-creative-side http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/170/Show-your-creative-side We’re looking for a range of great pictures, across the seasons, for our Inspired by my local woods competition to make an official 2015 Commonwealth Woods calendar. Free for anyone to enter, the only condition is that the picture must be of one of the 14 Commonwealth Woods.  The calendar will be distributed free to local people in the Evening Times. Landscape photographer, Scott Jones, is showing people how to enhance their photography skills and learn how to focus, frame, light and position the perfect landscape picture at a series of free master classes at selected Commonwealth Woods. The first of these takes place at Boden Boo in Erskine (Saturday, 1 February) Cathkin Braes (Saturday, 15 February and Saturday, 29 March) and Lang Craigs and Overtoun House on (Saturday, 22 March), from 12.00-15.00. To register call 01698 368 530 or email commonwoods@forestry.gsi.gov.uk To find out about more events and activities taking place at a local wood near you, visit our events calendar. Wed, 22 Jan 2014 00:00:00 GMT Hundreds of free events at your local Commonwealth Woods in 2014 http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/169/Hundreds-of-free-events-at-your-local-Commonwealth-Woods-in-2014 http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/169/Hundreds-of-free-events-at-your-local-Commonwealth-Woods-in-2014 Families can enjoy hundreds of free events and activities at our network of 14 Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow in 2014. A bumper events calendar is being organised to encourage people to explore their local woods and get active outside, learn and have fun. It’s part of a lasting legacy project of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The woods are home to lots of different plants and animals. On leisurely walks you might be lucky to spot roe deer, butterflies, snowdrops and birds. So, whether you’re looking for a bit of peace, exploration and discovery, or beautiful surroundings to enjoy a walk or a picnic, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at the woods. For more information on what free events are taking place visit our events calendar. Mon, 20 Jan 2014 00:00:00 GMT Reaping the benefits of the Commonwealth Woods in 2014 http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/157/Reaping-the-benefits-of-the-Commonwealth-Woods-in-2014 http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/157/Reaping-the-benefits-of-the-Commonwealth-Woods-in-2014 The network of 14 Commonwealth Woods across Glasgow provides outdoor spaces for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy free events and activities. Muriel Cupples, age 64, of Croftfoot near Castlemilk is one of many members of the local community who is reaping the benefits of the 2014 Commonwealth Games Legacy Project. She tells us why she loves visiting her local wood, Castlemilk, and why more should follow suit. I’m very lucky to have such a beautiful wood on my doorstep. It’s bursting with ancient trees, flowers, wildlife and there’s even a lovely waterfall. I know the woods well as I spent most of my childhood playing here with friends. Back then I explored the woods the way any child would - climbing trees, building dens and fishing for tadpoles. It was great fun. Now I’m retired, I’ve rekindled my love of the outdoors. This has been helped by the huge number of events and activities that take place at Castlemilk Wood every week – and even better, they’re all absolutely free. There are so many to choose from, including archaeological digs, guided health walks, photography groups and foraging events where you can discover edible nuts, berries and mushrooms. They’re all organised and led by Richard Bolton, Community Woodland Officer, who makes every event fun and worthwhile. He makes sure everyone is enjoying themselves and taking it at their own pace, especially the health walks which are aimed at people of all fitness levels. I’ve brought my grandchildren along to a couple of the family events and they loved it – and again, it didn’t cost me a penny. I hope others are encouraged to take advantage of a great outdoor space that’s right on their doorstep. If you make one New Year’s resolution, make sure it’s to rediscover your local wood. You won’t regret it. Find out more about the events and activities available at each of the Commonwealth Wood on our woods page or by visiting our events calendar. Mon, 6 Jan 2014 00:00:00 GMT Wrap up for a winter walk http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/155/Wrap-up-for-a-winter-walk http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/155/Wrap-up-for-a-winter-walk As Christmas day is fast approaching, why not take some time out from the usual gift wrapping and turkey stuffing to join us on the Jingle Bell Woodland Walk in Easterhouse on Friday, 20 December. The festive afternoon will consist of a lively and musical walk (jingle bells are essential) through Todds Well woods. Following the winter walk, there will be festive refreshments, including mince pies and hot chocolate to keep everyone warm, and entertainment from fire dancers at Provanhall House. Everyone, of any age, is welcome to join the free event which starts from 3.30pm. Remember to wrap up in your winter woolies and come along to the festivities in your local wood. Feel free to take photos during the event and enter them into our photography competition, where you could be in for the chance to have your snaps featured in the official 2015 calendar. Jingle bells are provided. Wed, 18 Dec 2013 00:00:00 GMT Congratulations to the tree huggers http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/156/Congratulations-to-the-tree-huggers http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/156/Congratulations-to-the-tree-huggers We’d like to congratulate all the tree huggers who took part in a world record attempt. Over 900 people joined the mass tree hug across 11 separate woods, storming the previous record of 702 set by the Forestry Commission in 2011. However, it marginally missed out on breaking the record still pending by the State of