Explorers welcome at the new Water Works

Barrhead High pupils have helped to sculpt the Water Works landscape - pic by Stuart Nimmo.
Barrhead High pupils have helped to sculpt the Water Works landscape - pic by Stuart Nimmo.

Outdoor enthusiasts have a new East Renfrewshire park to explore, as a former sewage works site is transformed into a community green space.

The Water Works project — based at the site of the former Shanks and Spillers factories in Barrhead — was unveiled on Friday, with 10,000 square metres of garden open to the public thanks to a £120,000 Big Lottery grant.

Representatives from Grow Wild, Big Lottery Fund, greenspace scotland and East Renfrewshire Council were joined by Barrhead High pupils, members of the Coach House Trust and Youth Enterprise Scotland on site to celebrate the opening of the garden.

Councillor Vincent Waters, ERC environment convener, said: “This project has been a true collaborative community effort.

“Every flower and plant has been grown from seed by someone in our community, whether it’s a school pupil, youth group member or one of the toddlers from the East Ren baby friends group.

“This is a site that has been developed for the community, by the community, and it shows what can be achieved when we work together.

“Opening the site up to the wider community is the next step. We want them to see it as their space, where they can walk their dogs, exercise, play with friends and family and even get involved in some gardening on site.”

Over 200 people worked for six months to clear the space, removing 6,000 bin bags of waste and replacing it with over 500 tonnes of soil, 16,000 wild flower plants and more than 350 metres of pathway.

The green space now includes Scotland’s largest flower pots, made from three 700 square metre sewage tanks now being used as wild flower planters — as well as a nod to the site’s previous inhabitants, with a vintage Shanks bath used to grow more flowers.

Julie Procter, chief executive of greenspace scotland, commented: “Strolling round the Water Works is a reminder of how green spaces really are our natural health service.”