Introduction

In the text, there are many questions: IF you know the answers, please let us know - email gents@linnpark.org.uk.

We were given this lovely booklet, which dates from the 1960's, by Stuart Nisbet. It needs a bit of updating for the following reasons.

  • The Trail Posts were taken over by STAG, and renumbered.
  • The Mansion House is no longer home to the Park Rangers and their Information Centre
  • Much of the park has now been effectively blocked off by fencing or undergrowth - especially on the river banks.

Introduction to the Guide

About the Nature Trail Guide Book

The booklet has been scanned in so that you can read it in its original form. It was designed to be read over the course of a year, so there is one section for each season, namely:

  • Spring [including the title page, and guide to use],
  • Summer,
  • Autumn, and
  • Winter [including the end pages]

The intention of the booklet is to draw attention - when walking from post to post - to natural features in the plant and animal kingdom, as well as mentioning historical associations which might otherwise remain un-noticed. It is suitable for any age - from toddlers and school children under supervision, social and youth organisations, to adults keenly aware of the need to learn more about living nature.

The use of technical terms has purposely been avoided.

In the text below, we hope we have used a word like "Six" to describe a post number, and that a numeral like "6" is used to describe its new number after STAG took the posts over.

How to use the Trail and this guide.

First of all, click to print out the map showing the trail markers - which shows the original post numbers as well as the STAG numbers.

Print

Although the booklet advises that Teachers and Party Leaders should aquaint themselves with the trail in advance by arrangement with the Resident Superintendent, The Linn Park, Cathcart, Glasgow, S4, Tel: MERrylee 3096 - there is regrettably now no-one to contact.

The booklet ws printed with a section for each Season and a subsection for each Post. That is shown first, but then we show what is at each Post for each Season. The guide suggests that at post ten there is an option to return directly to the Information Centre, or to proceed round the top wood. We have removed this as the Information Centre is no longer.

All references to the trapping of small animals and bugs have been deleted from the seasonal texts, e.g. for Post 13. The traps were "Longworth" traps. Pitfall traps for beetles etc etc were probably home made.

Choose a Season and find out what is at each Post

Spring

Introduction

This is the Spring Trail; this is a time of rapid change. You will notice the great change from winter conditions. They are harder to notice, smaller changes going on all the time.

For example, some flowers appear early and last a short time, others appear later when the first flowers have gone.

Trees come into leaf at different times. Birds arrive and take up residence in the Park, one kind after another.

So you may not see all the things written about in this booklet, but you will discover other things yourself. Remember that only those who are told can pick flowers.

Post One [STAG Post 2]

Starting Point to Post One

Walking down to Post One [Stag Post 2] you will see many wild flowers such as Bluebell, Primroses, Celandine, and Wood Sorrel. The Daffodils around Linn House have been naturalised," that is planted and left alone. One little plant grows under the Rhododendrons in abundance, it has two strap-like leaves.

Count how many there are in a square foot, this book open is about half that size. Many sycamore keys are found in the same places. Look at the drawing of the sycamore leaf, if you don't already know it.

These little plants are sycamore seedlings, the majority will not grow into trees. Have you any idea why not ?

Primrose flowers are of two types. Can you spot the difference ? Count how many of each type there are in a small area.

Bumble bees are seen here flying low and fairly slowly. You may see them stick their tongues into the Primrose and Rhododendron flowers looking for nectar.

Go on now to Post One [Stag Post 2]. Wood pigeons will fly off" with a clatter and give you a fright. This is the nesting season.

Above [left - and to the right what seems like a collection of bones from with these pellets] is an owl pellet as you may find it, with the contents teased out and arranged. The pellet contains bones and fur of shrews, voles and mice which the owl cannot digest. You are not likely to see any of these animals running about as they are nocturnal animals, and if you are quiet you wil l hear the pigeons cooing.

Look at the centre of the Pine wood, then at the edges. Do you see any difference ? Light is needed by plants. Where is there least light ? Mushrooms do not need light and you may find them i n the shady centre of the wood. Leave them growing as they are to develop spores. Find out the depth of the carpet of pine needles. How long did this carpet take to build up ?

Before you go to Post Two [STAG Post 9, and you will have to take a slightly different route] have a look at the lightning struck Pine Tree. A clear sticky liquid can be seen oozing out. Smell it. It is sticky. Resin is used for making varnish, for the bow of a violin, and boxers rub their boots in it to stop them slipping. Now go through the wood and look out for. Rabbit scrapes. Birds' feathers. Owl pellets of little grey bundles of fur and bones. The Owl's diet here seems to be mainly of shrews.

Post Two [STAG Post 9]

At Post Two [STAG Post 9] you will see a tree with a hole in it. How do you think this happened?

Added Comment: The post is behind the new fence, and difficult to see as it is quite far down what used to be a path to the river bank, so to find the tree where the wood pecker has been is nigh on impossible.

The trees on the riverside path are beginning to come into leaf. Not all trees do so at the same time. Take a note of the trees in leaf, those not in leaf, and those in flower.

Look back at the Scots Pines and you will see the cones. A short distance along the path there is an oak and an ash. Which is in leaf?

Spring time is a time of rapid change - even in a week " lifeless " trees may burst into leaf. The idea you should have is that of change from Winter to Spring.

Count the number of birds you can see as you walk along the path to Post Three [STAG Post 10].

Many more birds are about now, compared with the number in Winter.

Post Three [STAG Post 10]

The trees on the left have an unusual bark. Touch the bark. Would you say it is soft and papery ? The tree, a Cupressus is protected by many layers of thin bark, whilst most trees have one layer of thick bark. The bright red colour is unusual too.

Starlings are often seen here. Many thousands roost in the city centre. Why do they do this ? Watch how they behave. They walk, stop, drive their sharp beaks into the grass.

What do you think they are searching for ? Think of the many thousand starlings in the city. Does this make you wonder how many insects they will eat in one year ?

Do you think starlings are helpful to man -

  • in the countryside ?
  • in the city centre ?

This is a Starling [More bird pictures in the Wild Life, Wild Birds section of this web site]

The beech trees on the left [on the steep bank to the river] are very tall. Can you guess how high they are ? Jot down your guess. Later you will be shown how to estimate tree height. You may have tripped over tree roots on the path.

  • Why does a tree have roots ?
  • Where has the earth gone which at one time covered these roots.
  • Could you measure how much earth has gone ?
  • Did you know that roughly speaking the spread of roots underground is the same as the spread of leaves overhead ?

Post Four [No Post]

Added Comment: Post Four was removed. As you pass the end of the high security green fence [???] after a few yards turn left down the old path, and thence to the river.

Look towards the castle and you will see many trees in flower. These are Wild Cherry or Gean Trees. Have a closer look at them later.

Turn left and go down to river bank. Look at the tree's nests as you go down. Go down on to the sand bank.

There is a little cliff" which you can study with the aid of the drawing. The sandstone has worn away to make sand. When you get to the quarry remember this drawing.

Wild strawberries are found here. Do you see how small they are compared with garden strawberries.


Although the Kingfisher lives here it is unlikely you will see it. But it is such an attractive bird it is worth looking for. There are lots of pictures on the River Birds page under Wild Life.

Post Five [STAG Post 12]

Added Comment: Post Five [STAG Post 12] when this was written was beside the channel which fed the Water Wheel at the Snuff Mill. It is why the Bridge has two arches: one for the river and a smaller on forthe discharge from the wheel. Not only that but the weir had not collapsed either. See Some Postcards, and the one called Beside the river below the castle..

As you walk along you may see Mallards, the drake is brightly coloured, the duck is drab. They may have ducklings.

Look out for the many flies on the water surface. Birds are always busy collecting these flies.

In the river are eels, stickleback [above left], loach [above centre], minnow [above left]. The stickleback builds an underwater nest for its eggs and takes care of the young until they can fend for themselves.

On the castle bank are many bluebells, unfortunately they don't last when pulled. The yellow coltsfoot has a clock like a dandelion. Tease out one on your hand and you will see it has a seed with a parachute. See how far they drift in the wind.

Near the gate on the left-hand side stand and take a good sniff. What do you smell ? Wild garlic is found here and the smell is made stronger if a leaf is rubbed between the fingers.

Walking from Post Five [STAG Post 12] to Post Six [STAG Post 13] look out for the bright yellow star-like flowers on the bank.

There is a drawing of the Celandine plant shown with Post Ten [at the Golf Club].

Post Six [STAG Post 13]

There is not only a change from winter to spring. Look at Battlefield map [above, the Castle is at the very bottom], and then out over the city.

Added Comment: A historian comments "Quite why Queen Mary would camp within easy cross bow shot of an enemy castle suggests she was never there !".

There has been quite a change.

Can you think of anything that has changed a lot in your life time ?

The castle has been long unoccupied by man. [It had NOT been knocked down when the guide was written] Its old walls have become the home of many different kinds of plants. Can you see ferns, grasses, trees, mosses and lichens ?

The pigeons are unlike those seen in the woods as they are mostly domesticated pigeons which have gone wild.

Count how many you can see in a minute.

Post Seven [No Post]

 

 

Above in a line are pictures of a Swift, a House Martin, and a Swallow; below a larger one of a Swallow. 

Added Comment: Post Seven has been lost, but you are standing in the old Quarry. There is another Quarry just to the east of the Court Knowe monument.

Look at the Soil Profile and the quarry and then turn back to that drawn for Post 4 [Lost, but down near the River Bank].

What diflferences can you see ?

The green algae on the rock faces is not so easily seen as in winter. It needs water and the rock face is now dry.

The Tree Creeper is often seen here climbing up the vertical walls in its search for insects.

If you carefully lift the larger stones you may find Centipedes, Millipedes, Beetles and Wood Louse. Why do they stay under the stones ?

Look to the castle and you will see birds which you may think are swallows. Make sure by using the drawings opposite.

The swallow has just arrived from its winter home in Africa, a journey of thousands of miles. How do you think it finds its way there and back ?

Look up an atlas and trace the journey of the swallows from South Africa to Great Britain. The route drawn on (Post Six under the Summer) will help you.

Post Eight [STAG Post 11]

 

Here you can improve on your guess on the height of a tree. Look at the diagram and follow these instructions.

  • Using the left hand diagram:
    • Hold a pencil at arm's length.
    • Put the tip of the pencil so that it appears at the top of the tree and the thumb at the base of the tree.
    • Do not move the thumb after this.
  • Now use the right hand diagram:
    • Keep pencil at arms length and turn it parallel to the ground.
    • A boy walks from the base of the tree and is signalled to stop when he appears at the pencil tip.

Measure the distance from the base of the tree to the boy. This is the height of the tree. What do you think about your guess now ?

A string with the feet marked by a knot is used in this estimate.

Added Comment: Points to note. First is the use of the word "boy" which these days might be considered inappropriate. Second is that this is a really good example of basic trigononmetry. Last is that a "knotted string" was agood way to measure distances - in this case "feet". But in those days we had Rods [40 to a chain], Chains [22 yards or length of a cricket pitch], and 10 Chains to a Furlong. Life was so easy !

And see the hidden message in the pencils from G.C.E.D "Learn your kerb drill"

Post Nine [STAG Post 14]

"Elimination" key for the Indentification of common Lawn Grasses in the Vegetative State

Start at 1, deciding which group the sample fits best, then move to the number indicated at the end of the line until the sample is identified.

1. Leaves narrow and bristle-like: RED FESCUE
Leaves not narrow and bristle-like .... see 2 below

2. Leaves flattened with boat-shaped tip .... see 3 below
Leaf tips not boat-shaped ....see 4 below

3. Short tufted grass with broad leaves (often puckered in parts), usually with flowering heads: ANNUAL MEADOW-GRASS 
Grass with rhizomes (underground stems) and long leaves with parallel sides: SMOOTH-STALKED MEADOW-GRASS

4. Leaves hairy, pink veins at base of shoots: YORKSHIRE FOG
Leaves not hairy .... see 5 below

5. Leaves glossy below, shoot bases red: PERENNIAL RYE-GRASS
Leaves dull and fine, shoot bases not red: BENT-GRASS

At Post Nine [STAG Post 11], Try to identify as many grasses as possible using the Key.

Added Comment: These days, the park is somewhat overgrown between Linn View Avenue and the tarmac path. Following the old path is not easy. See the STAG page, where there are now two STAG posts numbered 14 - one is somewhat newer ! 

There are often larks singing around here. The grass is now green compared with the brown winter grass. If you part the grass you will see most of the dead winter grass underneath. The dead grass returns valuable substances to the soil, just like leaf litter does.

The farmer prefers rye and bent-grass for grazing cattle. The gardener prefers fescue grasses for ornamental lawns. See also Post Nine under Summer.

Post Ten [STAG Post at Golf Club]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are drawings of the Lesser Celandine [left], note the Root Tubers at the bottom, and the Foxglove's Rosette [right].

Along the hedgerow you may find birds' nests by looking upwards.

At the base of the hedge you will find Celandine, Dandelion, Coltsfoot, Bluebells.

You will find Sticky Willy. Do you know why it is sticky ? What good does it do the plant to be sticky ?

There are nettles here too, they will sting if touched lightly. This is caused by very fine hairs piercing the skin.

The old cure for nettle sting is a rub with Dock Leaf, but in fact this is not correct.

The Hawthorn Hedge has not got a sting. How does it protect itself ?

Some berries are still to be found on the Hawthorn, what colour are they ? Do you know what feeds on these berries ?

The large fleshy leaves of Foxglove can be seen here. These leaves store food throughout the winter and the food is used up in early spring. This plant was used as a medicine at one time, perhaps you could find out what it was used for.

Post Eleven [STAG Post 3]

Above are sketches of the Ash [left] - with its pur[ple flowers which come before the leaves, Elem [middle], and Birch Catkins [right]. 

As you walk up the road across the Golf Course, as you set off look for the Silverweed near the brick tank. This plant is often found on the sea shore.

Strong winds sweep up this hill blowing from right to left, and have twisted the Hawthorn hedge.

To repair a gap on this wind-breaking hedge a double row of birches has been planted on the left-hand side. Why do you think a double row was planted ?

The plant Sweet Woodruff is found here, rub its leaves and smell - you will find out why it got its name.

A little further along on the left a large ash tree bears small purple red flowers and no leaves.

Go up to the Trig Point and see if you can see the University Tower and the Campsie Hills. Try and get a survey map and find this trig point on it. 'Trig' is short for trigonometry. See the article on View Points for more information.

Near here you will find:

  • A Chestnut with its candles.
  • An Ash with last year's keys still attached.
  • Lamb's tails on Birches.
  • Carrion Crows, Gulls, Starlings, Larks and Chaffinches.

Post Twelve [STAG Post 5]

Added Comment. A few years ago two things happened to the top wood: first was the clearance of the rhododendrons which had got wholly out of control, and second was the construction of the zig zag path and the path around the top wood which for the most part followed the old farm road. However, the rhododendrons are making a small comeback ! Many of pines on the southsidevof the top wood have now been felled. Lastly, there no longer any small animal and insect traps.

As you walk along here some of the Rhododendrons will be already in flower, in the others look for the large bud which shelters the flowers till spring.

Some of the Rhododendron leaves have little notches out, this is done by insects.

Look under these bushes and see if anything grows there. The answer, you will have found out, is very little. The reason is it is dark and dry.

At about the end of the path you will see very tall grasses - this is Yorkshire Fog. Here you will find Wood Sorrel the leaves of which are bitter. Look for the uncurling fronds of bracken and fern. Try and spot the difference.

Bracken appears singly out of the ground.

Ferns here grow in a circle round a centre crown.

The Elder trees on the right are in flower, the berries are made into wine.

You will see in this Pine wood many of the features found in the Pine wood at Post One [STAG Post 2].

Post Two in the Winter section has an identification key which will help you to identify any insects.

Post Thirteen [STAG Post 6]

Above are sketches of a Violet Ground Beetle [left], a Devil' s Coachman [middle], and a Dor-Beetle [right].

Above are sketches of a Centipede [left], a Woodlouse [middle left], a Millipede [middle right], and an Ant [right].

Brambles are already in flower. They also have spines to protect them from animals which try to eat the leaves.

For those who require it, an advanced key to flowering plants is included as many wild flowers are to be found here. [Note: enter link]

Below are sketches of Liverwort [left], and Moss [right.]

Post Fourteen [STAG Post 7]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are sketches of a Woodpecker [left], and of it's prey the Corus Larvae in the edge of a tree [right].

For some photographs of Woodpeckers on this web site, click here.

When you walk out of the wood notice the electricity poles on the left skyline.

Look out for birds flying from wood to wood.

Note the difference between cultivated and uncultivated grasses on the two sides of the path. You could use your key to identify some of these grasses.

Look back at the woods and notice the influence of the wind on the shape of the trees, the wind normally blows from right to left.

Go down the path with the fence. Why has the bark been peeled off" the fence posts ? Find the age of the posts by counting the annual rings.

Because of the damp shady conditions mosses and liverworts can be easily collected here.

Before you go to Post Fifteen go into the Gardens and on the right-hand side you will see a large Beech tree at the top of which is a cut off branch. The woodpecker's nest can be seen. The drawing shows the woodpecker and the kind of animal it feeds on, burrowing in a tree.

Added Comment: The gardens are no longer, but the area does contain a children's playground. The beech tree with the nest appears to have been removed.

Summer

Introduction

In summer the majority of flowers are in blossom. There are many bees, flies, and butterflies about.

Young birds have left their nests and the birds which left for winter have returned.

There is not so much change from spring to summer as there was from winter to spring.

The description for each post begins with a list of the flowers usually found in the vicinity of each post.

The flowers should not to be picked. Care should be taken where you walk and the flowers should not be trodden down.

A useful book to read before going on this trail, and to take with you, is "The Observers Book of Wild Flowers". Note: There are various editions of this book which was first published in the 1930's - try Google.

Post One [STAG Post 2]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are sketches of the Fly Agaric Toadstool [left], and the Shaggy Parasol [right].

The Fly Agaric Toadstool, easily identified by its bright red cap, is found in the pine woods.The Shaggy Parasol, which is dark brown-grey, is found in the grass on the edge of the woods.

On the right-hand side of the avenue in the wood towards Mansion House you will find:

wood sorrel, germander, speedwell, lady's-smock, comfrey, wild violet, creeping-jenny, wild strawberry, barren strawberry

The barren strawberry has a tufted habit. Its flowers and leaves are smaller than the wild strawberry. In the pinewood the new growth can be seen as it is light green in colour compared with the darker green of last year's growth. Each year's growth is m.arked off" by a whorl of leaves, these whorls can also be seen on the trunks of the trees.

Pine trees have many uses, the wood can be used for building, for making chip-board, and for paper-pulp.

A new pulp-mill has been built in the Highlands. You could find out where, and why it has been built there. [It has since closed]

There may be Toad Stools and other fungi found in the wood, some are very poisonous and are harmful even to touch

Post Two [STAG Post 9

 

 

Above is are some sketches as follows: a Rhododendron Leaf [left], a weevil [centre], and a Weevil Grub which has a brown head [right].

Dog's mercury is to be found on the river banks, it is a plant which has male and female individuals.

The Rhododendron leaves have little circles cut out of their leaves. This is caused by Weevils which use the leaf for food.

Other signs of similar activity are to be found on the bushes and trees around here. Leaf miners burrow inside leaves leaving a clear part in the leaf.

See if you can find a leaf showing these tunnels - they are clearly marked.

Weevils cause pin holes in nettles, and other Weevils cause leaves to be rolled up or folded over. See if you can find anything like this here.

Rhododendrons were brought from abroad, and were used for shelter from, game birds such as grouse and pheasant.

Post Three [STAG Post 10]

On the left-hand side towards Castle there are wild violets and dog's mercury.

On the right-hand side: hawk's beard, hawkbit, plantain lanceolata, knapweed, ragwort, sorrel, buttercup, shepherd's purse.

There are usually a few different kinds of birds in this part of the trail.

Above you will see a diagram of a bird with all the parts labelled which are used to describe a bird.

The next bird you see try and see all the parts which are labelled.

Post Four [No Post]

Added Comment: Post Four was removed. As you pass the end of the high security green fence [???] after a few yards turn left down the old path, and thence to the river.

On the opposite river bank: butter-bur and wild garlic.

On the park side: speedwell, white clover, milfoil.

On the Castle slopes:- wild hyacinth, bishop weed, purple loose strife, lady's-mantle, bed straw.

Up the river there are high cliffs, these cliffs show layers of rock laid one on top of the other.

Some of these layers contain the remains of sea-shells. These remains are called fossils and are many millions of years old.

This part was once under the sea. We know this from the fossils which tell us of the past history of the earth.

The diagram above shows a section with different layers of rock something like the river-cliff.

On the left is an elm tree covered with ivy. This tree will die because the ivy has ' stem roots ' which penetrate the living tissue and rob the tree of sap.

Post Five [STAG Post 21]

Above are sketches of a Ladybird Larva, which feeds on greenfly pests and has 4 pairs of bright orange spots, [left], a Seven-spot Ladybird - a useful insect [middle left], a Lacewing (at rest) [middle right], and a Hover Fly [left].

At the Snuffmill you can find: celandine, wild garlic, woodruft. Toadflax - the wild snapdragon which is grown in gardens. Squeeze one of the little flowers and see it open like a mouth.

And on the bank: red campion, cowparsley, wild cress, goosegrass - also called cleavers. Why do you think it has this other name ?

The wild garlic at the gate can usually be smelled a distance away.

Over the river there are many flying insects. Some are eaten by fish, that is why fishermen use artificial flies to catch fish.

Some of these flies have a very short life. The May-fly lives as a fly only a few days but lives under-water as a larva for over a year.

Dragon flies are only rarely seen, as are Damsel or Lacewing flies, Caddis flies and Hover flies.

Toadflax is growing out of the parapet of the bridge.

In olden days, stage coaches passed over this bridge going from Glasgow to Kilmarnock. It was built in 1624.

Post Six [STAG Post 13]

On the path towards Post Seven: Periwinkle, chickweed, wild raspberry.

At the beginning of summer there are usually plenty of swallows to see. In late summer they all disappear.

Swallows, as well as many other birds, go to warmer countries such as South Africa for winter. This is called migration. The swallow's journey is very long. Find out its length from an atlas.

Some birds come from cold countries to Great Britain in the winter.

Geese come from Greenland and Iceland, find out where these countries are on a map and the length of a goose migration.

If you look at a map of Glasgow you will find many streets associated with the Battle of Langside. Look in the map for:

  • Queen Mary Street,
  • Regent Moray Street,
  • Battlefield Road.

The old map is shown in the Spring Section for Post Six.

Post Seven [No Post]

Added Comment: Post Seven has been lost, but you are standing in the old Quarry. There is another Quarry just to the east of the Court Knowe monument.

Under the stones in the quarry look for insects such as wood-lice, ants, small cream slugs, and on the quarry face, slugs and snails. Replace the stones as they are the homes of these animals.

The pleurococcus is much drier and less green than before. If the weather has been dry it is powdery, but when rain comes it soaks up water like a sponge.

On several of the faces there are long scars which are the traces of the quarry-men's work. The quarry is part of a Dyke on which the Castle also sits.

A section shows the path of the dyke cut by a quarry, a road, and a river.

The good defensive position of the Castle is brought out.

Post Eight [STAG Post 11]

Above are sketches of the following tree leaves: Oak [left], Birch, Sycamore, Lime, Beech, and Elm [right]

Above are sketches of the following tree leaves: Holly [left], Willow, Horse Chestnut, and a common Multi Leaved Ash [right].

Around the tree bases look for: yarrow and milfoil.

When you reach this Post look back and you will see the section with the dyke, as shown on the previous post: Summer - Post Seven.

The trees should be examined for flowers or fruits. The height, age, and the spread of the branches of the trees can be estimated - see Spring for this post.

This part of the trail is favourite breeding ground - in the meadow land - for the Daddy-long-legs.

Its larvae feed on grass roots and do much damage to lawns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are sketches of a Leatherjacker Crane Fly Larvae [left], and a Daddy-long-legs - the Crane Fly Adult [right].

Look around under the trees here and try spotting for Daddy-long-legs in flight.

As you walk up the meadow from Post Eight look at the tall ash tree on the right. The leaves do not have the usual 5-7 or more leaflets (See the drawing of a above). It is the uncommon single leaved Ash. For more on trees on this web site click here. The Single Leaved Ash [Fraxinus excelsior f. diversifolia] is at point 191.

Post Nine [STAG Post 14]

Look for Meadow plants such as sorrel, buttercup, daisy, ragwort, gorse, and speedwell.

[Added Comment: The park here has been left to grow wild and a lot of the grass land has disappeared]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are two images of Grass Flowers: On the left is a sketch with the Immature Stigmas Out, whereas on the right is a sketch with the Mature Stamens Out.

Grasses are very important crops. Notice the different kinds of grass leaves - some are broad and rough to feel - others smooth and round. Below is a list of how farmers store grass:

  • Hay: The grass is cut when it is flowering. The dried hay is stacked loose or compressed into bales. Hay is fed to livestock in winter. Two crops of hay can be taken from each field. [A new method is called "Haylage"]
  • Silage: The grass is cut before flowering. The freshly cut grass is put into a silo or silage pit, rolled by a tractor to keep out the air. Silage is fed to livestock in winter. Most farmers make both hay and silage.
  • Grazing: The livestock graze the grass as it grows; eventually the meadow becomes so poor it has to be ploughed up.

The meadows here have not been grazed for a number of years, so many plants other than grasses have been able to grow. Pick a few grass-heads and examine the flowers which are drawn opposite.

