THE SALTINGS LOCAL NATURE RESERVE, below the Erskine Bridge, Old Kilpatrick, G60 5EU
ACCESS : Accessible to all walkers. Access is from Erskine Ferry Road.
///attention.punk.kickers Vehicle entrance and parking.
This is a pleasant walk in the shadow of Erskine Bridge on an area wedged between the Clyde and the Forth and Clyde Canal. The bridge may loom above you, but in some ways, this adds a sense of uniqueness rather than detracts from it.
The council website tells us : The building of the Erskine Bridge in the late 1960's changed the habitat of the Saltings. Poor quality marshy farmland was filled in with rubble to carry the foundations of the bridge. Much of the plant life of the time was destroyed but nature has recolonised the site and new habitat types have been formed on the site. There are areas of wildflower meadow, woodland and saltmarsh. [WDC].
The well laid out path is level and passes through this surprisingly varied habitat. Some sections remain low and prone to flooding; the old reed beds coping well with the salinity of the tides of the Clyde. This of course gives the area its name : the Saltings. Some secondary water courses, both natural and man-made, drain the Saltings.
The columns of the Erskine Bridge look startlingly spindly, but this is an optical illusion of the profile.
An information sign greets you on approach and some artworks add to the experience. When you visit the Saltings you will most likely do a loop that takes in part of the Canal towpath. In doing so you may notice what today looks simply like a drainage ditch. In fact this an original railway route, much infilled with vegetation, soil and rubbish. You can still see the bridge over it and some of the platform.
The lock on the Canal.
This is the abandoned railway cutting and siding with the bridge over it.
WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE COUNCIL website : https://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/leisure-parks-events/parks-and-greenspaces/nature-reserve/
WEST DUNBARTONSHIRE HERITAGE TRAIL : OLD KILPATRICK, BOWLING AND MILTON : https://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/media/2619074/ok_booklet.pdf
COUNTRY RANGER SERVICE : West Dunbartonshire Council : https://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/media/1029292/saltings_leaflet.pdf