Broadwood Loch and Orchardton Woods
Broadwood Loch and Orchardton Woods cover a large area of countryside on the western edge of Cumbernauld. Set between industrial estates and the housing areas of Westfield and Blackwood, the reserve represents a valuable area of open greenspace for people to enjoy.
The loch itself forms a haven for large flocks of swans and other waterfowl attracted by the rich supply of pondweeds, insects and fish below the water surface. Other habitats surround the loch: listen for woodpeckers in Orchardton Woods, watch the dragonflies hovering over the bogs and ponds, or the swallows swooping low over the grassland in search of flying insects.
Broadwood Loch was created in 1994 when a dam was built across the Mosswater to alleviate the threat of flooding downstream.
Mosswater Farm stood where Wemyss Drive now stands and Westfield Farm stood near the site of Broadwood Business Park. The surrounding area was mostly fields and bogs with the Mosswater running from Condorrat between these two farms to Twechar and the River Kelvin. With the construction of the A80 bypass, new houses and industrial units and more recently, the stadium and loch, the old fields, bogs and burns have all but gone. It is, however, still possible to see the remnants of the ditches, hedgerows and mature trees that marked boundaries within a much older farming landscape.
There is a footpath around the loch with links to nearby houses. It includes a new path into Orchardton Woods which has added a half mile loop to the loch path. Today it is a popular destination for walking, jogging and dog walking. The path around the loch is nearly two miles long.
All kinds of birds use the loch: swans and mallard dabble in the shallows for pondweed, diving ducks feed below the surface for insects and you may see coots arguing over territories. In the last few years the fish population has developed and now attracts not only human anglers but also fish eating birds like great crested grebes, goosanders and herons.
In the woodlands listen for willow warblers and blue tits, and keep an eye out for the elusive roe deer.