Post Ten [STAG Post at Golf Club]

 

Above are sketched of a Yellow Hammer, a Green Finch and a Goldfinch

Look for Sow thistle, and Goose grass [Sticky Willy].

Besides the parts of the bird, there are other clues to identifying birds.

  1. Size Bigger or smaller than a sparrow.
  2. Shape Slim or stout, wings short or long, pointed or rounded.
  3. Posture A robin has a " cheeky " posture.
  4. Colour Use the parts of bird as shown in the diagram to describe the colour, i.e. a robin has a red breast. A blue tit has a black crown.
  5. Flight The up and down flight of a wagtail and the bee-line of a starling.
  6. Walk A starling walks, a sparrow hops.
  7. Song Many birds are easily identified by song and named after their song, peeweet, chiff'-chaff', owl.
  8. Habitat Where the bird is usually seen. Sparrows around houses, gulls near water, larks over open meadows.

For more information on birds that have been seen recently in the park, click here.

Post Eleven [STAG Post 3]

Shown above are a sketch of a Rose, a Greenfly, an Insect Eater, and an Owl - see below.

Look for Wild Rose, Wild Mustard, Wild Violets. At the golf club: hogweed, oxalis, rose bay, mare's-tail, fool's parsley, wood sorrel - with leaves like clover.

On the rose bushes you may see, especially on new growth, little green insects called greenfly. These feed on the sap of the rose.

Many different kinds of birds feed on these greenflies.

The bird itself may in turn be eaten by a hawk or an owl. This eating of one another is called a food chain.

For example: a Rose - is eaten by - a Greenfly - is eaten by - a Bird - is eaten by - a Hawk.

At the beginning of a food chain is a plant. At the end of a food chain is a carnivore or meat-eater. Try and work out other food chains. You could be the last link in a food chain.

Examine any fallen trees as you walk through the woods to Post Twelve.

Why do the roots grow only in the top layers of soil ?

Post Twelve [STAG Post 5]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are sketches of some Eggs [top left], a Caterpillar [top right], a Pupa [lower left], and an Adult Butterfly [lower right].

There are often Butterflies around here. If you examine leaves and buds you may find the butterfly caterpillar and even eggs. The caterpillar feeds on leaves and the adult butterfly may feed on an entirely different food, for example, nectar. The stages of a Cabbage White butterfly are shown opposite.

If you find caterpillars these can be reared in the classroom.

Lookout for these plants: Rosebay, willow-herb, mare's-tail, rose campion.

There are many different sorts of grasses here. Compare them with those seen in the meadow from Posts Eight, Nine, and Ten.

Rosebay willow herb is sometimes called fire weed. There are two reasons given for this name. See if you can find them out.

The bark of fallen trees - especially on old rotting trunks - is the ideal home for many small insects.

In the old days, these could have been seen and named in the Information Centre at the end of the trail.

If you lift the bark, be sure to replace it. There are useful insects as well as harmful ones.

Post Thirteen [STAG Post 6]

Above are sketches of a Phalangiola or Harvest man: this looks like a spider but is not as the head and body are all one, an Araneae or Garden Spider, and a Woodlouse or Slater.

Lookout for Knotgrass, ox eye, and brambles. There are many different kinds of plants found here which are listed under Summer Post Fourteen.

See if you can find any of them.

At this time of year the differences between fern and bracken are easy to see. Turn to the Spring section of the guide book.

What do you think is the reason for the ditches dug in the undergrowth ?

Post Fourteen [STAG Post 7]

About Flowering Plants

a) Those that do NOT Flower

  1. Single celled plants which are green, e.g. Euglena, can be numerous enough in pond water to turn it green. Powdery green dust on tree barks, stone.
  2. The seaweeds and green slimy filaments in ponds are in Algae.
  3. Flat leaf-like plants found in wet places belong to Liverworts.
  4. Mosses, as found on tree trunks and stones, etc.
  5. Ferns of many kinds, e.g. Bracken.
  6. Coniferous Trees, e.g. Pine, Spruce, Larch.
  7. Fungi, e.g. moulds, mushrooms, Bracket Fungi.

b) Flowering Plants

  1. Monocotyledons. Narrow sword-like leaves which have only one seed-leaf or cotyledon, e.g. Grasses, daffodil, gladiolus, onion.
  2. Dicotyledons. Broad leafed plants with two cotyledons in the seed.
    1. Herbaceous plants, e.g. Daisy, buttercup, dandelion.
    2. Shrubs - Woody bushy plants, e.g. Roses, Privet, Hawthorn.
  3. Deciduous Trees are trees which lose their leaves in autumn, e.g. Oak, Beech, Poplar, Willow.

Look out for Self-heal, wood sanicle, water-cress, red deadnettle, foxglove, comfrey.

Many of the early summer flowers - such as the dandelion and coltsfoot, have produced their seeds.

Notice any floating in the air - the seeds are carried by the wind like parachutes.

Look for a foxglove - (but don't pick any), the lowest flowers drop off first leaving the young green seed 'pod' or capsule exposed.

What will happen to this later on ?

At the extreme top of the spike there are still flower buds not yet developed.

Look for broom, and gorse for the pea-like pods which are flat and green.

Compare them with the remains of last year's fruit pods.

All the flowers that you see here are striving to produce seed as quickly as possible.

Look carefully for those that have lost their bright petals. What is left ?

Note as many as you can.

Autumn

Introduction

This is the Autumn Trail, a season of preparation for winter.

The leaves of the trees change to the autumn colours and then leaf fall occurs.

Trees do not shed their leaves at the same time; take a note of those trees still in leaf.

Many birds have departed for the winter and some have arrived, for instance, blackheaded gulls are to be seen now.

You may not see all the things written about in this booklet, but you will discover other things to interest you, if you keep your eyes open and move quietly.

Remember: be careful what things you collect. If in any doubt, leave things alone.

Post One [STAG Post 2]

 

The above sketches are of wind scattered seeds from trees: Sycamore Wings [left], Ash Key [middle], and Lime [left]

Walking down to Post One, you can search on the paths and under the bushes; there you will find sycamore seeds. They are formed like a propeller which scatters them away from the parent tree.

Why do you think they must be scattered ? Collect some and throw them up in the air to see how they work. Would this work better on a windy day or a calm day ?

On the right-hand side of the avenue there are wild strawberries. Careful breeding and selection of the largest ones have produced over many years the large garden strawberry.

The primroses which were abundant here in spring are still present. Look for their fleshy leaves under the bushes on the right-hand side.

The lime trees on the avenue have a propeller attached to their seeds ; see if you can find some on the path near Post One.

Post Two [STAG Post 9]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are sketches of a Fairy Ring Toadstool [left] often found in patches of dark green grass, and aften near posts Thirteen and Fourteen,  and a Warted Puff Ball [right]. Some of these are poisonous.

As you walk down to Post Two in the pine woods, look out for rabbit scratches.

Many animals leave tracks which show they live in the woods.

The pine tree does not shed its leaves in autumn. Some leaf-fall occurs in May and in summer.

Because of this, many birds and small animals find shelter here in autumn and winter.

There may be toadstools and mushrooms in the wood, often on dead tree stumps. Some are poisonous and some are useful to man.

Yeast is used to bake bread and brew beer. Penicillin is a mould used in cheese making. Penicillin is also made from a mould.

Fairy rings are caused by a mushroom. You can collect feathers, owl pellets, pine cones, as you walk through the pine wood.

Post Three [STAG Post 10]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Above are sketches of trees and the movement of water in Winter [left] and Summer [right]

As you walk along the path look to the left at the grass on the slope. What colour is it now ? Can you remember what it was like in the summer ?

The trees on the left have begun to shed their leaves. Why do some trees shed their leaves ? Part of the answer is shown in the drawing above.

In winter the soil is cold and often frozen. The leaves of a tree give off the water taken in at the roots.

Can you finish the reason yourself? What happens to the leaves which gather on the ground ? Why do some gardeners collect the leaves and put them on the ' compost' heap ?

The small triangular shaped ' nuts ' that are plentiful on the ground here are mostly ' shells ' of the Beech nut - mice have already eaten the small kernels inside.

Post Four [No Post]

Below are sketches of the various Water Animals [Freshwater Invertebrates] that you might find at this post:

From the left: Freshwater Shrimp, Water Louse, Pond Skater, Air Bubble Whirligig Beetle, Water Boatmen - which can aloso swim on it's back,  and a Daphnia.

From the bottom left: Water Fleas, Water Snail, Water Knat, Leech, Catch Beetle Larva, Large Water Beetle

If you are wearing Wellingtons you can lift the flat stones and most likely find some. Let them go again [in the old Information Room there are specimens for a closer study].

From here you can see the roots of many of the trees which help to hold up the steep bank on the left.

Look across the river and you will see what happens to the earth without the trees.

The river is often very high just now and a spate turns up much food for birds and water fowl. This is a good observation post for spotting them.

Look up into the oak tree on the right hand side of the river path. Can you see the small round ' oak apples ' or galls. An insect causes these.

You may find some galls on the ground - each with a little hole where the gall fly escaped.

Post Five [STAG Post 12]

Above are sketches of a Robin, a Dunlin, and a Yellow Hammer. Click here to see more about the birds in the park.

Do you know the name of this river ? Find it out.

The Winter guide book tells you more about the Snuff-mill and the Weir. [Later in class get a survey map of the area. Click here to see the article on the river on this web site]

  • Find out where the river goes.
  • Find out where the river comes from.
  • Find out where the river Clyde comes from.

The 'mallard duck' may be still seen here. Many birds feed on the riverbank and the ones drawn opposite may be there.

Has the robin re-appeared around your school or home ? Look at the ivy on the cliff to the Castle. Ivy is a climbing plant; its stem has clinging roots.

Do you know any other climbing plants ?

The old bridge was built in 1624, nearly four hundred years ago.

Post Six [STAG Post 13]

Above are sketches of a Sycamore - a new bud on a leaf scar [left], and a Horse Chestnut showing next years bud at the top, and a leaf scar half way down [top.]

At the entrance there is a chestnut tree.

You may be able to see a twig. These twigs show horse-shoe marks where the leaf used to be.

Look for a dead leaf on the ground and find the dots that match those on the leaf scar.

The buds for next year's growth are well protected against the damp by a sticky varnish-like coat.

There are many pigeons around the Castle, and rooks nest in the trees around here. [Not since the castle was demolished]

See how many you can count.

Look for a hornbeam leaf on the ground, carry it with you to Post Seven, and compare it with the Beech leaf.

Post Seven [No Post]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are sketches of Hornbeam Leaves [the two on the left], and the Common Beech [right]. What is the other one ? [middle right].

Compare the fallen Hornbeam leaves between Posts Six and Seven. 

As you go down the path to the quarry look for the beech tree at the right of the park gate.

It is the largest in the park. [Taken down 2016-17] There are other very tall beech trees

When you go down to it try and measure its diameter. But from here you can get an idea of its height.

The beech is closely related to the hornbeam which you can see here.

The difference in leaf is illustrated above. See if you can find one of each kind. You should still have the one you brought from near Post Six.

Now look at the hedgerow beech at the roadside boundary of the park.

The leaves remain on the twigs all winter. They fall off large mature trees in autumn because these are not trimmed into artificial hedges.

Post Eight [STAG Post 11]

You can measure the age and height of the trees here [One method is described under Spring]. There used to be a large house here built across the pathway.

The family who lived in the Castle [The Earl of Cathcart] built it, after the Castle became too old, using many of the ruin stones. When that house became too old, its stones were used to build a rockery near the river, now even this is covered with grass.

The tennis courts can be seen near the river. The grass is still different from the surrounding grass even after all these years.

Can you guess why ?

Do you think it was comfortable living in a castle ?

Autumn is a good time to find a fallen leaf of the single-leaved Ash (-monophylla) mentioned in the Summer section. It would add interest to a collection of pressed leaves.

Post Nine [STAG Post 14]

Elimination Key for identification of Common Lawn Grass Seeds.

Start at No. 1, comparing the seed with a matchstick (which is 2 mm. square). Decide which group the seed fits best and move to the number indicated at the end of the line until the seed is identified.

1. Seeds less than 2 mm. long... BENT-GRASS
eeds about 2 mm. long ... see 2 below
Seeds more than 2mm. long ... see 3 below

2. Seeds dull and triangular in section ... SMOOTH-STALKED MEADOW GRASS
Seeds shiny ... YORKSHIRE FOG (shelled)

3. Seeds with a terminal bristle (awn) ... RED FESCUE
Seeds without a bristle ... see 4 below

4. Seeds with short stalk (rachilla) at base ... PERENNIAL RYE-GRASS
Seeds without short basal stalk but with papery covering bracts YORKSHIRE FOG (unshelled)

What to use for a lawn

  • BEST lawn seed - Red Fescue with Bent-grass.
  • CHEAP lawn seed - mostly Perennial Rye-grass.

