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Gartcosh Nature Reserve was established to protect the biggest colony of great crested newts in Scotland. The reserve is also home to palmate and smooth newts, frogs, toads and a whole host of other pondlife including a variety of dragonflies and damselflies. Over 20 ponds are set in pastures full of wildflowers, and areas of woodland.
The nature reserve now provides a peaceful place to walk and enjoy some wildlife spotting. Try catching a glimpse of roe deer grazing or, if you are very lucky, you may see newts foraging for insects on the paths on warm summer evenings.
To see it today it is hard to believe it has had such an industrial past. Until the mid-1800s the area was very much agricultural, with Woodneuk House and Hayhill Farm. In 1865, Woodneuk Iron Works was constructed by William Gray & Co and the many years of heavy industry in the area began. The site was then owned by Smith and McLeans and eventually British Steel ;by this time it was known as Gartcosh Steel Works.
The steel works finally closed in February 1986. Since then the area has undergone a process of habitat enhancement to provide a permanent home for the newts. Gartcosh Nature Reserve was formally established in 2007. As a result, the newts can enjoy a long and safe future. Local people too have something for the future - a network of paths in a picturesque setting which will continue the link between Gartcosh and Glenboig villages, originally forged by the steel works.
The reserve lies within easy walking distance of both Gartcosh and Glenboig and links both villages by a network of footpaths, one of which is the popular Ducks Walk. There is also a well-lit cycleway through the reserve and runs from Glenboig to Gartcosh Railway Station.
Gartcosh may be recognised for its nationally important newt population, however it is also home to a wealth of other wildlife. Breeding birds include raven and reed bunting, sparrowhawk and stonechat. In summer you will find yourself walking through fields of wildflowers like ragged robin and common spotted orchids, as well as less commonly found species such as lesser bur-reed, greater spearwort and round fruited rush.