The four mile stretch of the White Cart Water between Holmwood House and Pollok House is an important wildlife corridor for many plants and animals, including otters, foxes, mink and kingfishers along the route, salmon at the Pollok weir and dippers and goosanders at Linn Park.
The Atlantic salmon is an iconic species, and features on the Coat of Arms of the City of Glasgow. The species was extinct from the freshwater Clyde system for over a century, being extirpated by pollution, habitat degradation and the erection of weirs and other artificial barriers, which prevented adult fish reaching their spawning grounds. The Atlantic salmon which spawns in the White Cart Water catchment migrates to the North Atlantic to feed and grow and the European eel (which lives in the White Cart but breeds in the Sargasso Sea) represent the “migratory” species found in the river. There are fisheries for brown trout/sea trout and salmon in the Pollok Park reach of the White Cart.
Bramble / blackberry (Rubus fruticosus)
There are several different types of Blackberry in Glasgow. It is found in woodlands and along waysides, and provides food and cover for wildlife
Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scriptus)
With its spectacular colourful springtime displays, is a feature of the old woodlands that survive along the riverbanks. Sometime it grows with the garden outcast Spanish Bluebell and hybrids can be found.
Dipper (Cinclus cinclus)
Occurs on fast-flowing streams, though in winter it may be on slower rivers. It is usually seen flying close above the water on fast-beating wings or standing on a rock in a stream before disappearing into the water to search for insect larvae and other small acquatic creatures for food.
Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)
An impressive giant found along the open riverbanks. It provides food for insects in late summer, but should not be touched as its sap can irritate the skin.
Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)
In Glasgow Goldeneye is normally a winter visitor, mostly from Scandinavia. It did not become established as a breeding species in Scotland until the 1970s, initially breeding in nest boxes but its natural nest sites are tree holes.
Goosander (Mergus merganser)
Nests in holes in trees or in the ground and have been known to nest on the White Cart. More usually they are seen, often in small groups, on the river in winter.
Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)
Occurs on clear fast flowing rivers and is usually seen as a flash of blue flying fast or perched on an overhanging branch. It feeds on fish and aquatic insects and nests in holes in the banks of rivers such as the White Cart.
Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica)
Forms dense stands along the riverbanks. Although it is invasive, early growing spring flowers can be found under its canopy, and it provides valuable cover for wildlife.
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
The most common of the dabbling duck seen in pairs or small groups feeding
along the margins of the White Cart water. Females give the typical ‘quack’ associated with ducks in stories.
Mink (Mustela vison)
Mink vary in coloration due to having come originally from animals farmed for fur. Like all members of the Mustelidae family, they are agile predators.
Otters (Lutra lutra)
Otters have been recorded from the White Cart Water. They have thick, fleshy tails and webbed feet and are fast, agile swimmers, mainly feeding on fish. Their presence is usually detected by their droppings which have a distinctive smell and contain fish scales and bones.
Common Pipistrelles (Pipistrellus pipistrellus)
On the wing from after sunset feeding on small insects caught and eaten in flight. They roost in small crevices but females breed in larger colonies. Winter roosts contain bats of both sexes.
Ramsons (Allium ursinum)
With its strong garlic smell and white flower heads forms impressive stands along the lower slopes of the riverbanks in spring.
Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes)
Red foxes are well known and are suited to life in the City as they are so versatile. They are mostly nocturnal, but may also be seen during the day, and feed mainly on rodents, rabbits, beetles, earthworms, eggs, carrion and, particularly in the City, discarded food.
Toothwort (Lathraea squamaria)
A rare parasitic plant that lives on the roots of various trees. It only occurs in Glasgow along the White Cart at both Linn and Pollok Parks. It can easily be seen along the walkway in late April.
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
A diving duck with a distinctive tuft, larger in the male, on the back of the head. It is seen on ponds, in winter sometimes in larger numbers.
Water Avens (Geum rivale)
A member of the rose family found in damp, usually shaded places. Hybrids with the commoner Water Avens can often be seen.
Countryside Ranger Service
Pollok Country Park
2060 Pollokshaws Road
Glasgow G43 1AT
Phone: 0141 276 0924
Glasgow City Council Countryside Rangers provides an educational, interpretation, monitoring and protection service about Glasgow’s wildlife and its environment.
Wild About Glasgow is their Countryside Events programme for the whole city. It includes activities for children, adults and families. Besides the Highland Cattle Show in September and the Family Day in August, there are gardening talks, Clydesdales & Farrier Days, and opportunities to go behind-the-scenes with the cattle.
The Countryside Ranger service in involved with practical conservation works, environmental education, wildlife surveys and working with communities.
It is also involved in the development and implementation of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, which sets out the rights and responsibilities of recreational users given in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act.
Formed in 1983 the service employs 12 main grade and 1 senior ranger, with extra staff employed on a temporary basis during the busy summer months. It operates city-wide covering 74 parks and greenspaces in Glasgow, with bases at Pollok Country Park and Tollcross Park.
Park Ranger Service
Pollok Country Park
2060 Pollokshaws Road
Glasgow G43 1AT
Phone: 0141 636 6920
There are 4 Park Rangers employed at Pollok Country Park to provide a high profile patrol service to ensure the safety and enjoyment of visitors, including traffic management and providing information to the public, notably at the major events. They also liaise with local community groups and others to address any problems.
Strathclyde Police Wildlife Crime Officers
For more information contact
Wildlife Crime Officer Co-ordinator
on 0141 532 6885
Whether it is the digging up of wild plants or the poisoning of birds of prey, the result is a reduction in Scotland’s biodiversity. It is also a crime! Strathclyde Police has specialist Wildlife Crime Officers (WCO) who investigate these sorts of offences. Wildlife Crimes occur as much in our towns and cities as they do in rural areas and the River Cart area is no different.
There are 3 local WCOs;
PC John Walker and PC Gary Turnbull, both stationed at Pollok : tel.532 5600
and PC Derek Whittle based at Giffnock : tel. 532 5700
The most common wildlife crimes reported to us locally are deer poaching and coursing, and badger baiting and sett disturbance. During the Spring and Summer months the most reported crime is the destruction of nests. It is important to remember that ALL birds’ nests are protected by law from the moment the first twig/leaf is put in place.
Remember, Wildlife Crimes are just that… CRIMES! If you see anything suspicious report it to the police in the usual way.
If you come across a dead bird or animal that you believe may have been killed illegally then here are some do’s and don’ts.
- Don’t touch it. It may be a valuable piece of evidence for the police
- Don’t touch it. It may have been poisoned and your own safety is vital
- If possible make a careful note of the location
- If possible take photographs of the scene
- It is always best if there are 2 witnesses – so, if you are with someone, make sure they see what you see
- If you see someone you suspect is involved in committing a wildlife crime, do not intervene as this could be dangerous. Report it to the police as soon as possible.