Try to identify as many grasses as possible using the key. This is a favourite feeding ground for rooks - watch how they feed. Birds will let you come only so close and then they fly off.

Look in the Summer guide book at Post Ten. Some birds let you come close; others are more timid; try this out.

Can you name any of them ?

The house sparrow is perhaps the least timid of all.

The dead brown grass protects the new grass in the spring and retains valuable food in the ground. Most of the wild flowers seen here during the summer are now producing seed heads.

Find how many you can recognise.

What is the difference between wild plants growing on the mown path and those in the long uncut meadow ?

Post Ten [STAG Post at Golf Club]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are sketches of Hawthorn [left], and a Wild Rose (Hips) [right].

The hedgerow bears many berries; these will be the main food of birds in the winter.

The berries may be scarred and inside you will find the seeds.

Many berries have attractive colours. Can you think of some red-coloured berries ? Why are they made attractive ?

There may be a nest or two in the hedgerow; look at it but do not touch it.

Each bird builds its own design of nest. So different looking nests belong to different kinds of birds. Look at the material of the nests, and imagine the trouble it is to build one.

At the base of the hedge you will see the thick fleshy leaves of fox-glove and some of its flowers may still be there.

Post Eleven [STAG Post 3]

Avoe are sketches of a Butterfly [left], a Moth [middle], and a Bee [right]

In early autumn there are a few butterflies here.

Can you tell the difference between a moth and a butterfly ?

  • At rest the butterfly holds its wings above its body like a root.
  • The moth holds its wings flat.
  • The moth looks hairy and is mostly dull coloured.

There are a few bees and wasps about here and the path through the wood.

  • Do you know why wasps become a pest in autumn ?
  • Have you seen a wasp's bike ?
  • What do they seem to become very fond of all of a sudden ?

Here you will be able to see a chestnut tree, an ash tree and a rowan tree.

The trig, point is a good observation point, you could draw a simple map of your surroundings from here.

"Trig" is short for " trigonometry " - a branch of mathematics dealing with angles in surveying. Why is a position chosen like this one ?

The Winter guide book tells you more about this ' triangulation station.'

Post Twelve [STAG Post 5]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sketches of a Bramble or Blackberry [left], and a Wild Raspberry [right]

There are many bramble bushes here, and a few raspberry bushes on the right-hand side of the path.

  • Both fruits are used for jam-making and wild ones taste best.
  • But before you eat them make sure there are no grubs inside because other animals use them as food besides humans.

There are hawthorn berries along this path ; see if you can find them.

On the dead tree stumps is bracket fungus which draws its food from the dead wood.

The wood ferns have died down and if you look under the leaves you will see the places which produce the seeds or spores of the plant.

The dead curled leaves protect the plant from the cold.

What has happened to most of the tree leaves since the summer ?

The tree has withdrawn all the green colour material and they are now in their autumn colours of gold, red, brown and even pink.

Which are the most brilliant ?

Post Thirteen [STAG Post 6]

 

Above are sketches of a Shrew [left], a Bank Vole [middle], and a Wood Mouse [right]

Try and name the trees which are still green.

Pines are always green and the Ash tree often keeps its leaves until November or December. Can you find a Yew tree ?

The young silver birch trees have grown naturally from seed after gale damage to this woodland area.

Where would this seed come from ?

What do you know about natural regeneration of derelict areas. Do you know other places in Scotland where nature has covered over man made scars ? (e.g. railway embankments, pit bings, etc.).

Post Fourteen [STAG Post 7]

Above are sketches of what are collectively know as Sling Fruits. Dandelion [left], Rose Bay Willowherb, Broom, Lime tree, Wild Violet, Vetch - look near the wood fringe [right].

Count the rings on the fence posts, each ring counts as one year.

You can get the age of trees this way.

Look closely for scratches on the post. These are made by wasps.

Wasps use the wood to build their nest. They were the first paper makers. [There is one in the Nature Centre.]

The same trees are used to make your newspapers.

Collect some moss from the side of the path. Lift the stones and see what is under them, replace the stones carefully.

Why are you asked to do that ?

Regrettably the garden and small animal zoo, and the nature centre are no longer

Before you go into the Nature Centre visit the garden, the aviaries of British birds, and the collection of small native animals.

Why is there a wall around the garden ?

There used to be a wood-pecker's nest in the trees on the right as you go into the garden.

See if you can spot the entrance hole to the nest at the tree top.

The drawings above show you some seeds which are scattered by wind. The number of seeds produced by rosebay willow herb is great.

Do they all grow ?

Winter

Introduction

The Winter Nature Trail has been designed to give a broad view of the varied environments found in the Linn Park.

From this, more detailed investigations of specific trees, plants and animals will be developed throughout the year.

In particular, trees which shed their leaves in the autumn (deciduous trees) can be recognised in winter by examining the colour, shape of buds and their arrangement on the bare twigs. The general outline of the tree, seen from a distance against a winter sky, can often tell us the sort of tree it is.

The silhouette sketches on page 8 explain this means of winter identification of trees.

Usually wild life hears, smells or sees us first. Only by being quiet and observant will you see any wild life at all. Two foxes sometimes visit here but are seldom seen. So keep your eyes open.

Choose somewhere along the trail a tree of your own. Identify it by its winter shape, twig and bark rubbing. Remember where it is by marking the nearest Post number down in your jotter.

You will watch what happens to your tree throughout the year. The illustrations should be used to help you in your discoveries.

Here is a score card you could copy down and fill in by ticking off those you have identified.

Trees - to find out where the trees are click here. From this page you can follow links to individual trees where we have more information.
Larch
Oak
Elm
Beech
Silver
Birch
Ash
Lime
Spruce
Scots Pine
Mountain Ash
Chestnut
Sycamore
Holly
Yew Trees
Birds - from more information on Wild Birds click here.
Carrion Crow
Starling
Blackbird
Magpie
Dipper
Black-headedGull
Owl
Thrush
Blue Tit
Mallard
Sparrow
Robin

Post One [STAG Post 2]

Above is a sketch of a dozen twigs which one might find in the park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are sketches of the foliage of two of the evergreen trees which are found in the park: a Pine [left], and Yew [right].

Pine woods are usually closely planted to make them grow tall and straight. 

Why do we want them to grow tall and straight ?

Look up and see the tufts of leaf-bearing branches.

What do these branches do to the light ?

Look at the change in colour of the pine trunk near the top.

There is something oozing out of the trunks. What do you think this is ?

Crush some fresh pine needles and smell them.

Examine the layer of dead needles.

Is there much growing at ground level ?

A pine tree near here has been struck by lightning.

See if you can find the scar.

What about the height of this tree ? Trees usually split or lose branches when struck by lightning. The heat turns the sap inside the tree into steam which bursts the tree apart.

The avenue here is bordered with lime trees. Collect pine cones and litter for the animals it may contain.

Post Two [STAG Post 9]

Key to the commoner Terretrail Invertebrates,

1 Segmented animal, i.e. with a series of rings round the body ... see 2 below
Not segmented ...see 9 below

2. Segmented animal with jointed legs ...see 3 below
Segmented animal without legs ... EARTHWORM

3. Animal with THREE pairs of legs and often wings ... INSECT
Animal with FOUR (or more) pairs of legs .. see 4 below

4. Animal with many pairs of legs ... see 5 below
Animal with FOUR pairs of legs ... see 7 below

5. Oval shaped animals: 7 pairs of legs, 14 segments or less ... WOODLOUSE
Elongated body, more than 7 pairs of legs, more than 14 segments ... see 6 below

6. Animal with ONE pair of legs on almost every segment ... CENTIPEDE
Animal with TWO pairs of legs on almost every segment ... MILLIPEDE

7. Body of TWO regions - front only having legs ... SPIDERS
Body NOT divided into regions ... see 8 below

8. Legs short, LESS than 4 times body length ... MITES & TICKS
Legs long, MORE than 4 times body length ... HARVEST SPIDER

9. Minute, unsegmented worm ... NEMATODE
Soft bodied, unsegmented slimy animal ... SNAIL or SLUG

The Rhododendron leaves droop in very cold weather.

Why do they do this ?

Look at the branches of Rhododendrons end-on.

  • How are the leaves arranged ?
  • Why are the leaves arranged in this way ?

The leaves are usually glossy, but some are sooty.

Greenflies living on the trees above drop sticky honey-dew on to the leaves. Soot sticks to the honey-dew.

Collect some litter for the animals it contains. (See above).

Witches' brooms are seen on the trees near the river towards the bridge.

Can you identify the trees on which they are growing

Stop: Look: Listen: Keep perfectly still.

Note all the sounds you hear of movement under the bushes on the bank, and the flight of birds in and about the opposite river bank.

Sometimes the Dipper can be spotted here.

Post Three [STAG Post 10]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above a re skeches of four trees: Elm [top left], Oak [top right], Beech [bottom left], and Sycamore [bottom right]

The Frenchman, Deschamp, built a paper-mill here because of the abundance of water. The weir ensures a constant supply of water. The water may have powered the machinery.

The sluices and spillways can be seen. The water falling over the weir is yellow tinged as it is polluted.

Notice the steep cliffs cut by the river especially on the near or outside curve of the river.

Added comment: the weir failed, there was a landslide, and the factory buildings were demolished. It is now fenced off and in theor inaccessible.

There are a number of Beech trees on the pathway. They have a smooth blue-grey bark and have green spongy material growing mostly on one side.

  • Which side is it ?
  • Why?

Pick up the fallen leaves here and find out what they are.

Are they from evergreen or deciduous trees ?

When would you expect to find evergreen tree leaves on the ground ?

Beech leaves do not rot easily and the parallel side veins are easily seen. They make the best compost for manuring the garden.

Post Four [No Post]

Above are sketches of a Blue Tit, a Wren, and a Dipper.

Notice the overhang on the opposite bank of the river. The Dipper nests here. This bird can walk under water in its search for food. Its body is streamlined. Why?

The Black-headed Gull can be seen patrolling this stretch of water.

The small island is visited by a variety of birds. Can you recognise any ?

On the side of the river, sand is deposited on the inside curve.

  • Where does this sand come from ?
  • Why is it deposited there ?

Look for the drains running into the river.

  • Does the water look clean ?
  • What do you think happens to river-life as a result of all this waste pouring into the river ?
  • Do you think this pollution of the river should stop ?

Examine the plant life on the old tennis courts and on the slopes near-by.

Post Five [STAG Post 12]

Notice the crows' nests in the tree tops as you leave the Park Gates. In winter, the leafless trees allow bird-life to be easily seen.

The old Snuff-Mill is a relic of the flourishing tobacco trade of the 18th Century. The import of tobacco from Virginia, Maryland and Carolina helped to establish Glasgow as an important port. The trade passed to England after the American War of Independence.

The sluice and weir were built to supply water to the mill owned by Solomon Lindsay.

In the quiet waters behind the weir. Mallard Duck are often seen ; the plumage of the drake is striking.

The slopes up to the Castle would be a difficult obstacle to an attacking enemy. The loose earth of the slopes is bound by Ivy.

On the opposite bank of the river the slopes are terraced.

Why is this done ?

What happens to the soil on the near-by unterraced slopes ?

Just above the water level on the opposite bank there is a different kind of rock out-crop.

How does it differ from the out-crop seen at the quarry ?

Look for pipes draining waste into the river.

Do you notice any difference in the vegetation growing near this flow of drainage water ?

Mallard, Blacke headed Gull, Carrion Crow, Moor Hen

Post Six [STAG Post 13]

 Above are sketches of a Hazel Nut damaged by Weevils [left], Marble Gall on an Oak Tree, Witches Broom on a Birch Tree, and a Hazel Nut after being eaten by a Squirrel.

Abobe a sketches of cone damage by a Vole Squirrel [left], and by a Woodpecker, a Pine cone, a Spruce cone, and a Larch cone [right].

This stone marks the site from which Mary, Queen of Scots, is supposed to have watched the Battle of Langside, but the battlefield is far away, and the Castle was occupied by her enemy. The truth of the legend is doubted by many people.

The stone is a replica. The original stone is in the Art Galleries, Glasgow.

Can you decipher the letters of the monogram ?

The battle was over at 10 o'clock in the morning, after about 300 soldiers were killed. Mary fled to England, to her cousin Queen Elizabeth.

To see the article on the Battle of Langside on this web site, click here.

Notice the twisted trunks and branches of the Hornbeam trees : they are easily distinguished from Beech by the bark.

The Elm tree to the right has a Witch's Broom.

This can be caused by a fungus or a tick penetrating the bark and activating this abnormal growth you see.

Walnut Burred Veneer is obtained from a similar growth.

At the gate there is a Chestnut tree. Look at the bark. The horse-shoe marks on the twigs are easily seen. The buds appear to be sticky.

Note the dominant position of the Castle from this side. The walls are ten feet thick.

Bushes have managed to take root on top of the walls. Pigeons nest inside.