Oregon, which counted 950 tree huggers. This was a great effort from everyone who got involved and went along to their local woods, including Overtoun House near Dumbarton, one of 14 Commonwealth Woods, which saw a total of 22 people show some love for the trees. Rory Syme, at the Woodland Trust Scotland, said: “It was great fun to take part in this unusual event and we’re glad to have been a part of it. We are thrilled that we managed to beat the official World Record, however, to come so close to the unofficial record which is being submitted by Oregon is disappointing! Hopefully if we don’t manage to get the record this time, we can have another try at it in the future.” Tue, 17 Dec 2013 00:00:00 GMT Top tips for perfect landscape pictures http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/154/Top-tips-for-perfect-landscape-pictures http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/154/Top-tips-for-perfect-landscape-pictures The Forestry Commission Scotland has teamed up with landscape photographer Scott Jones for a series of masterclasses to help people enhance their photography skills. Scott tells us here why more people should visit the Commonwealth Woods and take pictures of the local environment. All 14 Commonwealth Woods are located in and around the Glasgow area and are close by to where so many of us live. In the past month I’ve visited two of the woods – Lang Craigs near Dumbarton and Bishop’s Loch Wood in Easterhouse. Both woods provided loads of photographic opportunities for the enthusiasts that were with me taking part in one of my free masterclass sessions provided by Forestry Commission Scotland.Landscape photography isn’t always about recording the ‘big scene’ but includes photographing some of the smaller details at a particular location. The Commonwealth Woods are perfect for providing all of those opportunities since the trees and other natural features vary in colour, shape and texture from season to season and quite often during the course of a single day.The masterclass sessions held so far were a huge success and allowed me to share my expertise and some tricks of the trade with other people who were keen on developing their photographic skills. The sessions also looked at some of the other basics of photography such as simple composition, use of tripods and planning your photography outings.We explored both woodlands and the participants took photographs of trees, fungi, and many of the other things which can be found in woods during the autumn months. We were completely spoilt by the beautiful autumnal colours that we’ve experienced this year.Apart from the two woods mentioned above, I have visited a number of the other Commonwealth Woods and they are all wonderful places to visit at any time of year. Just about every time I revisit one of the woods, I see things that are worthy of photographing which weren’t there before. That’s the beauty of woods – they are always changing and constantly providing photographers with new opportunities and challenges.So, there’s nothing to stop you, be inspired and have the confidence to go and explore your local Commonwealth Wood and get snapping!It’s easy to enter our Inspired by my local woods calendar competition. The winning pictures will feature in a 2015 Calendar that will be distributed free with the Glasgow Evening Times, so what are you waiting for?Here is my top tip to taking the perfect landscape pictureMy best tip for taking the perfect landscape picture is ‘plan’. Once you have identified what it is you want to take a photograph of, think about the best time of year, time of day and weather conditions for taking that photograph. That will probably mean that you will have to return to the same spot on several occasions to get the image you are looking for, which is achievable if it is at your local Commonwealth Wood. Mon, 2 Dec 2013 00:00:00 GMT Help needed to set world record for tree hugging http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/152/Help-needed-to-set-world-record-for-tree-hugging http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/152/Help-needed-to-set-world-record-for-tree-hugging Local people are being urged to put aside one minute on Sunday, December 1 to help set a world record for tree hugging at Overtoun House near Dumbarton.Scotland’s tree hugging World Record attempt will take place simultaneously across 11 separate sites, which make up Scotland Tree Trail, and will mark the culmination of events celebrating National Tree Week in the UK and the Year of Natural Scotland. Previous records have been set by the Forestry Commission England in 2011 with 702 people hugging trees and the latest record, which is awaiting approval from the Guinness World Records, was achieved this year in the United States with 950 people. Lang Craigs at Overtoun House is part of a network of 14 Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow. It’s part of a Legacy project of the 2014 Commonwealth Games to provide a range of community involvement activities. Roy Barlow, Lang Craigs’ site manager at Woodland Trust Scotland, said: “This is a really fun event for everyone, of any age, to get involved in. We’d love for as many people as possible to wrap up warm and help us achieve a new world record by showing a bit of love for the outdoors.” Tree huggers should gather at the car park at Overtoun House by 11.30am on Sunday, December 1. Mon, 25 Nov 2013 00:00:00 GMT Photography masterclass http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/148/Photography-masterclass http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/148/Photography-masterclass Budding local photographers are being invited to take part in the first photography masterclass at Bishop's Loch wood in Easterhouse on Saturday, 16 November 2013 from midday until 3pm.  The Forestry Commission Scotland has teamed up with landscape photographer Scott Jones for a series of masterclasses designed to help people enhance their photography skills and learn how to focus, frame, light  and position the perfect landscape picture. The aim of the masterclass is to continue to encourage people to explore the woods and take photos of the local landscape, trees, birds and wildlife or of family and friends and to submit photos into the Inspired by my local woods calendar competition.  The winning pictures will be used to design a 2015 Calendar that will be distributed free with the Glasgow Evening Times. Hugh McNish of the Forestry Commission Scotland explains: “This is one of many free events we’re hosting across the Commonwealth Woods for people to explore the woods in the city and get active outdoors, learn and have fun. “We’re looking for a range of pictures to make up our official 2015 calendar and want to get some great shots of the woods across the different seasons between now and the end of next year.   We’re hoping this first masterclass will create some fantastic autumn pictures at Lang Craigs and the Overtoun Estate as the trees and the landscape change colour and help to give local people the skills and the confidence to keep on snapping.” This is a free event and is open to anyone looking to brush up on their photography skills. To book a place, please email commonwoods@forestry.gsi.gov.uk or call 01698 368 530. Remember to wrap up warm and bring a camera.  Wed, 13 Nov 2013 00:00:00 GMT No Poo in Boden Boo http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/145/No-Poo-in-Boden-Boo http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/145/No-Poo-in-Boden-Boo Local residents are invited to a responsible pet ownership event at Boden Boo in Erskine on Saturday, 9 November 2013. This is a free event and welcomes dog owners, including those thinking about getting a dog. The Forestry Commission Scotland has teamed up with a number of organisations including Renfrewshire Animal Warden Service, Dogs Trust Glasgow and SSPCA to allow residents to access information about responsible dog ownership and current legislation. Treats and goodies will be supplied by Royal Canin. The free event is on from 11am to 2pm.For more information, please contact Derek Shannan, Community Ranger by email Derek.shannan@forestry.gsi.gov.uk or call on 07798827978  Thu, 7 Nov 2013 00:00:00 GMT No Poo in Boden Boo http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/146/No-Poo-in-Boden-Boo http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/146/No-Poo-in-Boden-Boo Local residents are invited to a responsible pet ownership event at Boden Boo in Erskine on Saturday, 9 November 2013. This is a free event and welcomes dog owners, including those thinking about getting a dog. The Forestry Commission Scotland has teamed up with a number of organisations including Renfrewshire Animal Warden Service, Dogs Trust Glasgow and SSPCA to allow residents to access information about responsible dog ownership and current legislation. Treats and goodies will be supplied by Royal Canin. The free event is on from 11am to 2pm.For more information, please contact Derek Shannan, Community Ranger by email Derek.shannan@forestry.gsi.gov.uk or call on 07798827978  Thu, 7 Nov 2013 00:00:00 GMT Create your own event in the woods http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/143/Create-your-own-event-in-the-woods http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/143/Create-your-own-event-in-the-woods As the five-day Diwali Hindu festival, also known as the Festival of Lights, draws to a close, Romena Huq, Engagement Officer with the Forestry Commission Scotland tells us about her job working with community groups. I work with lots of different groups of people from diverse backgrounds, including ethnic minority and faith groups, women’s groups and youth groups to encourage them to use their local woods. We regularly host a wide range of free events and activities for them in the Commonwealth Woods such as storytelling, guided walks and arts workshops, which a lot of people may not have tried before. These community events are a great way to socialise, get active outdoors and enjoy the beautiful woods that are in and around our city. Hopefully, we can help to build people’s confidence to have a go at hosting their very own community event in the future. Many of the groups have such interesting and colourful backgrounds, which we believe is important to share with the wider community. We have supported voluntary organisations such as the Maryhill Integration Network, a charity which aims to bring communities together through art, culture, education and social events, C-Change and the Scottish Indian Mahila Cultural Centre, to arrange events in the woods such as celebrating traditional Hindu festivals, including Holi, to mark the start of spring, and Diwali. We’ve hosted Eid in the Woods, where over 150 people joined in various activities at Boden Boo to celebrate the end of Ramadan. As well as cultural events, we also host various sports activities such as Storybike tours through the Commonwealth Woods. It’s an ideal way to introduce individuals to their local woods and to learn more about the local history and the outdoors, while keeping fit in tranquil surroundings. Hopefully, people will continue to venture out to explore the woods on their own after attending an activity. All these events are a great opportunity for everyone in the local community to get involved, get active and learn about new cultures and religions while in a unique woodland setting. Mon, 4 Nov 2013 00:00:00 GMT Photography workshop http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/140/Photography-workshop http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/140/Photography-workshop A photography workshop will take place at Lang Craigs / Overtoun Estate in Dunbartonshire on Saturday, 9th November. Forestry Commission Scotland has teamed up with landscape photographer Scott Jones for a series of photography workshops being arranged at various Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow. The workshop is aimed at beginners who wish to learn more about aperture, framing, light and positioning. The aim of the workshop is to encourage more people to submit images of Commonwealth Woods to feature in an official 2015 calendar that will be distributed free to local people in the Glasgow Evening Times.The ‘Inspired by my local woods’ competition is designed to encourage people