PINE martens have been recorded living just 12 miles from Glasgow thanks to a community landscape partnership that has improved more than 2.6 million square metres of natural habitat.

Cumbernauld Living Landscape, the group behind the project, has been praised by the Scottish Land Commission as part of its MyLand.Scot campaign, which raises awareness of the role and benefits positive land transformation can play in everyday life in Scotland.

In collaboration with local community groups, the partners of Cumbernauld Living Landscape (CLL) are in the process of habitat and access work at nine nature reserves within Cumbernauld – helping to improve biodiversity in the area.

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While the project has been under way, species such as pine martens and red kites have started to re-appear in the area. “With pine martens come more wildlife,” CLL said. “Their existence could naturally reduce the population of grey squirrels, which can damage native trees and reduce woodland bird numbers, and even possibly paving the way for the endangered red squirrel to grow in numbers.”

CLL works to improve accessibility to green spaces, to connect young people to nature and to share with people the health and wellbeing benefits the outdoors can bring. The Scottish Wildlife Trust is CLL’s lead partner. Its aim is to improve the environment for people and wildlife.

The group is just one of the inspirational community success stories featured in the Scottish Land Commission’s MyLand.Scot campaign – an initiative that aims to raise awareness of the role and benefits land can play in everyday life in Scotland.

Jennifer McNulty, project manager at CLL, said: “The team and I could not be happier with the results of the restoration project so far. It’s great that the people who live in and visit Cumbernauld have native Scottish wildlife on their doorstep.

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“We’re helping to turn Cumbernauld into a green network for wildlife, a place where species can move around the town and beyond using the green corridors of woodland, wetlands and grasslands the project is developing.”

In addition to the restoration project, the CLL team has been running “Nature Ninja” sessions with local volunteers, giving them the skills and knowledge they need to get involved with the land around them and maintain vital habitats into the future.

Before starting the project, the partnership held a public consultation to ensure the community was engaged with activity on the land from the outset.

Hamish Trench, chief executive of the Scottish Land Commission, said: “The way we own and use land influences many parts of our everyday lives. From the price and availability of housing, access to greenspace, the effects of derelict sites in the heart of our communities, our ability to tackle climate action; to giving people the means and confidence to build businesses and communities.”