Though Glasgow is a busy city it’s easy to escape the
bustle and find a quiet place to walk where nature thrives.
The Canal tow path of the Forth and Clyde Canal can be
accessed from Anniesland Cross or Maryhill Road and many other points along its
length. This green corridor stretches across Scotland from Bowling in the west to Edinburgh in the
east.On 12th October 2020, the Garscube Bridge, a new retractable bridge which crosses the canal at a point no distance behind Firhill Stadium was opened giving access to an area on the north side of the canal now known as Claypits Nature Reserve. In days long past, this was where the clay extracted was used to line the canal. In turn coal and other materials transported by barge along the canal were used to power the industrial revolution, which, in turn, transformed the nation.
Another haven for wildlife near Gartnavel Hospital is
Bingham's Pond, or Jury’s Pond as it is probably better known. It can be
reached easily from Great Western Road. Swans, coots and a variety of ducks make the pond their home throughout the year. Temporary visitors include pairs of goosanders, cormorants and grey heron. From the south west corner of the tarmac walkway bordering the pond, a few steps lead to Shelley Road. It's no distance (keep the car park on your left) to find the signpost and start of the Tranquil Trail through mature woodland behind the old Garnavel Hospital buildings. The main entrance to Glasgow's much loved Botanic Garden is on the corner where Great Western Road meets Queen Margaret Drive. As well as formal flower beds there are displays of desert plants and a mini jungle in the glass houses. Well fed grey squirrels can be easily spotted throughout the park. In the arboretum, you may find the rare tree, a Scottish Whitebeam, Sorbus arrenensis which usually can only be found growing in a small part of the Isle of Arran.If you are cycling, you could head west from the Botanic Gardens and follow the River Kelvin upstream to Dawsholm Bridge where a signpost will point the way across the river to Dawsholm Park. From here there are various entrances into the park but you may like to find the new tarred track which has two barriers to negotiate and two sets of stairs(hopefully an easier biking route will be constructed eventually) giving a way down to a pond and seating. There will be ducks on the pond but take time to listen and look for the parakeets! It's probably easier spotting them flying overhead when the trees are bare. Woodpeckers may also be heard rapidly pecking holes in one of the many old trees. If you happen to wander along a leafy Glasgow street when honey bees are swarming you'll soon be aware of their presence. As they leave their original hive in search of a new home there will be thousands in the air, humming and buzzing around before settling on a nearby tree or other site which is usually only a few metres from their original colony. These worker bees then form a cluster, a dense 'ball' of bees protecting the old queen. Meanwhile other bees, 'scouts' are sent out to look for a new home. Each scout will come back and 'dance' to show the other workers on the cluster where they think there is a good location. More bees then leave to check out the potential sites.While the bees are clustered on a tree branch they may look 'dangerous' but having filled up on honey earlier, are actually quite docile. All they want is a suitable new home. However, they will become aggressive if the queen is threatened with sticks or stones. Beekeepers increase their own number of honey producing hives by gathering new swarms.