Enjoy learning about the many species of tree species that live along the river near the path in as you walk around Riverside with us.
In Riverside we are lucky to have many trees. We all get to notice the more showy trees such as the flowering cherries along the river path. This guide aims to help you to get to know and enjoy all our trees. It follows the river from Lovers Walk to the Bowling Club and then to the footbridge to Cambuskenneth. A final, separate stage follows the path from Riverside Quay along the river into Forthside.
The walk starts where the railway bridges cross Lovers Walk. Head towards Riverside. The first tree on the riverbank is a small willow. This is followed by two of the many ash trees on the riverbank. Both have ivy growing up their trunks.
Ash leaves in the rain
Ash is a member of the same family as the olive tree. When fully grown, ash trees can reach a height of 35m and can live for 400 years. Currently one of the most common trees, it is now being affected by ash dieback disease and may become rare. There are two very large ash trees beside Riverside Quay and you will see them later on this walk.
Ash wood is one of the toughest hardwoods and it absorbs shocks without splintering. It is used for making tool handles as well as hockey sticks and oars.
Ash trees are a good habitat for many different species. Ash trees allow sunlight to reach the ground beneath encouraging plants and a range of insects to flourish.
An ash tree produces many seeds, known as ash keys, which disperse in the wind.
Ash keys are enjoyed by finches. The leaves are an important food plant for the caterpillars of many species of moth. Older trees are useful nest sites.
Ash tree near Riverside Quay
Oak, Beech and Hawthorn tree on Lovers Walk
Across the road from the ashes on the riverbank there are some trees on the bank in front of Forth View. There are large oak, beech and lime trees but the first is the more modest hawthorn.
As you walk down the road towards the pontoon you will follow a stone wall, behind this is our Act of Restorative Kindness, a haven where our native plants and wildlife can thrive.
It is a place that we leave undisturbed for natural processes to happen. Space for wildlife is disappearing but, over time, this ARK will become a safe place for pollinators and other creatures to find food and shelter.
What can you spot living in this untouched sanctuary?
As you carry on down Shore Road you reach the Old Harbour and the new pontoon. As an effort to return greenery and diversity this area Stirling Council planted three cherry blossoms in early 2020.
This is a favourite place for swans to visit, hares are often spotted in the spring in the field opposite and deer are regularly found grazing along the riverbank.
Continue from the Old Harbour along Abbey Road. One area of Riverside that Riverside Naturally is keen to change is the lack of trees on our streets. Trees on our streets are important for a number of reasons including encouraging pollinators and other vital wildlife into greyer areas. The aesthetic benefit can result in a rise in house prices, reduced flooding, reduced pollution and streets trees have been credited with traffic calming too.
The Woodland Trust feels very strongly about this and have a Street Trees Project if you'd like to find out more.
At the bottom of Abbey Road on to Riverside Drive the stump of a *tree type* can be seen. Due to a fungal infection the tree needed to be removed and is now a great example of how life evolves and other species like lichens, wildflowers and moss thrive in the remains.
It is also a haven for various mini-beasts who enjoy living in and feasting on the dark sheltered centre of the old tree.
Behind the stump to the left, in the centre of the grass, there is a young willow tree planted as a replacement, which will soon match in glory to the others across the river.
After the bridge over to Cambuskeneth, we were very pleased to plant the replacement red oak sapling early in 2020. The removal of the glorious ancient red oak inspired Riverside Naturally into action. The new oak also marks the start of the stunning walk along the river, which during the spring is lined by blooming ancient cherry blossom trees.
This space has been left alone for many years with only basic maintenance and herbicides to tame the weeds this area would make an ideal place for Riverside Naturally to adopt and showcase some ideas for bringing biodiversity to your own garden.
Continuing your walk along you can see the stunning views of the Wallace Monument and the Ochils. You can often see hares, families of Roe deer, Herron, and regularly in the spring on 2020 an otter who has made the banks of the Forth his territory.
The Woodland Garden is one of our current projects and alongside Stirling Council work is underway to improve this space along the river path.
We have designed a beautiful woodland garden with new native trees and over 20 native species of plants and flowers which will give this neglected space colour and vibrancy all year round.
Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus work has been postponed until further notice, get more details here.
The end of our walk culminates at the Riverside Community Orchard. This orchard was established in 2012 and has grown in strength and beauty year after year with the care and dedication of volunteers. There are now 29 fruit trees thriving in this space. You could become part of the team - no experience is necessary and all are very welcome.
Planned for the spring of 2020, though sadly postponed due to the coronavirus, we are planning to extend the orchard and plant a low growing wildflower meadow adjacent to it. This will have approximately 20 native wildflower species and will bring diversity and further beauty to this space, For more information and to sponsor a square of the meadow click here.
We hope you have enjoyed your walk with us. If you would like a guide to take with you on your walk download one here.
We would love to see your pictures of Riverside and your walks around this glorious area. If you have any questions, comments or would like to join Riverside Naturally, please get in touch: