The wet basin to the West of Govan Graving Docks was at one time the fitting out basin for the Harland and Wolff shipyard – most of which once stood at what is now Govan Riverside and a housing estate. Only the basin and the adjacent engine shed now remain.
It was only later on that this was incorporated into the Govan Dry Dock complex, which was operated by Clydedock Engineering Ltd until it closed down in 1988.
Since the docks closed down the wooden quay around the basin has rotted and crumbled away while the land around it gradually became overgrown with trees and other vegetation until it was cleared in 2014. It has become home to nesting birds and cormorants, swans and a seal are regular visitors to the basin.
What could we do to bring the basin and the adjoining land back into use?
Perhaps it could be a nature park area with dug out ponds, fenced paths or wooden boardwalks around it and leading down to jetties on the bank.
Could the basin be partially silted to create a tidal lagoon with bird islands and a habitat for the wildlife?
There are many successful examples of urban and post-industrial nature parks in Europe and around the world.
Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park in London was created on a former dockland site:
A park like this on the waterfront close to the centre of Glasgow would attract visitors and would be of huge benefit to the local community in Govan – creating a space for people to relax and for local young people to learn about urban ecology.
There are also very clear health benefits from creating natural environments in urban settings.
Even densely populated Japan manages to address this:
Camley Street Nature Park, London
Created in a former coal yard between the Regent’s Canal and the railway lines into Kings Cross
Jupiter Urban Wildlife Centre, Grangemouth
Created on a former wasteland site
Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve
Created on former salt marsh within the tidal barrage
Can we put Govan on the map of urban nature locations?
Some Relevant Articles and Websites:
National Geographic: How Urban Parks Are Bringing Nature Close to Home
Rotherham Centenary Riverside Urban Nature Park
Urban Nature Parks and Neighborhood Social Health in Portland, Oregon
Sheffield Urban Nature Parks Project
Scotland’s largest urban nature park given £4m lottery grant
Government of Western Australia: Parks and Wildlife
Urban Nature Parks and Individual Health
Oregon State University: Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society
The health benefits of urban nature: how much do we need?
Psychological and mental health benefits from nature and urban greenspace
Ian Douglas / University of Manchester