A community group is celebrating this week after scooping a £100,000 lottery windfall to help regenerate a neglected Braes beauty spot.
Westquarter Wildlife Group (WWG) has been handed £107,553 from the Big Lottery’s Community Spaces programme and will use the cash to continue its work sprucing up Westquarter Glen.
Chairperson of the group, Fiona Wilson, said: “The grant will allow Westquarter Wildlife Group to make tremendous improvements to a greatly neglected local landmark, and in doing so leave a legacy that will be a safe and educational place for people to play, grow and explore for many years to come.”
The group is in the process of transforming the glen, which has a waterfall, into an accessible, safe and attractive green space for recreational, environmental and educational purposes.
The project will also create training and employment opportunities for members of the local community and the grant will fund the overhaul of the path network, the overhaul of the bridges, the clearing of invasive species, new signage, improved public access and linking with existing path networks.
However, during the ongoing works in partnership with Falkirk Council, wishing wells near the waterfall have been fenced off for health and safety reasons to prevent people from walking over the cliff.
While the area has been made more attractive and more accesible, local historian Joe Anderson (80), who wrote ‘Westquarter Memories’, is unhappy about the cordon.
He said: “There are actually two wishing wells in the glen and it’s a real shame you can’t access them now. It would be better to open them up again rather than close them off completely.”
Opening access to the wells has not been ruled out, although funding would have to be found.
Amanda Cameron, wildlife group secretary, said they would be happy to hear comments from the local community.
She added: “I think the safety of the public was in doubt and it is better to be safe than sorry, but we can look at finding a way to open up access.
“We’d be delighted to hear from Mr Anderson and gain some information from him and hear his, and other people’s views, on how to develop the glen. This is a project for the whole community.”
A council spokesman said: “The old path to the wishing well is in very poor repair and would require substantial further work if the community decides that it should be reinstated. If this happens it would be easy to create a gap in the fence.”
WWG meets every Thursday in Westquarter’s Community Cafe from 10 – 11.30 a.m. for anyone who wishes to get involved.