Near the gate there is an Ash tree stump. There are many little shoots growing on it.

Collect an ash twig.

 

This is a good place to examine closer the different formations of rock. Before leaving Post Six look at the granite plaque.

Compare this with the whinstone quarry. The red colour is due to red Felspar intermingled with particles of black Mica.

 

 

 

 

Try and find a piece of rock showing streaks or veins of white mica as seen in the left hand pice of rock.

The piece shown to the immediate left is called Pudding Stone rock.

Post Seven [No Post]

Where the bed-rock sticks out Uke this it is called an outcrop. This outcrop has been dug into by man and is called - what ?

This outcrop is of a very hard rock called whinstone. Find out what whinstone is used for.

Look for vertical cracks or joints in the rock. There are joints running in another direction. What shapes do these two sets of joints make ? With what are the rock faces covered ? This green material belongs to a class of plants called algae.

Look around and see where else this algae grows.

Water can get into the joints. What happens when this water freezes ?

  • What else grows into the cracks ?
  • What will the roots do as they grow thicker ?

Some of the square blocks look quite loose. Through time they will fall down. This breaking up of the rock face by water, wind, frost and root growth is called: ' Weathering.'

As you go up the path look out for:

  • a regenerating tree,
  • a silver birch tree,
  • hornbeams with the twisted bark.

Post Eight [STAG Post 11]

Leaving Post Seven and entering the Park Gates, notice the very large tree near the entrance. It is supposed to be the oldest tree in the Park. How is it easily recognised ? Find out its radius and use the rule 1/10th inch r = 1 year's growth.

On the wall to the left of the Castle there are a number of square holes. These are called ' Bee-Boxes ' - honey was the only source of sugar available when the Castle was occupied. [Of course since the castle was demolished ...]

The trees here are accessible for bark rubbing and identification. At about 6 feet up on one tree there is a little water-filled hole. This may cause a hollow tree to be formed.

If it dries out, it could be used for what purpose ?

This could be caused by a branch being torn off. Notice the smooth bark around the edge of the hole - this is wound healing tissue made by the tree.

Look down towards the river. The Evergreens are planted for a purpose.

What do you think this purpose is ?

Post Nine [STAG Post 14]

Additional Comment: The castle has gone, and the undergrowth has got out of control !

This is a good vantage point to see the Castle and its strong position.

In what direction are we looking now ?

The tree third up from the river path is interesting.

Can you identify it ?

Standing about ten feet away and looking downhill, what do you notice about this tree ?

The living part of a tree is confined to a few inches on the outer rings behind the bark. Thus a hollow tree can live on for many years.

Look among the grass and you may see plants which will flower later on. Many are in the form of a rosette with leaves flat on the ground.

Why do they assume this shape ?

Notice that the grasses here are different from what you have seen before. The group of conifer trees lower down the hill have been planted to screen the factory from the Clubhouse. They belong to the Cupressus family of trees.

Post Ten [STAG Post at Golf Club]

As we leave Post Nine take note of this line of hedge. What purpose do you think this once had ?

Identify as many trees - in their winter outline - as possible from this open position.

What are the trees on the sides of the avenue ?

Pitfall traps along the avenue edge could be examined and the contents taken to school for study.

The sides of the avenue are good places to search for over-wintering plants and fruits.

Below are sketched of a Black Slug [left], and a Violet Ground Beetle - a useful insect - feeding on slugs' eggs [right].

Post Eleven [STAG Post 3]

The concrete block is called a trig point. There is more about this trig point on this web site: click here to see.

You can see the three attachment points on the top to which instruments can be fixed. These trig points are marked on ordnance survey maps. This can be found out later.

Note how, on this exposed part, the trees lean away from the prevailing wind. This is a good vantage point to see birds and rabbits. The large birds are almost certain to be carrion crows.

Look at the hedge and see the effect of cutting it always at one level.

Sketches of the Trig Point are shown below: An Elevation [left] and a Plan of what the top looks like showing the brass fitting to which a theodolite is fixed [right].

Post Twelve [STAG Post 5]

Go along the hedgerow.

Count the number of last year's bird nests.

The fruit on the trees (haws) show signs of having been pecked by birds. Quite a few lie at the base of the hedge.

Here also you will see the holes of voles and mice. What is their chief source of food in winter time ?

In spring this area is good for collecting wild flowers. See if there are any signs of them now.

Below are two diagrams showing how a birds feathers lock together to form a wing. The inset to the one on the left shows the hook and barb mechanism for holding the hairs together. On the right you can see how to reset the locking - pull downward to open and stroke upwards to close

Post Thirteen [STAG Post 6]

This area is the most untouched of the Park. On the left, good examples of Silver Birch are seen. The Silver Birch, when young, is not silver, and many are seen between the path and the wood on the left. These young trees are regenerating a wood which was severely damaged by gales a few years ago. They are seedling trees and protect each other by being closely crowded together. Something like this would happen to the open spaces in the Park if left untended.

The undergrowth here is very dense - compare it with what you saw in the Pine Wood.

There are many young conifers and also brambles amongst the undergrowth. Part the crown of dead leaves of the fern and see what is underneath.

On a Silver Birch tree on the right, notice a good specimen of the bracket fungus.

Post Fourteen [STAG Post 7]

As you walk along the path, look for the Sycamore samararas. If you get a dry one, toss it up in the air. What does it do ? Does it fall straight down ?

There are usually many Blue Tits here.

Look at the top of the fencing posts. The rings can be used to tell the age of the tree when felled. ONE ring is equal to one year's growth.

You will hear many rustlings from the undergrowth on both sides. These are mostly caused by birds searching for food among the dead leaves. The litter here should be collected for classroom study.

The banks are very damp.

Simple plants called Mosses and Liverworts live in these wet conditions. Take a small piece of the mossy bank for classroom study.

Choose a Post and see what each Season brings

Introduction

Spring

This is the Spring Trail; this is a time of rapid change. You will notice the great change from winter conditions. They are harder to notice, smaller changes going on all the time.

For example, some flowers appear early and last a short time, others appear later when the first flowers have gone.

Trees come into leaf at different times. Birds arrive and take up residence in the Park, one kind after another.

So you may not see all the things written about in this booklet, but you will discover other things yourself. Remember that only those who are told can pick flowers.

Summer

In summer the majority of flowers are in blossom. There are many bees, flies, and butterflies about.

Young birds have left their nests and the birds which left for winter have returned.

There is not so much change from spring to summer as there was from winter to spring.

The description for each post begins with a list of the flowers usually found in the vicinity of each post.

The flowers should not to be picked. Care should be taken where you walk and the flowers should not be trodden down.

A useful book to read before going on this trail, and to take with you, is "The Observers Book of Wild Flowers". Note: There are various editions of this book which was first published in the 1930's - try Google.

Autumn

This is the Autumn Trail, a season of preparation for winter.

The leaves of the trees change to the autumn colours and then leaf fall occurs.

Trees do not shed their leaves at the same time; take a note of those trees still in leaf.

Many birds have departed for the winter and some have arrived, for instance, blackheaded gulls are to be seen now.

You may not see all the things written about in this booklet, but you will discover other things to interest you, if you keep your eyes open and move quietly.

Remember: be careful what things you collect. If in any doubt, leave things alone.

Winter

The Winter Nature Trail has been designed to give a broad view of the varied environments found in the Linn Park.

From this, more detailed investigations of specific trees, plants and animals will be developed throughout the year.

In particular, trees which shed their leaves in the autumn (deciduous trees) can be recognised in winter by examining the colour, shape of buds and their arrangement on the bare twigs. The general outline of the tree, seen from a distance against a winter sky, can often tell us the sort of tree it is.

The silhouette sketches on page 8 explain this means of winter identification of trees.

Usually wild life hears, smells or sees us first. Only by being quiet and observant will you see any wild life at all. Two foxes sometimes visit here but are seldom seen. So keep your eyes open.

Choose somewhere along the trail a tree of your own. Identify it by its winter shape, twig and bark rubbing. Remember where it is by marking the nearest Post number down in your jotter.

You will watch what happens to your tree throughout the year. The illustrations should be used to help you in your discoveries.

Here is a score card you could copy down and fill in by ticking off those you have identified.

Trees - to find out where the trees are click here. From this page you can follow links to individual trees where we have more information.
Larch
Oak
Elm
Beech
Silver
Birch
Ash
Lime
Spruce
Scots Pine
Mountain Ash
Chestnut
Sycamore
Holly
Yew Trees
Birds - from more information on Wild Birds click here.
Carrion Crow
Starling
Blackbird
Magpie
Dipper
Black-headedGull
Owl
Thrush
Blue Tit
Mallard
Sparrow
Robin

Post One [STAG Post 2]

Spring

Starting Point to Post One

Walking down to Post One [Stag Post 2] you will see many wild flowers such as Bluebell, Primroses, Celandine, and Wood Sorrel. The Daffodils around Linn House have been naturalised," that is planted and left alone. One little plant grows under the Rhododendrons in abundance, it has two strap-like leaves.

Count how many there are in a square foot, this book open is about half that size. Many sycamore keys are found in the same places. Look at the drawing of the sycamore leaf, if you don't already know it.

These little plants are sycamore seedlings, the majority will not grow into trees. Have you any idea why not ?

Primrose flowers are of two types. Can you spot the difference ? Count how many of each type there are in a small area.

Bumble bees are seen here flying low and fairly slowly. You may see them stick their tongues into the Primrose and Rhododendron flowers looking for nectar.

Go on now to Post One [Stag Post 2]. Wood pigeons will fly off" with a clatter and give you a fright. This is the nesting season.

Above [left - and to the right what seems like a collection of bones from with these pellets] is an owl pellet as you may find it, with the contents teased out and arranged. The pellet contains bones and fur of shrews, voles and mice which the owl cannot digest. You are not likely to see any of these animals running about as they are nocturnal animals, and if you are quiet you wil l hear the pigeons cooing.

Look at the centre of the Pine wood, then at the edges. Do you see any difference ? Light is needed by plants. Where is there least light ? Mushrooms do not need light and you may find them i n the shady centre of the wood. Leave them growing as they are to develop spores. Find out the depth of the carpet of pine needles. How long did this carpet take to build up ?

Before you go to Post Two [STAG Post 9, and you will have to take a slightly different route] have a look at the lightning struck Pine Tree. A clear sticky liquid can be seen oozing out. Smell it. It is sticky. Resin is used for making varnish, for the bow of a violin, and boxers rub their boots in it to stop them slipping. Now go through the wood and look out for. Rabbit scrapes. Birds' feathers. Owl pellets of little grey bundles of fur and bones. The Owl's diet here seems to be mainly of shrews.

Summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are sketches of the Fly Agaric Toadstool [left], and the Shaggy Parasol [right].

The Fly Agaric Toadstool, easily identified by its bright red cap, is found in the pine woods.The Shaggy Parasol, which is dark brown-grey, is found in the grass on the edge of the woods.

On the right-hand side of the avenue in the wood towards Mansion House you will find:

wood sorrel, germander, speedwell, lady's-smock, comfrey, wild violet, creeping-jenny, wild strawberry, barren strawberry

The barren strawberry has a tufted habit. Its flowers and leaves are smaller than the wild strawberry. In the pinewood the new growth can be seen as it is light green in colour compared with the darker green of last year's growth. Each year's growth is m.arked off" by a whorl of leaves, these whorls can also be seen on the trunks of the trees.

Pine trees have many uses, the wood can be used for building, for making chip-board, and for paper-pulp.

A new pulp-mill has been built in the Highlands. You could find out where, and why it has been built there. [It has since closed]

There may be Toad Stools and other fungi found in the wood, some are very poisonous and are harmful even to touch

Autumn

 

The above sketches are of wind scattered seeds from trees: Sycamore Wings [left], Ash Key [middle], and Lime [left]

Walking down to Post One, you can search on the paths and under the bushes; there you will find sycamore seeds. They are formed like a propeller which scatters them away from the parent tree.

Why do you think they must be scattered ? Collect some and throw them up in the air to see how they work. Would this work better on a windy day or a calm day ?

On the right-hand side of the avenue there are wild strawberries. Careful breeding and selection of the largest ones have produced over many years the large garden strawberry.

The primroses which were abundant here in spring are still present. Look for their fleshy leaves under the bushes on the right-hand side.

The lime trees on the avenue have a propeller attached to their seeds ; see if you can find some on the path near Post One.

Winter

Above is a sketch of a dozen twigs which one might find in the park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are sketches of the foliage of two of the evergreen trees which are found in the park: a Pine [left], and Yew [right].

Pine woods are usually closely planted to make them grow tall and straight. 

Why do we want them to grow tall and straight ?

Look up and see the tufts of leaf-bearing branches.

What do these branches do to the light ?

Look at the change in colour of the pine trunk near the top.

There is something oozing out of the trunks. What do you think this is ?

Crush some fresh pine needles and smell them.

Examine the layer of dead needles.