to explore and picture their local woods, snapping local wildlife, birds, trees, plants and landscapes. Or it could be a picture of a community event or family day out in the woods. The only requirement is that the picture is taken by in one of the 14 Commonwealth Woods. The free event runs from 12noon till 3pm. There will be only 12 places available so booking is essential. Participants are asked to bring along their own camera equipment and to wrap up warm with waterproof clothing. The meeting point is at the car park at Overtoun House, G82 2SH. To book a place on the workshop, please email commonwoods@forestry.gsi.gov.uk or call 01698368530. Wed, 30 Oct 2013 00:00:00 GMT Commonwealth Wood lights up Castlemilk http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/138/Commonwealth-Wood-lights-up-Castlemilk http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/138/Commonwealth-Wood-lights-up-Castlemilk Hundreds of people visited Castlemilk woods last night [24.10.2013] to see the area transformed into a wonderful enchanted forest. The evening included dance by Scottish Ballet, a display of fire and flame, illuminated woodland walks, the building of night dens, lit-up water features and lighting displays. There were also performances from Castlemilk Youth Complex and Castlemilk Heritage Group was on hand to share interesting facts about the area. The event was organised by local charity, the Jeely Piece Club and funded by the Forestry Commission Scotland. Aileen Campbell, Scottish Minister for Children and Young People, attended and said “The Jeely Piece Club created an incredible night-time, wonderland experience and showed that the outdoors can inspire all manner of fun and activities. “Like many of the projects we support through the Go2Play fund, Woodland Play in the Dark will use activities like den building and ballet workshops to bring a familiar space to life - in a totally new way. “It will also allow the more adventurous visitors to be able to explore historic escape tunnels and find out fascinating facts about the area they are growing up in and hopefully inspire even more games and activities.” Castlemilk Wood is part of a network of 13 Commonwealth Woods in and around Glasgow designed as a lasting legacy of the Commonwealth Games 2014 Hugh McNish, Forestry Commission Scotland's health advisor,said the event was a great opportunity to inspire young people to use their local woodland. He added “We are committed to creating a lasting legacy from the Commonwealth Games that helps people lead healthier lives. The Woodland Play in the Dark event is just one example of how people can take advantage of some of their great natural areas.” Fri, 25 Oct 2013 00:00:00 GMT Diwali celebrations light up Glasgow Commonwealth Wood http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/137/Diwali-celebrations-light-up-Glasgow-Commonwealth-Wood http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/137/Diwali-celebrations-light-up-Glasgow-Commonwealth-Wood Firecrackers, Diya decorations, lanterns and dance performances are some of the elements of the Diwali festival that will be celebrated by hundreds of local people at a Glasgow Commonwealth wood next week (Sunday 27 October 2013). The annual festival celebrated by Hindus is known as  ‘Diwali’ the ‘Festival of Lights.’ It’s the first time it will be celebrated at Garscadden Wood in Drumchapel, one of a network of 13 Commonwealth Woods across Glasgow that are to be a legacy of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The multi-cultural event invites local people and community groups to take part in a range of activities including forest walks with lantern lights, Indian storytelling and Rangoli demonstrations (traditional Hindu floor designs with coloured sand). There will also be entertainment such as fire juggling, puppet shows and traditional Hindu dancing and music performances. Romena Huq, Engagement Officer for the Forestry Commission Scotland, said: “This is the first time we are celebrating Diwali in a Commonwealth Wood and it’s a great opportunity for everyone in the local community to get involved in something they might not have done before. This cultural event brings together aspects of a traditional Indian festival and places it in a unique woodland setting. No matter how old you are or ability, everyone can take part in the exciting activities and entertainment.” Glasgow-based environmental artist, Nikki Pardasani, is helping to organise the event and regularly works with community groups to encourage them to take part in different activities in their local woods, such as craft workshops, foraging skills, den building and yoga. Nikki is working with St Clare’s Primary after school group, Hindu Mandir kids group, Drumchapel afterschool group and Chesters Nursery School to educate children about Diwali and involve them in making various traditional decorations to be displayed during the event. She said: “The woods are a great open space to use for lots of activities, such as sports, craft making or simply exploring and getting active. It offers a great back drop for this amazing festival where local people regardless of their background or faith can come together to celebrate culture and have fun. “As Diwali is a vibrant and visual festival, we will be holding craft workshops to make traditional and colourful decorations to display during the festivities.” The free event aims to encourage people of any age and of mixed ability to celebrate and support the Festival of Lights in their local wood.  