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The New Leaf

Progress and events in the Forest are recorded in a newsletter, The New Leaf, which CSCT publishes three times a year. And as well as news, it also has:

The New Leaf is distributed to a wide range of readers with a professional or volunteer interest in the Forest, hundreds of farmers and landowners, and "Friends of the Forest".

Members of the public may request single copies, subject to availability, but cost restraints mean it can be regularly mailed only to paid-up "Friends of the Forest". (See "Join Us" page for details of the "Friends" scheme.)

You can request a free copy of latest New Leaf on the response form.

Following is a sample feature from The New Leaf.

'Can do' is their
motto in Plains

PLAINS folk don't believe in waiting around for officialdom to do things for them - they get on with it themselves.

As a result, the village has acquired a country park that would be the envy of many larger towns. It includes a play area, ponds, footpaths, environmental art, a wheelchair path, raised flower beds, hedges, grassland and 3000 new trees.

"Since 1993, we've raised 120,000 for park projects from a wide variety of organisations," committee Chairman Dick Cantwell explained. "Local businesses have donated materials or provided them at cost price."

Plains Countryside Park began taking shape when local people discussed what could be done with the old sewage works that now form its focal point. CSCT provided early support, a farmer donated more land, and the Territorial Army built a footbridge. The sustainable transport group Sustrans and Glasgow-based Loci Design turned the sewage tank bases into "Birch Circles", an environmental art piece on the theme of curling ponds.

Local volunteers built paths and a pond-dipping platform, and some Plains youths, supervised by a local building worker, built a pond. The play area was built by the WiseStart training agency and 12 local unemployed people.

People visit from far and wide: "We've had busloads of councillors to see what we've done, and schools are always asking if they can visit for environmental activities," Dick said. People come from Plains, Caldercruix and Clarkston to play, fish, picnic or set off on a cycle ride along Sustrans' Airdrie-Bathgate Railway Path, which runs alongside.

But most satisfying is the fact that through its own efforts, Plains has acquired a first-class recreational facility. "There's a lot of unemployment here," Dick said, "so not many parents can afford to take their children on the bus to other parks, but now they can have a great day out right here in Plains!"

One thing worries the committee, though: "We get loads of volunteers to do the work, and everyone thinks it's a great thing for the village," Dick said, "but we do need more folk on the committee. We can guarantee them plenty of job satisfaction!"

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