Is there much growing at ground level ?

A pine tree near here has been struck by lightning.

See if you can find the scar.

What about the height of this tree ? Trees usually split or lose branches when struck by lightning. The heat turns the sap inside the tree into steam which bursts the tree apart.

The avenue here is bordered with lime trees. Collect pine cones and litter for the animals it may contain.

Post Two [STAG Post 9]

Spring

At Post Two [STAG Post 9] you will see a tree with a hole in it. How do you think this happened?

Added Comment: The post is behind the new fence, and difficult to see as it is quite far down what used to be a path to the river bank, so to find the tree where the wood pecker has been is nigh on impossible.

The trees on the riverside path are beginning to come into leaf. Not all trees do so at the same time. Take a note of the trees in leaf, those not in leaf, and those in flower.

Look back at the Scots Pines and you will see the cones. A short distance along the path there is an oak and an ash. Which is in leaf?

Spring time is a time of rapid change - even in a week " lifeless " trees may burst into leaf. The idea you should have is that of change from Winter to Spring.

Count the number of birds you can see as you walk along the path to Post Three [STAG Post 10].

Many more birds are about now, compared with the number in Winter.

Summer

 

 

Above is are some sketches as follows: a Rhododendron Leaf [left], a weevil [centre], and a Weevil Grub which has a brown head [right].

Dog's mercury is to be found on the river banks, it is a plant which has male and female individuals.

The Rhododendron leaves have little circles cut out of their leaves. This is caused by Weevils which use the leaf for food.

Other signs of similar activity are to be found on the bushes and trees around here. Leaf miners burrow inside leaves leaving a clear part in the leaf.

See if you can find a leaf showing these tunnels - they are clearly marked.

Weevils cause pin holes in nettles, and other Weevils cause leaves to be rolled up or folded over. See if you can find anything like this here.

Rhododendrons were brought from abroad, and were used for shelter from, game birds such as grouse and pheasant.

Autumn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are sketches of a Fairy Ring Toadstool [left] often found in patches of dark green grass, and aften near posts Thirteen and Fourteen,  and a Warted Puff Ball [right]. Some of these are poisonous.

As you walk down to Post Two in the pine woods, look out for rabbit scratches.

Many animals leave tracks which show they live in the woods.

The pine tree does not shed its leaves in autumn. Some leaf-fall occurs in May and in summer.

Because of this, many birds and small animals find shelter here in autumn and winter.

There may be toadstools and mushrooms in the wood, often on dead tree stumps. Some are poisonous and some are useful to man.

Yeast is used to bake bread and brew beer. Penicillin is a mould used in cheese making. Penicillin is also made from a mould.

Fairy rings are caused by a mushroom. You can collect feathers, owl pellets, pine cones, as you walk through the pine wood.

Winter

Key to the commoner Terretrail Invertebrates,

1 Segmented animal, i.e. with a series of rings round the body ... see 2 below
Not segmented ...see 9 below

2. Segmented animal with jointed legs ...see 3 below
Segmented animal without legs ... EARTHWORM

3. Animal with THREE pairs of legs and often wings ... INSECT
Animal with FOUR (or more) pairs of legs .. see 4 below

4. Animal with many pairs of legs ... see 5 below
Animal with FOUR pairs of legs ... see 7 below

5. Oval shaped animals: 7 pairs of legs, 14 segments or less ... WOODLOUSE
Elongated body, more than 7 pairs of legs, more than 14 segments ... see 6 below

6. Animal with ONE pair of legs on almost every segment ... CENTIPEDE
Animal with TWO pairs of legs on almost every segment ... MILLIPEDE

7. Body of TWO regions - front only having legs ... SPIDERS
Body NOT divided into regions ... see 8 below

8. Legs short, LESS than 4 times body length ... MITES & TICKS
Legs long, MORE than 4 times body length ... HARVEST SPIDER

9. Minute, unsegmented worm ... NEMATODE
Soft bodied, unsegmented slimy animal ... SNAIL or SLUG

The Rhododendron leaves droop in very cold weather.

Why do they do this ?

Look at the branches of Rhododendrons end-on.

  • How are the leaves arranged ?
  • Why are the leaves arranged in this way ?

The leaves are usually glossy, but some are sooty.

Greenflies living on the trees above drop sticky honey-dew on to the leaves. Soot sticks to the honey-dew.

Collect some litter for the animals it contains. (See above).

Witches' brooms are seen on the trees near the river towards the bridge.

Can you identify the trees on which they are growing

Stop: Look: Listen: Keep perfectly still.

Note all the sounds you hear of movement under the bushes on the bank, and the flight of birds in and about the opposite river bank.

Sometimes the Dipper can be spotted here.

Post Three [STAG Post 10]

Spring

The trees on the left have an unusual bark. Touch the bark. Would you say it is soft and papery ? The tree, a Cupressus is protected by many layers of thin bark, whilst most trees have one layer of thick bark. The bright red colour is unusual too.

Starlings are often seen here. Many thousands roost in the city centre. Why do they do this ? Watch how they behave. They walk, stop, drive their sharp beaks into the grass.

What do you think they are searching for ? Think of the many thousand starlings in the city. Does this make you wonder how many insects they will eat in one year ?

Do you think starlings are helpful to man -

  • in the countryside ?
  • in the city centre ?

This is a Starling [More bird pictures in the Wild Life, Wild Birds section of this web site]

The beech trees on the left [on the steep bank to the river] are very tall. Can you guess how high they are ? Jot down your guess. Later you will be shown how to estimate tree height. You may have tripped over tree roots on the path.

  • Why does a tree have roots ?
  • Where has the earth gone which at one time covered these roots.
  • Could you measure how much earth has gone ?
  • Did you know that roughly speaking the spread of roots underground is the same as the spread of leaves overhead ?

Summer

On the left-hand side towards Castle there are wild violets and dog's mercury.

On the right-hand side: hawk's beard, hawkbit, plantain lanceolata, knapweed, ragwort, sorrel, buttercup, shepherd's purse.

There are usually a few different kinds of birds in this part of the trail.

Above you will see a diagram of a bird with all the parts labelled which are used to describe a bird.

The next bird you see try and see all the parts which are labelled.

Autumn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Above are sketches of trees and the movement of water in Winter [left] and Summer [right]

As you walk along the path look to the left at the grass on the slope. What colour is it now ? Can you remember what it was like in the summer ?

The trees on the left have begun to shed their leaves. Why do some trees shed their leaves ? Part of the answer is shown in the drawing above.

In winter the soil is cold and often frozen. The leaves of a tree give off the water taken in at the roots.

Can you finish the reason yourself? What happens to the leaves which gather on the ground ? Why do some gardeners collect the leaves and put them on the ' compost' heap ?

The small triangular shaped ' nuts ' that are plentiful on the ground here are mostly ' shells ' of the Beech nut - mice have already eaten the small kernels inside.

Winter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above a re skeches of four trees: Elm [top left], Oak [top right], Beech [bottom left], and Sycamore [bottom right]

The Frenchman, Deschamp, built a paper-mill here because of the abundance of water. The weir ensures a constant supply of water. The water may have powered the machinery.

The sluices and spillways can be seen. The water falling over the weir is yellow tinged as it is polluted.

Notice the steep cliffs cut by the river especially on the near or outside curve of the river.

Added comment: the weir failed, there was a landslide, and the factory buildings were demolished. It is now fenced off and in theor inaccessible.

There are a number of Beech trees on the pathway. They have a smooth blue-grey bark and have green spongy material growing mostly on one side.

  • Which side is it ?
  • Why?

Pick up the fallen leaves here and find out what they are.

Are they from evergreen or deciduous trees ?

When would you expect to find evergreen tree leaves on the ground ?

Beech leaves do not rot easily and the parallel side veins are easily seen. They make the best compost for manuring the garden.

Post Four [No Post]

Spring

Added Comment: Post Four was removed. As you pass the end of the high security green fence [???] after a few yards turn left down the old path, and thence to the river.

Look towards the castle and you will see many trees in flower. These are Wild Cherry or Gean Trees. Have a closer look at them later.

Turn left and go down to river bank. Look at the tree's nests as you go down. Go down on to the sand bank.

There is a little cliff" which you can study with the aid of the drawing. The sandstone has worn away to make sand. When you get to the quarry remember this drawing.

Wild strawberries are found here. Do you see how small they are compared with garden strawberries.


Although the Kingfisher lives here it is unlikely you will see it. But it is such an attractive bird it is worth looking for. There are lots of pictures on the River Birds page under Wild Life.

Summer

Added Comment: Post Four was removed. As you pass the end of the high security green fence [???] after a few yards turn left down the old path, and thence to the river.

On the opposite river bank: butter-bur and wild garlic.

On the park side: speedwell, white clover, milfoil.

On the Castle slopes:- wild hyacinth, bishop weed, purple loose strife, lady's-mantle, bed straw.

Up the river there are high cliffs, these cliffs show layers of rock laid one on top of the other.

Some of these layers contain the remains of sea-shells. These remains are called fossils and are many millions of years old.

This part was once under the sea. We know this from the fossils which tell us of the past history of the earth.

The diagram above shows a section with different layers of rock something like the river-cliff.

On the left is an elm tree covered with ivy. This tree will die because the ivy has ' stem roots ' which penetrate the living tissue and rob the tree of sap.

Autumn

Below are sketches of the various Water Animals [Freshwater Invertebrates] that you might find at this post:

From the left: Freshwater Shrimp, Water Louse, Pond Skater, Air Bubble Whirligig Beetle, Water Boatmen - which can aloso swim on it's back,  and a Daphnia.

From the bottom left: Water Fleas, Water Snail, Water Knat, Leech, Catch Beetle Larva, Large Water Beetle

If you are wearing Wellingtons you can lift the flat stones and most likely find some. Let them go again [in the old Information Room there are specimens for a closer study].

From here you can see the roots of many of the trees which help to hold up the steep bank on the left.

Look across the river and you will see what happens to the earth without the trees.

The river is often very high just now and a spate turns up much food for birds and water fowl. This is a good observation post for spotting them.

Look up into the oak tree on the right hand side of the river path. Can you see the small round ' oak apples ' or galls. An insect causes these.

You may find some galls on the ground - each with a little hole where the gall fly escaped.

Winter

Above are sketches of a Blue Tit, a Wren, and a Dipper.

Notice the overhang on the opposite bank of the river. The Dipper nests here. This bird can walk under water in its search for food. Its body is streamlined. Why?

The Black-headed Gull can be seen patrolling this stretch of water.

The small island is visited by a variety of birds. Can you recognise any ?

On the side of the river, sand is deposited on the inside curve.

  • Where does this sand come from ?
  • Why is it deposited there ?

Look for the drains running into the river.

  • Does the water look clean ?
  • What do you think happens to river-life as a result of all this waste pouring into the river ?
  • Do you think this pollution of the river should stop ?

Examine the plant life on the old tennis courts and on the slopes near-by.

Post Five [STAG Post 12]

Spring

Added Comment: Post Five [STAG Post 12] when this was written was beside the channel which fed the Water Wheel at the Snuff Mill. It is why the Bridge has two arches: one for the river and a smaller on forthe discharge from the wheel. Not only that but the weir had not collapsed either. See Some Postcards, and the one called Beside the river below the castle..

As you walk along you may see Mallards, the drake is brightly coloured, the duck is drab. They may have ducklings.

Look out for the many flies on the water surface. Birds are always busy collecting these flies.

In the river are eels, stickleback [above left], loach [above centre], minnow [above left]. The stickleback builds an underwater nest for its eggs and takes care of the young until they can fend for themselves.

On the castle bank are many bluebells, unfortunately they don't last when pulled. The yellow coltsfoot has a clock like a dandelion. Tease out one on your hand and you will see it has a seed with a parachute. See how far they drift in the wind.

Near the gate on the left-hand side stand and take a good sniff. What do you smell ? Wild garlic is found here and the smell is made stronger if a leaf is rubbed between the fingers.

Walking from Post Five [STAG Post 12] to Post Six [STAG Post 13] look out for the bright yellow star-like flowers on the bank.

There is a drawing of the Celandine plant shown with Post Ten [at the Golf Club].

Summer

Above are sketches of a Ladybird Larva, which feeds on greenfly pests and has 4 pairs of bright orange spots, [left], a Seven-spot Ladybird - a useful insect [middle left], a Lacewing (at rest) [middle right], and a Hover Fly [left].

At the Snuffmill you can find: celandine, wild garlic, woodruft. Toadflax - the wild snapdragon which is grown in gardens. Squeeze one of the little flowers and see it open like a mouth.

And on the bank: red campion, cowparsley, wild cress, goosegrass - also called cleavers. Why do you think it has this other name ?

The wild garlic at the gate can usually be smelled a distance away.

Over the river there are many flying insects. Some are eaten by fish, that is why fishermen use artificial flies to catch fish.

Some of these flies have a very short life. The May-fly lives as a fly only a few days but lives under-water as a larva for over a year.