Time schedule 3.00-4.00: Rangoli demonstration, Puja ceremony and lantern making 4.00-4.45: Drumming and percussion workshop 5.15-5.30: Dance performance and tribal jungle dance 5.30-6.15: Storytelling walk in the Forest of Lights 6.15-6.45: Fire show, puppetry and drumming performances Wed, 23 Oct 2013 00:00:00 GMT Halloween in the Woods http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/136/Halloween-in-the-Woods http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/136/Halloween-in-the-Woods Ghostly storytelling, lantern lit walks and of course, dooking for apples are just some of the activities that are going on at the Commonwealth Woods this Halloween. Boden Boo in Erskine, Renfrewshire and Todd Wells in Easterhouse will be hosting two special Halloween events for the whole family to take part in. For the second year, Boden Boo will be hosting Halloween in the Woods on Saturday 26 October from 6 until 9pm. The evening will see the Walking Theatre Company, along with local youth groups, act out some spooky stories. There will also be guided trail walks through the wood which will be lit up with oil lanterns. As well as the performances, there will be plenty of traditional games to join in such as the best costume competition, dooking for apples and doughnuts on a string. If that’s not enough, Freaky Friday Night will be taking place at Easterhouse wood on Friday 1 November from 6 until 8pm. There will be a lantern led walk with Rosslyn Mills, Commonwealth Woodland Walks Development Officer, through Todd Wells woods. It will be followed by storytelling of ghostly and haunted tales at Provanhall House, which is one of the oldest houses in Glasgow dating back to the mid 15th Century. To find out how to take part (if you dare) in these spooky Halloween events, please follow the links to Boden Boo and Easterhouse, and remember to dress up in your scariest costume! Send us your pics. We would love to see pictures of you in your scariest costume at one of the above Halloween events. Why don’t you send some to our Commonwealth Woods Facebook page?   Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 GMT Would you like to explore the Woods? http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/132/Would-you-like-to-explore-the-Woods http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/132/Would-you-like-to-explore-the-Woods Glasgow based environmental artist Nikki Pardasani is providing inspiration to hundreds of people through her Explore the Woods events, a free outdoor project she is running in partnership with The Forestry Commission. I’m working with people in the local community who do not normally visit their local wood. Everyone from minority groups to disabled people, older people, adults and children have taken part in my Explore the Woods events. Activities range from herbal walks to yoga in the woods, willow weaving, animal handling sessions, foraging skills and den building. We learn as we go, taking in information about Scottish wildlife and types of trees and leaves we see. As many as 70 people take part. Feedback is very positive with some people who have never visited their wood enthusiastic about returning in the future. There is something for everyone to enjoy.  The woods offer lots of fun and interesting activities for all the family, where people from different faiths and backgrounds can mix and enjoy themselves. I just want to see more people getting out and giving it a go. So if you go down to the woods today, you might just have some fun and learn something too. For more information visit Nikki’s Creative Station on Facebook for more info. Tue, 1 Oct 2013 00:00:00 GMT Smelly Wellies take a trip to Auchenshuggle http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/129/Smelly-Wellies-take-a-trip-to-Auchenshuggle http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/129/Smelly-Wellies-take-a-trip-to-Auchenshuggle Children and young people from Shettleston have been building shelters and learning all about trees and wildlife in Auchenshuggle Wood. To help them discover more about their local woods youngsters from The Smelly Welly Club, run by The Shettleston Community Growing Project (SCGP), were asked to close their eyes and describe what they heard, felt and smelt in the Commonwealth Wood. Children, some as young as four, picked up on birds singing and wind whistling through trees and how this felt against their skin. It wasn’t long before they were split into teams of Badgers, Foxes and Hedgehogs and asked to take part in the main activity of the day – shelter building. Using materials from the woods and some sailcloth supplied by SCGP, the groups worked together to design and build a wigwam and shelter. A huge amount of fun was had by everyone. Marion Bate from SCGP, said: “The overwhelming response was that it was a great day, which people were reluctant to see end. In fact a sleep over was suggested by many. “When asked how they now saw the woodland, many in the group said they didn't think it would be so much fun, and several suggested that it was a great place to play and run and have a laugh. However, the most touching comment came from a young man with a poet's heart who described it as a place of beauty and happiness not just for animals but for us too!” Would you like to build a shelter in your local Commonwealth Wood? You don’t need special equipment. Read our activities to find out more. Thu, 19 Sep 2013 00:00:00 GMT Digging up the past http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/128/Digging-up-the-past http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/128/Digging-up-the-past Preparation has already begun at Castlemilk wood ahead of its archaeological dig, Digging up the past, on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 Oct, from 12 until 3pm.Richard Bolton, Community Woodland Officer, got a small team together and carried out a dig in the ancient woodland to try and find evidence of a motte running through the estate. I wonder what else they’ll discover from the past? For more information, please follow the Events Calendar. Remember to wear suitable clothing and footwear. Tue, 17 Sep 2013 00:00:00 GMT Get creative in a Commonwealth Wood http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/125/Get-creative-in-a-Commonwealth-Wood http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/125/Get-creative-in-a-Commonwealth-Wood Local families and community groups are invited to take part in a number of woodland themed activities at Castlemilk Wood on Sunday, 15 September. Glasgow based environmental artist Nikki Pardasani, will tempt little ones (and adults) to get creative while learning a bit about local wildlife and woodlands. Animal handling, treasure hunts and creating art using natural materials found in the wood are amongst the