Fernbrae Meadows: the creation of a new urban park

Scottish Natural Heritage
Published: 15 October 2020
Last edited: 15 October 2020
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The site was a former private golf course, out of use since 2015 and is now operated by South Lanarkshire Council. The land was vacant and derelict, and safety concerns were raised due to vandalism, fly-tipping, vehicle abandonment and fires. The conversion of the site into a new urban park presented an opportunity to address such anti-social behaviour and create a desirable area for positive activities and community development. South Lanarkshire Council provided the match funding for the project and applied for additional funding from the Green Infrastructure Strategic Intervention, which was granted in 2017. A ‘friends of’ group was established during the implementation period of the project and became involved in community engagement as well as the on-going management and maintenance of the new park. 


Key aims

  • Increase social inclusion
  • Preserve and protect greenspace
  • Improve habitat and increase biodiversity


North Europe
Scale of implementation
Green spaces (parks, gardens, urban forests)
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Biodiversity mainstreaming
Cities and infrastructure
Habitat fragmentation and degradation
Health and human wellbeing
Peace and human security
Increasing temperatures
Loss of Biodiversity
Ecosystem loss
Invasive species
Pollution (incl. eutrophication and litter)
Social conflict and civil unrest
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 4 – Quality education
SDG 5 – Gender equality
SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased


Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom


The main challenge faced by project managers was in balancing the needs of different communities surrounding the park. The communities north of the park are among the most deprived in Scotland; their needs are based on health and well-being, access to the park and preventing vandalism. The area to the southeast of the park comprises private, 4-5 bedroom houses. This community is less involved with the park and has raised concerns about park benches overlooking their homes. Balancing the needs of both communities is proving to be an ongoing challenge as the park becomes increasingly popular.


The unprecedented popularity of the park has also led to litter issues and the council has had to order more litter bins.


As a result of tidying up drainage routes, water is now draining faster from the site, which has led to the need to create two new sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) ponds to relieve pressure from the mains.


Communities surrounding the park. 

How do the building blocks interact?

The Friends of Fernbrae Meadows group will manage and maintain the site of the new park, which will empower the community and provide multiple benefits. The public ownership of the site has facilitated this. 



The project will benefit the environment by creating 20 acres of local nature reserve, 9140 square metres of woodland and over 10,000 square metres of wildflower meadows. Tree planting will improve the biodiversity of the site, as well as sequestering Carbon and uptake of pollutants (NO2, O3, PM2.5, SO2). Trees also have the ability to reduce surface water run-off and prevent local flooding. Approximately 1400 square metres of wetlands will also be created, contributing to flood risk reduction and biodiversity. The wildflower meadows are planted with native species, which will enhance the biodiversity of the park and attract new species.



Fernbrae Meadows aims to improve local resident’s perceptions of their greenspace and a survey carried out in 2018 gathered important baseline information on this. Key results from the survey are below:

  • The top three reasons for visiting are 1) fresh air 2) exercising a dog and 3) enjoying scenery and wildlife
  • 40% of visitors spent more than one hour at the park
  • Around 80% agreed that the park is an attractive place to exercise, de-stress and feel connected to nature.
  • 70% agreed or strongly agreed that the people who manage the park care about the local community

Events in the space are focussed on health and well-being, outdoor learning and environmental management and increase community cohesion and connect people with nature.



Scottish Natural Heritage

I met Karen (Fernbrae Meadow's Park Ranger) through her own company Wildly Wise where I joined some of here events and my children also attended quite a few. Subsequently, we kept running into each other on the greenspace and I started volunteering for some of the events she was holding. We started to talk about the project and she asked me if I would want to join the friends group. I was more than happy to do that and we have been working closely together since. Karen has provided me with many opportunities to get involved and also to attend training sessions. I have done a batwalk leader training with the rangers and I have been invited to the Eden Project in Cornwall for a Community training camp for people involved in community projects which is really exciting.


I have been using the greeenspace for the last few years a lot as I walk my dogs there and also spend some time their observing wildlife and just to enjoy nature. I like walking and photography so it is a great space right at my door step. I enjoy being part of the friends group as I get to meet a lot of likeminded people and I feel like I can contribute to making a difference in the area by organising events and learning more about the wildlife in the park. I was really happy when I found out it wouldn't just be another building site for houses as there is so much wildlife there and quite a few people are using the space for their walks with dogs as well as horses at times.


The greenspace means a lot to me as I live very close by and I am glad that it will be preserved for us to use. I have two children and they love the outdoors and it is great that they have a space in walking distance where they can run around, learn, join events, explore and just be children. I am also very passionate about growing fruit and veg and when I heard that there will be a community garden and possibly allotments I was super excited. I have been on the allotment waiting list for the South Lanarkshire area for over 10 years by now and I believe there is a lot of demand for growing spaces. We have established links with other friends groups which I believe is important. I believe the health walks will be a great benefit to the community as well.


Nicole Digruber

Contributed by

Elana Bader Scottish Natural Heritage