Dragon flies are only rarely seen, as are Damsel or Lacewing flies, Caddis flies and Hover flies.

Toadflax is growing out of the parapet of the bridge.

In olden days, stage coaches passed over this bridge going from Glasgow to Kilmarnock. It was built in 1624.

Autumn

Above are sketches of a Robin, a Dunlin, and a Yellow Hammer. Click here to see more about the birds in the park.

Do you know the name of this river ? Find it out.

The Winter guide book tells you more about the Snuff-mill and the Weir. [Later in class get a survey map of the area. Click here to see the article on the river on this web site]

  • Find out where the river goes.
  • Find out where the river comes from.
  • Find out where the river Clyde comes from.

The 'mallard duck' may be still seen here. Many birds feed on the riverbank and the ones drawn opposite may be there.

Has the robin re-appeared around your school or home ? Look at the ivy on the cliff to the Castle. Ivy is a climbing plant; its stem has clinging roots.

Do you know any other climbing plants ?

The old bridge was built in 1624, nearly four hundred years ago.

Winter

Notice the crows' nests in the tree tops as you leave the Park Gates. In winter, the leafless trees allow bird-life to be easily seen.

The old Snuff-Mill is a relic of the flourishing tobacco trade of the 18th Century. The import of tobacco from Virginia, Maryland and Carolina helped to establish Glasgow as an important port. The trade passed to England after the American War of Independence.

The sluice and weir were built to supply water to the mill owned by Solomon Lindsay.

In the quiet waters behind the weir. Mallard Duck are often seen ; the plumage of the drake is striking.

The slopes up to the Castle would be a difficult obstacle to an attacking enemy. The loose earth of the slopes is bound by Ivy.

On the opposite bank of the river the slopes are terraced.

Why is this done ?

What happens to the soil on the near-by unterraced slopes ?

Just above the water level on the opposite bank there is a different kind of rock out-crop.

How does it differ from the out-crop seen at the quarry ?

Look for pipes draining waste into the river.

Do you notice any difference in the vegetation growing near this flow of drainage water ?

Mallard, Blacke headed Gull, Carrion Crow, Moor Hen

Post Six [STAG Post 13]

Spring

There is not only a change from winter to spring. Look at Battlefield map [above, the Castle is at the very bottom], and then out over the city.

Added Comment: A historian comments "Quite why Queen Mary would camp within easy cross bow shot of an enemy castle suggests she was never there !".

There has been quite a change.

Can you think of anything that has changed a lot in your life time ?

The castle has been long unoccupied by man. [It had NOT been knocked down when the guide was written] Its old walls have become the home of many different kinds of plants. Can you see ferns, grasses, trees, mosses and lichens ?

The pigeons are unlike those seen in the woods as they are mostly domesticated pigeons which have gone wild.

Count how many you can see in a minute.

Summer

On the path towards Post Seven: Periwinkle, chickweed, wild raspberry.

At the beginning of summer there are usually plenty of swallows to see. In late summer they all disappear.

Swallows, as well as many other birds, go to warmer countries such as South Africa for winter. This is called migration. The swallow's journey is very long. Find out its length from an atlas.

Some birds come from cold countries to Great Britain in the winter.

Geese come from Greenland and Iceland, find out where these countries are on a map and the length of a goose migration.

If you look at a map of Glasgow you will find many streets associated with the Battle of Langside. Look in the map for:

  • Queen Mary Street,
  • Regent Moray Street,
  • Battlefield Road.

The old map is shown in the Spring Section for Post Six.

Autumn

Above are sketches of a Sycamore - a new bud on a leaf scar [left], and a Horse Chestnut showing next years bud at the top, and a leaf scar half way down [top.]

At the entrance there is a chestnut tree.

You may be able to see a twig. These twigs show horse-shoe marks where the leaf used to be.

Look for a dead leaf on the ground and find the dots that match those on the leaf scar.

The buds for next year's growth are well protected against the damp by a sticky varnish-like coat.

There are many pigeons around the Castle, and rooks nest in the trees around here. [Not since the castle was demolished]

See how many you can count.

Look for a hornbeam leaf on the ground, carry it with you to Post Seven, and compare it with the Beech leaf.

Winter

 Above are sketches of a Hazel Nut damaged by Weevils [left], Marble Gall on an Oak Tree, Witches Broom on a Birch Tree, and a Hazel Nut after being eaten by a Squirrel.

Abobe a sketches of cone damage by a Vole Squirrel [left], and by a Woodpecker, a Pine cone, a Spruce cone, and a Larch cone [right].

This stone marks the site from which Mary, Queen of Scots, is supposed to have watched the Battle of Langside, but the battlefield is far away, and the Castle was occupied by her enemy. The truth of the legend is doubted by many people.

The stone is a replica. The original stone is in the Art Galleries, Glasgow.

Can you decipher the letters of the monogram ?

The battle was over at 10 o'clock in the morning, after about 300 soldiers were killed. Mary fled to England, to her cousin Queen Elizabeth.

To see the article on the Battle of Langside on this web site, click here.

Notice the twisted trunks and branches of the Hornbeam trees : they are easily distinguished from Beech by the bark.

The Elm tree to the right has a Witch's Broom.

This can be caused by a fungus or a tick penetrating the bark and activating this abnormal growth you see.

Walnut Burred Veneer is obtained from a similar growth.

At the gate there is a Chestnut tree. Look at the bark. The horse-shoe marks on the twigs are easily seen. The buds appear to be sticky.

Note the dominant position of the Castle from this side. The walls are ten feet thick.

Bushes have managed to take root on top of the walls. Pigeons nest inside.

Near the gate there is an Ash tree stump. There are many little shoots growing on it.

Collect an ash twig.

 

This is a good place to examine closer the different formations of rock. Before leaving Post Six look at the granite plaque.

Compare this with the whinstone quarry. The red colour is due to red Felspar intermingled with particles of black Mica.

 

 

 

 

Try and find a piece of rock showing streaks or veins of white mica as seen in the left hand pice of rock.

The piece shown to the immediate left is called Pudding Stone rock.

Post Seven [No Post]

Spring

 

 

Above in a line are pictures of a Swift, a House Martin, and a Swallow; below a larger one of a Swallow. 

Added Comment: Post Seven has been lost, but you are standing in the old Quarry. There is another Quarry just to the east of the Court Knowe monument.

Look at the Soil Profile and the quarry and then turn back to that drawn for Post 4 [Lost, but down near the River Bank].

What diflferences can you see ?

The green algae on the rock faces is not so easily seen as in winter. It needs water and the rock face is now dry.

The Tree Creeper is often seen here climbing up the vertical walls in its search for insects.

If you carefully lift the larger stones you may find Centipedes, Millipedes, Beetles and Wood Louse. Why do they stay under the stones ?

Look to the castle and you will see birds which you may think are swallows. Make sure by using the drawings opposite.

The swallow has just arrived from its winter home in Africa, a journey of thousands of miles. How do you think it finds its way there and back ?

Look up an atlas and trace the journey of the swallows from South Africa to Great Britain. The route drawn on (Post Six under the Summer) will help you.

Summer

Added Comment: Post Seven has been lost, but you are standing in the old Quarry. There is another Quarry just to the east of the Court Knowe monument.

Under the stones in the quarry look for insects such as wood-lice, ants, small cream slugs, and on the quarry face, slugs and snails. Replace the stones as they are the homes of these animals.

The pleurococcus is much drier and less green than before. If the weather has been dry it is powdery, but when rain comes it soaks up water like a sponge.

On several of the faces there are long scars which are the traces of the quarry-men's work. The quarry is part of a Dyke on which the Castle also sits.

A section shows the path of the dyke cut by a quarry, a road, and a river.

The good defensive position of the Castle is brought out.

Autumn

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are sketches of Hornbeam Leaves [the two on the left], and the Common Beech [right]. What is the other one ? [middle right].

Compare the fallen Hornbeam leaves between Posts Six and Seven. 

As you go down the path to the quarry look for the beech tree at the right of the park gate.

It is the largest in the park. [Taken down 2016-17] There are other very tall beech trees

When you go down to it try and measure its diameter. But from here you can get an idea of its height.

The beech is closely related to the hornbeam which you can see here.

The difference in leaf is illustrated above. See if you can find one of each kind. You should still have the one you brought from near Post Six.

Now look at the hedgerow beech at the roadside boundary of the park.

The leaves remain on the twigs all winter. They fall off large mature trees in autumn because these are not trimmed into artificial hedges.

Winter

Where the bed-rock sticks out Uke this it is called an outcrop. This outcrop has been dug into by man and is called - what ?

This outcrop is of a very hard rock called whinstone. Find out what whinstone is used for.

Look for vertical cracks or joints in the rock. There are joints running in another direction. What shapes do these two sets of joints make ? With what are the rock faces covered ? This green material belongs to a class of plants called algae.

Look around and see where else this algae grows.

Water can get into the joints. What happens when this water freezes ?

  • What else grows into the cracks ?
  • What will the roots do as they grow thicker ?

Some of the square blocks look quite loose. Through time they will fall down. This breaking up of the rock face by water, wind, frost and root growth is called: ' Weathering.'

As you go up the path look out for:

  • a regenerating tree,
  • a silver birch tree,
  • hornbeams with the twisted bark.

Post Eight [STAG Post 11]

Spring

 

Here you can improve on your guess on the height of a tree. Look at the diagram and follow these instructions.

  • Using the left hand diagram:
    • Hold a pencil at arm's length.
    • Put the tip of the pencil so that it appears at the top of the tree and the thumb at the base of the tree.
    • Do not move the thumb after this.
  • Now use the right hand diagram:
    • Keep pencil at arms length and turn it parallel to the ground.
    • A boy walks from the base of the tree and is signalled to stop when he appears at the pencil tip.

Measure the distance from the base of the tree to the boy. This is the height of the tree. What do you think about your guess now ?

A string with the feet marked by a knot is used in this estimate.

Added Comment: Points to note. First is the use of the word "boy" which these days might be considered inappropriate. Second is that this is a really good example of basic trigononmetry. Last is that a "knotted string" was agood way to measure distances - in this case "feet". But in those days we had Rods [40 to a chain], Chains [22 yards or length of a cricket pitch], and 10 Chains to a Furlong. Life was so easy !

And see the hidden message in the pencils from G.C.E.D "Learn your kerb drill"

Summer

Above are sketches of the following tree leaves: Oak [left], Birch, Sycamore, Lime, Beech, and Elm [right]

Above are sketches of the following tree leaves: Holly [left], Willow, Horse Chestnut, and a common Multi Leaved Ash [right].

Around the tree bases look for: yarrow and milfoil.

When you reach this Post look back and you will see the section with the dyke, as shown on the previous post: Summer - Post Seven.

The trees should be examined for flowers or fruits. The height, age, and the spread of the branches of the trees can be estimated - see Spring for this post.

This part of the trail is favourite breeding ground - in the meadow land - for the Daddy-long-legs.

Its larvae feed on grass roots and do much damage to lawns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are sketches of a Leatherjacker Crane Fly Larvae [left], and a Daddy-long-legs - the Crane Fly Adult [right].

Look around under the trees here and try spotting for Daddy-long-legs in flight.

As you walk up the meadow from Post Eight look at the tall ash tree on the right. The leaves do not have the usual 5-7 or more leaflets (See the drawing of a above). It is the uncommon single leaved Ash. For more on trees on this web site click here. The Single Leaved Ash [Fraxinus excelsior f. diversifolia] is at point 191.

Autumn

You can measure the age and height of the trees here [One method is described under Spring]. There used to be a large house here built across the pathway.

The family who lived in the Castle [The Earl of Cathcart] built it, after the Castle became too old, using many of the ruin stones. When that house became too old, its stones were used to build a rockery near the river, now even this is covered with grass.

The tennis courts can be seen near the river. The grass is still different from the surrounding grass even after all these years.

Can you guess why ?

Do you think it was comfortable living in a castle ?

Autumn is a good time to find a fallen leaf of the single-leaved Ash (-monophylla) mentioned in the Summer section. It would add interest to a collection of pressed leaves.

Winter

Leaving Post Seven and entering the Park Gates, notice the very large tree near the entrance. It is supposed to be the oldest tree in the Park. How is it easily recognised ? Find out its radius and use the rule 1/10th inch r = 1 year's growth.

On the wall to the left of the Castle there are a number of square holes. These are called ' Bee-Boxes ' - honey was the only source of sugar available when the Castle was occupied. [Of course since the castle was demolished ...]

The trees here are accessible for bark rubbing and identification. At about 6 feet up on one tree there is a little water-filled hole. This may cause a hollow tree to be formed.

If it dries out, it could be used for what purpose ?

This could be caused by a branch being torn off. Notice the smooth bark around the edge of the hole - this is wound healing tissue made by the tree.

Look down towards the river. The Evergreens are planted for a purpose.

What do you think this purpose is ?