activities on offer. Although it’s a free event, booking is essential as spaces are limited. Remember to bring a packed lunch too. For further information and to book a place, please contact nikscreativestation@gmail.com Thu, 12 Sep 2013 00:00:00 GMT Men and women get mucky during Mud Run event http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/124/Men-and-women-get-mucky-during-Mud-Run-event http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/124/Men-and-women-get-mucky-during-Mud-Run-event More than 40 people turned out to get down and dirty for the inaugural Mud Run in the Blue Bell Woods in Drumchapel. The run was a demanding physical effort for all participants who raced through miles of muddy terrain, featuring climbing obstacles, mud pits and much more. The event was also part of the year long celebrations to mark six decades since the creation of Drumchapel.Check out the Mud Run in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibUxeUhmcqM Tue, 10 Sep 2013 00:00:00 GMT Photo contest will form part of 2014 Games Legacy plan http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/102/Photo-contest-will-form-part-of-2014-Games-Legacy-plan http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/102/Photo-contest-will-form-part-of-2014-Games-Legacy-plan People across Glasgow are being encouraged to head outdoors and snap up some inspirational pictures to feature in a Commonwealth Woods 2015 official calendar, and the chance to win a professional photography master class. ‘Inspired by my local woods’ encourages people to explore and picture their local woods including birds, plants, wildlife or community events such as guided walks and picnic. It forms part of the Commonwealth Woods, a legacy project of the 2014 Commonwealth Games which aims to help local communities to get involved, get active and be inspired by their local woods. Hugh McNish, Forestry Commission Scotland’s health advisor for the central belt, is urging people of all ages to take part in the competition. He said: “The Commonwealth Woods are right on the doorsteps of many people living in the Glasgow area making it easy to enjoy trees and the outdoors in the city. “The woods are full of inspiration during all seasons so we are hoping to get a vast array of pictures from now through to summer 2014. Whether its picnics in Easterhouse, waterfalls in Castlemilk or families taking part in an outdoor activity, we want to see how people enjoy their local Commonwealth Woods.”Thirteen winning photographs will be selected to feature in the 2015 calendar, with the overall winning shot used as the front cover. Photos must be taken within one of 13 Commonwealth Woods: Kilpatrick Hills, Overtoun Estate, Lang Craigs, Garscadden, Boden Boo, Johnstone Woods, Cuningar, Auchenshuggle, Cathkin Braes, Castlemilk, Easterhouse, Rawyards and Old Mine Nature Park.For more information, visit our competitions page. Thu, 5 Sep 2013 00:00:00 GMT A trip back in time http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/101/A-trip-back-in-time http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/101/A-trip-back-in-time Richard Bolton, Community Woodland Officer, discovered more about Castlemilk’s interesting past when he met the great, great granddaughters of a forester who managed the estate in the 18th century. He says:Castlemilk is steeped in history and many of the events and activities we organise focus on exploring the ancient area and its wildlife. Following some research into the estate’s past, I came across William Gilchrist, a forester, who looked after the area during the 1860’s. As I delved deeper, I found published documents by William Gilchrist describing his work and passion for the estate, along with other details about his life and sadly his death. To mark William’s hard work, I arranged an event last year, nearly 130 years on from William’s death, to share my discovery about the forester. Through this, I was contacted by his great, great granddaughters, who travelled from England to visit the wood he created and cared for. William’s work is still prominent as there are still five sequoias trees in the park, which we collected seeds from during the event and replanted. One germinated and is currently standing at 5cm tall. Throughout his time at Castlemilk, he was responsible for planting over 390,000 trees. Castlemilk is such a diverse wood with its attractive waterfall and ancient paths; it’s definitely worth a visit to see what you can find. Mon, 2 Sep 2013 00:00:00 GMT Commonwealth Woodland Walks, Bus Tours 2013 http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/97/Commonwealth-Woodland-Walks-Bus-Tours-2013 http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/97/Commonwealth-Woodland-Walks-Bus-Tours-2013 Find out what the Commonwealth Woods have to offer with Ros Mills, Commonwealth Woodland Walks Development Officer. Join Ros on a tour of the Commonwealth Woods on Tuesday 10 and Thursday 12 September. She will lead short walks through the woods and point-out the wide range of activities that people can enjoy outdoors, whether it’s walking, cycling or enjoying a picnic. Each tour will visit the following Commonwealth Woods: 10 September: Easterhouse, Castlemilk and Auchenshuggle12 September: Drumchapel, Kilpatricks and Boden Boo (please note these sites have some steep slopes and uneven surfaces) Tours will start at 10am (collection by bus from outside Glasgow City Chambers on George Square) and will return no later than 2pm. Refreshments will be provided. Although it’s a free event, booking is essential as spaces are limited. For further information and to book a place, please contact rosslyn.mills@pathsforall.org.uk Thu, 22 Aug 2013 00:00:00 GMT Eid in the Woods http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/93/Eid-in-the-Woods http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/93/Eid-in-the-Woods Commonwealth Wood, Boden Boo, will be hosting Eid in the Woods on Saturday 17th August. Nestled under the Erskine Bridge, Boden Boo is celebrating the Muslim festival, Eid, with a range of activities for the whole family to take part in, including a mini Commonwealth games, arts and crafts, guided walks and henna painting.Celebrations will begin at 1pm until 5pm with live music and snacks to enjoy throughout the afternoon.The event is free and everyone, of any age, is welcome to join the festivities in the woods!For more information please contact stories_for_life@yahoo.co.uk Thu, 8 Aug 2013 00:00:00 GMT Sharing a passion for the outdoors http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/92/Sharing-a-passion-for-the-outdoors http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/92/Sharing-a-passion-for-the-outdoors Newly recruited Rosslyn Mills, Walking Development Officer for the Commonwealth Wood, tells us about her role and why it’s important to make the most of your local wood. My job with the Commonwealth Woods is about much more than walking.  