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Shielhill Glen Nature Trail

Start/Finish: Greenock Cut Visitor Centre

OS Map: Landranger 63

Grid Reference: NS 227 738

Grade: Moderate

Distance: 2.5k, 1.5 miles

Time: 1 hour

Terrain: Mixture of level gravel paths, steps and wooden board walk with steps over the moorland.

Route Overview: Combine a little bit of the Greenock and Kelly Cuts, woodland glen and board walk with fine views of the Cowal peninsula and the Firth of Clyde. Steps involved!

The Route: From the car park cross the road to the start of the Greenock Cut, follow the signs going along the Greenock Cut. Go through the gate and downhill passing the site of the 2nd World War Light Emplacement – this is now an attractive picnic site with lovely views over the Clyde. Follow the trail downhill through the native trees along the Kip Water.

The Glen is a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of the variety of deciduous trees such as Silver Birch, Oak, Ash and Rowan, 150 years ago there was a sandstone quarry lower down the Glen that was used to build many of the houses in the West End of Greenock.

At the bottom of the glen go through the gate and onto the boardwalk, at the corner beside the stone wall look out for lizards basking in the sunshine. The trail takes you up lots of steps, look out for wild thyme growing in the sandy soil. At the top turn left, along the Kelly Cut (built in 1845 to supply Loch Thom with more water) to return to the start at the Greenock Cut Visitor Centre.

Wildlife: In summer common lizards bask on rocks, golden ringed dragonfly patrol the waterways, green tiger beetles chase their prey and parent birds rush to feed their young. Look out for birds of prey – hen harriers patrol the moorland or ospreys hunting for fish in the reservoirs.

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