T he Penny Project

The Penny Project

or Northburn Community Park

Background Information

The Penny Project was set up to create and manage Northburn Community Park , on a local greenbelt site, between Airdrie & Coatbridge, known as "The Moss".
"The Moss" is a small bowl shaped valley that is straddled by the towns of Airdrie and Coatbridge in the North Lanarkshire area of Central Scotland. It is overlooked by four major residential areas and an industrial estate.
During the last 200 years the site has been enjoyed by local people, visited by witches and warlocks (see Legend of Maggie Ramsay ) and has been ravaged by Coal Mining, Railways, Quarries, Steel Works, Brick Works ....

These industries have long since gone ( we are not sure about the witches - they may still be there?) and in 1984 the area was landscaped, embankments were lowered, paths were created or improved, bridges were built, disused quarries were filled. Some 16,000 trees and bushes were planted. Its maturing landscape is now framed by woodlands surrounding meadows, peatland and marshy areas.
It has a well-used network of paths linking the wooded areas, the green spaces, the burns and the two towns of Airdrie and Coatbridge. The proposed Countryside Park extends to over 200 acres of grassland, mixed with scrub, marsh, raised bog, woodlands and hedges. It provides a wide range of habitats varying from the natural to the man made.


The Community Park falls within the area of the Airdrie Woodlands initiative. Representatives of the Penny Project were invited by the Central Scotland Countryside Trust to participate at the official launch of the Airdrie Woodlands.  They exhibited the story and pictures of the Penny Project.  Later they were presented to H.R.H. Princess Anne who showed quite an interest in the Project.

The Project is supported by various conservation organisations including: The Central Scotland Countryside Trust, The Scottish Wildlife Trust, Department of Leisure Services of North Lanarkshire Council and Scottish Natural Heritage.

The Committee is presently seeking funding to develop the Park and to employ a team who will design, implement and manage the Park in future years. They will have the task of deciding what goes where and of determining how much finance is necessary.

Woodlands Improvement Grant
As part of the Airdrie Forest initiative the committee have managed to obtain a Woodland Improvement Grant from the Forestry Commission. This grant allowed us to make use of the services of the Central Scotland Countryside Trust to manage and improve the existing woodlands. Around 20,000 young trees were planted and a series of works is to be carried out to improve the appearance of the site. In addition, to ensure continued value of the site to the public, work is to be carried out on the footpaths, signage (walkers welcome) provided to encourage use.
The trees at the site of the old Northburn Steelworks and adjacent to the old railway track - have recently been thinned out to allow more access to people walking in the area.   The paths are now being upgraded and re-laid.

The aim of the project to develop Northburn Community Park into a more valuable resource available to the community. The new planting wouldl increase the overall wooded feel of the site. The entrance points to the site would be upgraded by vehicle exclusion measures to prevent dumping.
The way marking of entrance points and the cutting back of vegetation are aimed to provide a greater sense of security to the user. Derelict fence lines will be removed and litter will be removed on a regular basis.

The area has already been ploughed and the tree planting was launched in May by Glen Rudman of the CSCT with pupils from St Andrews Primary in Airdrie.

The wildlife meadow, shaped as The Eyes, was restored last autumn by the CSCT.   They organised a "Plug Day" in which members of the public helped to plant wildflower plugs on the site.  These are being used to compliment any annual seeds.

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