I’m raising awareness of a network of 13 woods by promoting a wide range of physical activities that people can enjoy outdoors, from walking to cycling or just enjoying a picnic. Following the excitement of the London Olympics and the build up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games, it’s such a great time to be part of a project like this. At the Commonwealth Woods, we’re organising a range of community events and activities such as family fun days, guided walks and arts projects.  It’s a great way to become familiar with your local wood in a safe environment for free. I’m working with local residents, schools and community groups to raise awareness of these events and to create new activities.  It’s also about encouraging people to embrace their local woods everyday, whether it’s a place to walk your dog, take a short-cut to the shops or go for a run. I’ve always had a real passion and interest in the outdoors which I want to share with others. Woods are great natural play areas and have so much potential for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy them.  And just getting outdoors is good for your health and general wellbeing.  I’d encourage everyone to explore not just the Commonwealth Woods, but the local woods and green spaces on their doorstep and find out what the outdoors can offer! For more information on Rosslyn’s role, please click http://www.pathsforall.org.uk/pfa/staff-profiles/rosslyn-mills.html Mon, 5 Aug 2013 00:00:00 GMT Hop on your bike and visit a Commonwealth Wood http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/91/Hop-on-your-bike-and-visit-a-Commonwealth-Wood http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/91/Hop-on-your-bike-and-visit-a-Commonwealth-Wood With the summer in full swing, why not join Sunday’s (21 July) Storybike cycle rides around Glasgow and the woods. The 20 mile circuit will start at Bellahouston Park at 10.00am and follows the route across to the north of The River Clyde, then west to The Saltings and Lusset Glen. It will cross over the Erskine Bridge to one of our Commonwealth Woods, Boden Boo, and finish back at Bellahouston Park at 4.00pm. An experienced leader will guide the group through a relatively flat route at a moderate pace, with stories along the way and plenty of sightseeing and photo opportunities. It’s suitable for anyone, of any age, who can ride a bike and can cycle five miles comfortably. Although this is a free event, places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis. To book a place, please contact zara.cycling@gmail.com. Remember to bring a packed lunch, plenty of water and your bike!  Thu, 18 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMT Commonwealth wood celebrates latest achievement http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/90/Commonwealth-wood-celebrates-latest-achievement http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/90/Commonwealth-wood-celebrates-latest-achievement Commonwealth wood 'highly commended' in woodland awards We're celebrating after Castlemilk was highly commended in the community woodlands category of Scotland’s Finest Woods Awards. The Forestry Commission Scotland played host to the awards ceremony at the recent Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh where the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse, presented Castlemilk Park Partnership with their award. Owned by Glasgow City Council, the ancient woodland has a network of well-maintained paths, a stunning waterfall, wildlife and spring flowers. Castlemilk Park Partnership was praised for its range of activities for people of all ages to take part, including photography groups, history walks, teddy bear picnics and foraging classes. The accolade goes to show how small activities can have a big impact. Richard Bolton, Community Woodland Officer at Castlemilk Park, said: "It's such a great achievement to be recognised by Scotland's Finest Woods for the work we do at Castlemilk. We aim to engage with the community and encourage everyone to make the most of their local woodland."   Wed, 10 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMT Why children should embrace Commonwealth spirit with woodland fun http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/89/Why-children-should-embrace-Commonwealth-spirit-with-woodland-fun http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/89/Why-children-should-embrace-Commonwealth-spirit-with-woodland-fun Glasgow born Commonwealth Games bronze winner and London 2012 Olympian, former badminton player Susan Egelstaff, tells us why it’s important for children to be active and to get outdoors in our first blog. I was privileged to be invited to the launch of the Commonwealth Woods network at Overtoun Estate in early June. There were loads of activities for the kids who came along to take part in and my favourite was when they made some artworks with natural clay and sawdust. All the kids had a brilliant time, even if more clay ended up on their hands and faces than on the trees! It illustrated perfectly to me how much fun kids have when they’re outdoors. Even when it started to rain they were far too preoccupied with their games to notice. I remember going out into my local woods when I was young and spotting loads of different animals, climbing trees and hunting for conkers. Kids have so much energy that if they’re given a chance to go