The Friends of Victoria Park have welcomed moves by Glasgow City Council to begin clearing work that will enable the rock gardens and cliffs around the Fossil Grove to be rejuvenated.
The rock garden and pond area have been neglected for some years due to ongoing budget cuts and are in a deteriorating condition. However money has now been allocated for a contract to start the clearing work.
Chair of the Friends of Victoria Park Richard East explains: We have been in discussions with the Council’s Land Services for some time about how we can improve the gardens around the Fossil Grove. We are now seeking funds to restore the pond and establish a fernery. Ferns will be easier to maintain than formal gardens and reflect the fact that the stone ‘tree trunks’ were themselves were originally tree ferns.”
After an ecological survey is completed, the Friends aim to restore the original pond which will be lined in clay, reinstate the water feed and rebuild the rustic bridge shown in the old postcard above which was a much loved feature of the grove. Quotes have already been received for this work.
But before any progress can be made, a lot of vegetation needs to be cleared from the site. This includes weeds and bushes that are now masking the rock faces of the quarry and causing deterioration in the rock faces. This will open up the area and allow the different rock strata to be seen. Organic material removed from the site will be mulched and carefully spread on the blaes pitches area.
This phase of the work is being undertaken by specialist contractors and will start on 26 September. It is scheduled to last four weeks with some ongoing maintenance over the next two years. The Grove will look worse for a while until projects to revive the pond and estabish the fernery are well underway.
Richard explains: “We appreciate that some visitors to the site may be concerned to see so much clearing taking place but it is becoming totally overgrown. The Friends have worked with the Glasgow Geology Group to do some clearing on a voluntary basis, but this new contract which was well received recently by the Victoria Park Placemaking Group will enable a great deal more to be done and we are very pleased that this first step towards improving the gardens around the Fossil Grove is now underway.”
This weekend you can find out all about Victoria Park including its construction, the 19th Century benefactors who helped make it happen, the memorial to the SS Daphne and the beautiful War Memorial erected after WW1. For ninety minute heritage walks will leave from the Jubilee Gates on Victoria Park Drive North at 2pm on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September.
The walks are guided by Friends of Victoria Park as part of Doors Open Day and are free of charge and there is no need to book so please come along.
From 10am to 4pm each day you can also visit the lovely little Partick Curling Pavillion in the park, a beautiful arts and crafts building which houses a collection of old curling stones and has the old curling rink alongside. This area of the park is not usually open to the public but you can enter from Victoria Park Drive North along at the depot area next Saturday and Sunday, 16 and 17 September. Children can participate in curling without ice!
Meanwhile down at the Fossil Grove area, there will be geologists on hand to explain the fossils and the significance of grove and its rocks on Saturday 16th from 10am to 4pm. There will be activities for children at the Fossil Grove too. (The Fossil Grove is generally open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 noon to 4pm until 22 October when it closes for the winter.)
And some advance notice for your diary! On Sunday 8 October the Scottish Geoheritage Festival will take place at the Fossil Grove from 12noon to 4pm.
Our next volunteer day at Victoria Park is on Saturday 9th September at 11am when we need you to come and help us do some late summer tidying.
There is usually a range of tasks, from litter picking to clearing vegetation and weeding.
Wear strong shoes or walking boots to protect your feet and dress for the weather. Gardening gloves can also be useful.
Children are very welcome as long as they come with an adult.
Meet our Chair Richard East between the big pond at the play park at 11am to collect tabards and equipment and agree what what we're going to tackle that day. We will work for a couple of hours but feel free to leave when you need to. It's amazing how much we can get done in a short time!