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Walk around the north of the Ardeer Peninsula

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iain
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Walk around the north of the Ardeer Peninsula

Post by iain » Mon May 07, 2018 6:05 pm

Today, I spent some time walking around the Africa House, Black Powder and Garnock West areas at the north of the Ardeer Peninsula.

I always enjoy walking up the man-made hill just inside the entrance to the old ICI grounds.
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Although artificial, it supports surprisingly interesting habitats, being covered in a patchwork of Heather, Gorse and wildflowers such as Wild Strawberry and Bird’s-foot Trefoil.
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The hill rises 19m above sea level and provides good views of the extensive woodland at the site.
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It’s a 200m walk from the hill over to the woodland that surrounds Africa House.
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Although the building is infamously in need of ‘refurbishment’, its surroundings (and in many ways the building itself) are very attractive and do represent a pleasant spot.
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The wood around Africa House is carpeted in Bluebells, which are just about to burst into bloom.
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The wood is open to the public and all are warmly welcomed.
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Although it does look a bit like a prison, I find McGowan House an attractive building.
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The multipurpose weathercock and lightening rod on top of the building.
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The war memorial and sundial on the green in front of the building.
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Between this area and the black powder wood is a large area of overgrown concrete footprint. This habitat is what ecologists would call ‘open mosaic habitat’: wildflowers, scattered scrub and patches of bare ground.
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The low-growing vegetation here includes a lot of heather and the very low-growing tree, Creeping Willow, which grows to only a few inches in height. Here’s a patch of Creeping Willow growing along an old road. It's just coming into bloom.
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Beyond this is a tangle of Gorse and Willow.
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Approaching the Black Powder Wood, there were some Yellow Meadow Ant nest mounds (dark green in the photo).
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Approaching the wood.
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This road skirts what used to be the edge of the wood. The wood has long since expanded south across the road.
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The wood is an old pine plantation that has been colonised by countless thousands of native broadleaved trees. It’s now the second biggest wood in North Ayrshire (and the biggest one that isn’t a sterile forestry plantation).
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The wood is peppered with small industrial buildings surrounded by sandy blast walls. This blast wall is covered in heather and in August is a magnet for lots of the woodland’s insects.
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Over 20 hectares of sand dunes have been destroyed through commercial to sand extraction. This is one of the newest quarries.
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The biggest sandhill rises about 30m above sea level. Here’s the view from near the top of it, past the old power station down the peninsula.
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The new (c.2009) security fence is much more effective than the old one. I’m guessing that few people have tried to scale it or cut a hole through.
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The road network at Garnock west has largely vanished under Gorse and Broom.
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Despite being a mile inland, there are still bits of dune formation downwind of where open sand has been created by industrial activities. Here, the security fence is inadvertently trapping windblown sand, helping build a new dune.
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There are many ponds and other waterbodies scattered across the site. This overgrown ditch is a nice bit of habitat.
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Coming out of the former ICI grounds, one reaches Ardeer Fen beside Todhill. Here’s a view across the fen to the old Lanarkshire & Ayrshire Railway bridge.
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Meg
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Re: Walk around the north of the Ardeer Peninsula

Post by Meg » Mon May 07, 2018 7:16 pm

Iain, yet again a wonderful walk through the old ICI environment - we have a big birthday coming up next year (20 years)and I really do hope you ‘volunteer’ an evening walking through some of these fascinating (and previously forbidden) landscapes.

Meg

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morag
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Re: Walk around the north of the Ardeer Peninsula

Post by morag » Mon May 07, 2018 7:18 pm

Thanks for these, most of my relatives worked there, looks quite different now!
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C.S.Lewis

iain
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Re: Walk around the north of the Ardeer Peninsula

Post by iain » Mon May 07, 2018 7:28 pm

Sounds good, Meg. Happy to do something like that.

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Meg
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Re: Walk around the north of the Ardeer Peninsula

Post by Meg » Mon May 07, 2018 7:48 pm

iain wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 7:28 pm
Sounds good, Meg. Happy to do something like that.
We’ll be in touch Iain, thanks

Meg

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sweet caroline
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Re: Walk around the north of the Ardeer Peninsula

Post by sweet caroline » Mon May 07, 2018 10:08 pm

lovely to see the fresh greenery and wild flowers .A few of my sisters worked around there.

SC
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Re: Walk around the north of the Ardeer Peninsula

Post by Vivc113 » Tue May 08, 2018 7:23 am

Great pix. Cannot stop laughing at the "All are warmly welcomed" complete with "No Entry" sign.
"Words are very.... unnecessary... they can only do harm".

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sweet caroline
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Re: Walk around the north of the Ardeer Peninsula

Post by sweet caroline » Tue May 08, 2018 10:22 am

Vivc113 wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:23 am
Great pix. Cannot stop laughing at the "All are warmly welcomed" complete with "No Entry" sign.
Were is the "All are warmly welcomed" sign missed that picture .

SC
“He that has no fools, knaves, nor beggars in his family, was begot by a flash of lightning.” Thomas Fuller

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bobnetau
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Re: Walk around the north of the Ardeer Peninsula

Post by bobnetau » Tue May 08, 2018 11:57 am

sweet caroline wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 10:22 am
Vivc113 wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 7:23 am
Great pix. Cannot stop laughing at the "All are warmly welcomed" complete with "No Entry" sign.
Were is the "All are warmly welcomed" sign missed that picture .

SC
The photo with the No Entry sign has that writing above it.

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Sarah
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Re: Walk around the north of the Ardeer Peninsula

Post by Sarah » Fri May 11, 2018 2:16 am

That was interesting Iain, I spent 11years in the fusehead dept and that was as far as I saw of Ardeer,
from the fusehead to the front gate to the bus, seen more of it on the 3ts...

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Re: Walk around the north of the Ardeer Peninsula

Post by michaelm » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:25 pm

Great looking photo's there Iain.
One and a half feet in the grave.

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