out into their local woods they’ll relish the experience and hopefully keep using the woods as they grow up and have their own families. The other great thing about the network is the range of activities for adults. There are walking and fitness groups and cycle paths. Cycling is a great thing to do as a family; I know that I'll be taking my niece and nephew along for a day out in the woods. I hope every child in Scotland will be inspired to get active and maybe even take up a new sport during next summer’s Commonwealth Games. I'll definitely be at as many of the events in the Commonwealth Woods as I can manage and I hope everyone else will take this chance to get outdoors and enjoy their local woodlands to the full. Susan Egelstaff at the launch of the commonwealth woods network, a legacy of the Commonwealth Games for generations of people to enjoy. Wed, 3 Jul 2013 00:00:00 GMT Commonwealth Woods photography competition launched http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/88/Commonwealth-Woods-photography-competition-launched http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/88/Commonwealth-Woods-photography-competition-launched Would you like to see one of your photographs in print and exhibited in public? Now is your chance to enter the Commonwealth Woods Photographic Competition which aims to highlight the beauty and importance of trees, woodlands and forests and how they’re used by animals as well as humans! So why not get out into your local woods and see what you can capture with your camera? Supported by The Commonwealth Forestry Association, the competition aims to promote the beauty of the 13 woods in and around Glasgow that make up the Commonwealth Woods network, a legacy project of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Hugh McNish, Forestry Commission Scotland’s health advisor for the central belt, said: “Show us what green spaces mean to you. It doesn’t matter whether you’re six or sixty, we want to see your photos of the woods, people enjoying or working in the woods, animals and birdlife and nature in the different seasons.” The competition is open to everyone and the 25 best photographs will be exhibited in Glasgow during the 2014 Commonwealth Games and on the official Commonwealth Woods website. The photographer who takes the best photo as judged by our independent panel will win a Nikon D3100 digital SLR camera. Please send your photos to cfa@cfa-international.org. The competition will close on 31st December 2013. Good luck! Thu, 27 Jun 2013 00:00:00 GMT Glasgow Commonwealth Games Mountain Bike venue opens http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/86/Glasgow-Commonwealth-Games-Mountain-Bike-venue-opens http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/86/Glasgow-Commonwealth-Games-Mountain-Bike-venue-opens Cathkin Braes Country Park, the venue that will host the mountain bike competitions at theCommonwealth Games in Glasgow has opened. The 5.5km circuit will be free to use by the public before and after the 2014 games. It is suitable for all abilities and has mixed terrain, such as moorland, woodland and hillside bedrock. Commonwealth Games and Sport Minister Shona Robinson said: "The new trails are an exciting newaddition to Glasgow's sporting landscape. Mountain biking makes a massive contribution toScotland, whether through increasing the number of visitors or improving health. "Cathkin Braes will further cement Scotland’s image as a leader of hosting world-class sportingevents, as well as leaving a great legacy for Glasgow." The trail was designed by Phil Saxena, the man behind the Beijing Olympic mountain bike course.He worked on the project with a team from Glasgow City Council. Mon, 24 Jun 2013 00:00:00 GMT Commonwealth woodlands unveiled across Scotland http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/82/Commonwealth-woodlands-unveiled-across-Scotland http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/82/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.     Tue, 11 Jun 2013 00:00:00 GMT Clyde helps to launch the first Woodland Games at Drumchapel http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/77/Clyde-helps-to-launch-the-first-Woodland-Games-at-Drumchapel http://www.commonwoods.org.uk/news/news/77/Clyde-helps-to-launch-the-first-Woodland-Games-at-Drumchapel Pupils from schools across Glasgow with ambitions to follow in the footsteps of their sporting heroes, will show off their skills today (Tuesday, 14 May) in the first Woodland Games organised in celebration of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Hosted by the official Games mascot, Clyde, the event takes place at Garscadden Woodland, Drumchapel involving around 90 primary six pupils from four local primary schools. Pupils will compete in various sports, including cross country running, archery, tug of war, javelin, long jump, tree touch, relay and short putt. Organised by The Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) the event is aimed at getting people out into their local woodlands, enjoying the trees and nature on their doorstep. Hugh McNish, Forestry Commission Scotland’s health advisor for the central belt, says today’s event is an incredible opportunity to inspire young people to use their local woodland and catch the Commonwealth spirit. He said: “We know that young people across the country were inspired by last year’s London Olympics and that’s why, in the build up to the Commonwealth Games 2014, we want to get them and their families active, learning and having fun outdoors. It’s fantastic to have games mascot Clyde come along to support the event and provide a real highlight for the youngsters taking part.” The winning school will receive a trophy made from Oak and all pupils will receive a special wooden medal. David White, Scottish Government, Physical Activity Champion commented: “We’re committed to creating a lasting legacy from the Commonwealth Games that helps people lead healthier lives. The Woodland Games is just one example of how people can take advantage on some of the great natural areas they have on their doorstep, even in the city, and get active outdoors.” Tue, 14 May 2013 00:00:00 GMT