Post Nine [STAG Post 14]

Spring

"Elimination" key for the Indentification of common Lawn Grasses in the Vegetative State

Start at 1, deciding which group the sample fits best, then move to the number indicated at the end of the line until the sample is identified.

1. Leaves narrow and bristle-like: RED FESCUE
Leaves not narrow and bristle-like .... see 2 below

2. Leaves flattened with boat-shaped tip .... see 3 below
Leaf tips not boat-shaped ....see 4 below

3. Short tufted grass with broad leaves (often puckered in parts), usually with flowering heads: ANNUAL MEADOW-GRASS 
Grass with rhizomes (underground stems) and long leaves with parallel sides: SMOOTH-STALKED MEADOW-GRASS

4. Leaves hairy, pink veins at base of shoots: YORKSHIRE FOG
Leaves not hairy .... see 5 below

5. Leaves glossy below, shoot bases red: PERENNIAL RYE-GRASS
Leaves dull and fine, shoot bases not red: BENT-GRASS

At Post Nine [STAG Post 11], Try to identify as many grasses as possible using the Key.

Added Comment: These days, the park is somewhat overgrown between Linn View Avenue and the tarmac path. Following the old path is not easy. See the STAG page, where there are now two STAG posts numbered 14 - one is somewhat newer ! 

There are often larks singing around here. The grass is now green compared with the brown winter grass. If you part the grass you will see most of the dead winter grass underneath. The dead grass returns valuable substances to the soil, just like leaf litter does.

The farmer prefers rye and bent-grass for grazing cattle. The gardener prefers fescue grasses for ornamental lawns. See also Post Nine under Summer.

Summer

Look for Meadow plants such as sorrel, buttercup, daisy, ragwort, gorse, and speedwell.

[Added Comment: The park here has been left to grow wild and a lot of the grass land has disappeared]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are two images of Grass Flowers: On the left is a sketch with the Immature Stigmas Out, whereas on the right is a sketch with the Mature Stamens Out.

Grasses are very important crops. Notice the different kinds of grass leaves - some are broad and rough to feel - others smooth and round. Below is a list of how farmers store grass:

  • Hay: The grass is cut when it is flowering. The dried hay is stacked loose or compressed into bales. Hay is fed to livestock in winter. Two crops of hay can be taken from each field. [A new method is called "Haylage"]
  • Silage: The grass is cut before flowering. The freshly cut grass is put into a silo or silage pit, rolled by a tractor to keep out the air. Silage is fed to livestock in winter. Most farmers make both hay and silage.
  • Grazing: The livestock graze the grass as it grows; eventually the meadow becomes so poor it has to be ploughed up.

The meadows here have not been grazed for a number of years, so many plants other than grasses have been able to grow. Pick a few grass-heads and examine the flowers which are drawn opposite.

Autumn

Elimination Key for identification of Common Lawn Grass Seeds.

Start at No. 1, comparing the seed with a matchstick (which is 2 mm. square). Decide which group the seed fits best and move to the number indicated at the end of the line until the seed is identified.

1. Seeds less than 2 mm. long... BENT-GRASS
eeds about 2 mm. long ... see 2 below
Seeds more than 2mm. long ... see 3 below

2. Seeds dull and triangular in section ... SMOOTH-STALKED MEADOW GRASS
Seeds shiny ... YORKSHIRE FOG (shelled)

3. Seeds with a terminal bristle (awn) ... RED FESCUE
Seeds without a bristle ... see 4 below

4. Seeds with short stalk (rachilla) at base ... PERENNIAL RYE-GRASS
Seeds without short basal stalk but with papery covering bracts YORKSHIRE FOG (unshelled)

What to use for a lawn

  • BEST lawn seed - Red Fescue with Bent-grass.
  • CHEAP lawn seed - mostly Perennial Rye-grass.

Try to identify as many grasses as possible using the key. This is a favourite feeding ground for rooks - watch how they feed. Birds will let you come only so close and then they fly off.

Look in the Summer guide book at Post Ten. Some birds let you come close; others are more timid; try this out.

Can you name any of them ?

The house sparrow is perhaps the least timid of all.

The dead brown grass protects the new grass in the spring and retains valuable food in the ground. Most of the wild flowers seen here during the summer are now producing seed heads.

Find how many you can recognise.

What is the difference between wild plants growing on the mown path and those in the long uncut meadow ?

Winter

Additional Comment: The castle has gone, and the undergrowth has got out of control !

This is a good vantage point to see the Castle and its strong position.

In what direction are we looking now ?

The tree third up from the river path is interesting.

Can you identify it ?

Standing about ten feet away and looking downhill, what do you notice about this tree ?

The living part of a tree is confined to a few inches on the outer rings behind the bark. Thus a hollow tree can live on for many years.

Look among the grass and you may see plants which will flower later on. Many are in the form of a rosette with leaves flat on the ground.

Why do they assume this shape ?

Notice that the grasses here are different from what you have seen before. The group of conifer trees lower down the hill have been planted to screen the factory from the Clubhouse. They belong to the Cupressus family of trees.

Post Ten [STAG Post at Golf Club]

Spring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are drawings of the Lesser Celandine [left], note the Root Tubers at the bottom, and the Foxglove's Rosette [right].

Along the hedgerow you may find birds' nests by looking upwards.

At the base of the hedge you will find Celandine, Dandelion, Coltsfoot, Bluebells.

You will find Sticky Willy. Do you know why it is sticky ? What good does it do the plant to be sticky ?

There are nettles here too, they will sting if touched lightly. This is caused by very fine hairs piercing the skin.

The old cure for nettle sting is a rub with Dock Leaf, but in fact this is not correct.

The Hawthorn Hedge has not got a sting. How does it protect itself ?

Some berries are still to be found on the Hawthorn, what colour are they ? Do you know what feeds on these berries ?

The large fleshy leaves of Foxglove can be seen here. These leaves store food throughout the winter and the food is used up in early spring. This plant was used as a medicine at one time, perhaps you could find out what it was used for.

Summer

 

Above are sketched of a Yellow Hammer, a Green Finch and a Goldfinch

Look for Sow thistle, and Goose grass [Sticky Willy].

Besides the parts of the bird, there are other clues to identifying birds.

  1. Size Bigger or smaller than a sparrow.
  2. Shape Slim or stout, wings short or long, pointed or rounded.
  3. Posture A robin has a " cheeky " posture.
  4. Colour Use the parts of bird as shown in the diagram to describe the colour, i.e. a robin has a red breast. A blue tit has a black crown.
  5. Flight The up and down flight of a wagtail and the bee-line of a starling.
  6. Walk A starling walks, a sparrow hops.
  7. Song Many birds are easily identified by song and named after their song, peeweet, chiff'-chaff', owl.
  8. Habitat Where the bird is usually seen. Sparrows around houses, gulls near water, larks over open meadows.

For more information on birds that have been seen recently in the park, click here.

Autumn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are sketches of Hawthorn [left], and a Wild Rose (Hips) [right].

The hedgerow bears many berries; these will be the main food of birds in the winter.

The berries may be scarred and inside you will find the seeds.

Many berries have attractive colours. Can you think of some red-coloured berries ? Why are they made attractive ?

There may be a nest or two in the hedgerow; look at it but do not touch it.

Each bird builds its own design of nest. So different looking nests belong to different kinds of birds. Look at the material of the nests, and imagine the trouble it is to build one.

At the base of the hedge you will see the thick fleshy leaves of fox-glove and some of its flowers may still be there.

Winter

As we leave Post Nine take note of this line of hedge. What purpose do you think this once had ?

Identify as many trees - in their winter outline - as possible from this open position.

What are the trees on the sides of the avenue ?

Pitfall traps along the avenue edge could be examined and the contents taken to school for study.

The sides of the avenue are good places to search for over-wintering plants and fruits.

Below are sketched of a Black Slug [left], and a Violet Ground Beetle - a useful insect - feeding on slugs' eggs [right].

Post Eleven [STAG Post 3]

Spring

Above are sketches of the Ash [left] - with its pur[ple flowers which come before the leaves, Elem [middle], and Birch Catkins [right]. 

As you walk up the road across the Golf Course, as you set off look for the Silverweed near the brick tank. This plant is often found on the sea shore.

Strong winds sweep up this hill blowing from right to left, and have twisted the Hawthorn hedge.

To repair a gap on this wind-breaking hedge a double row of birches has been planted on the left-hand side. Why do you think a double row was planted ?

The plant Sweet Woodruff is found here, rub its leaves and smell - you will find out why it got its name.

A little further along on the left a large ash tree bears small purple red flowers and no leaves.

Go up to the Trig Point and see if you can see the University Tower and the Campsie Hills. Try and get a survey map and find this trig point on it. 'Trig' is short for trigonometry. See the article on View Points for more information.

Near here you will find:

  • A Chestnut with its candles.
  • An Ash with last year's keys still attached.
  • Lamb's tails on Birches.
  • Carrion Crows, Gulls, Starlings, Larks and Chaffinches.

Summer

Shown above are a sketch of a Rose, a Greenfly, an Insect Eater, and an Owl - see below.

Look for Wild Rose, Wild Mustard, Wild Violets. At the golf club: hogweed, oxalis, rose bay, mare's-tail, fool's parsley, wood sorrel - with leaves like clover.

On the rose bushes you may see, especially on new growth, little green insects called greenfly. These feed on the sap of the rose.

Many different kinds of birds feed on these greenflies.

The bird itself may in turn be eaten by a hawk or an owl. This eating of one another is called a food chain.

For example: a Rose - is eaten by - a Greenfly - is eaten by - a Bird - is eaten by - a Hawk.

At the beginning of a food chain is a plant. At the end of a food chain is a carnivore or meat-eater. Try and work out other food chains. You could be the last link in a food chain.

Examine any fallen trees as you walk through the woods to Post Twelve.

Why do the roots grow only in the top layers of soil ?

Autumn

Avoe are sketches of a Butterfly [left], a Moth [middle], and a Bee [right]

In early autumn there are a few butterflies here.

Can you tell the difference between a moth and a butterfly ?

  • At rest the butterfly holds its wings above its body like a root.
  • The moth holds its wings flat.
  • The moth looks hairy and is mostly dull coloured.

There are a few bees and wasps about here and the path through the wood.

  • Do you know why wasps become a pest in autumn ?
  • Have you seen a wasp's bike ?
  • What do they seem to become very fond of all of a sudden ?

Here you will be able to see a chestnut tree, an ash tree and a rowan tree.

The trig, point is a good observation point, you could draw a simple map of your surroundings from here.

"Trig" is short for " trigonometry " - a branch of mathematics dealing with angles in surveying. Why is a position chosen like this one ?

The Winter guide book tells you more about this ' triangulation station.'

Winter

The concrete block is called a trig point. There is more about this trig point on this web site: click here to see.

You can see the three attachment points on the top to which instruments can be fixed. These trig points are marked on ordnance survey maps. This can be found out later.

Note how, on this exposed part, the trees lean away from the prevailing wind. This is a good vantage point to see birds and rabbits. The large birds are almost certain to be carrion crows.

Look at the hedge and see the effect of cutting it always at one level.

Sketches of the Trig Point are shown below: An Elevation [left] and a Plan of what the top looks like showing the brass fitting to which a theodolite is fixed [right].

Post Twelve [STAG Post 5]

Spring

Added Comment. A few years ago two things happened to the top wood: first was the clearance of the rhododendrons which had got wholly out of control, and second was the construction of the zig zag path and the path around the top wood which for the most part followed the old farm road. However, the rhododendrons are making a small comeback ! Many of pines on the southsidevof the top wood have now been felled. Lastly, there no longer any small animal and insect traps.

As you walk along here some of the Rhododendrons will be already in flower, in the others look for the large bud which shelters the flowers till spring.

Some of the Rhododendron leaves have little notches out, this is done by insects.

Look under these bushes and see if anything grows there. The answer, you will have found out, is very little. The reason is it is dark and dry.

At about the end of the path you will see very tall grasses - this is Yorkshire Fog. Here you will find Wood Sorrel the leaves of which are bitter. Look for the uncurling fronds of bracken and fern. Try and spot the difference.

Bracken appears singly out of the ground.

Ferns here grow in a circle round a centre crown.

The Elder trees on the right are in flower, the berries are made into wine.

You will see in this Pine wood many of the features found in the Pine wood at Post One [STAG Post 2].

Post Two in the Winter section has an identification key which will help you to identify any insects.

Summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are sketches of some Eggs [top left], a Caterpillar [top right], a Pupa [lower left], and an Adult Butterfly [lower right].

There are often Butterflies around here. If you examine leaves and buds you may find the butterfly caterpillar and even eggs. The caterpillar feeds on leaves and the adult butterfly may feed on an entirely different food, for example, nectar. The stages of a Cabbage White butterfly are shown opposite.

If you find caterpillars these can be reared in the classroom.

Lookout for these plants: Rosebay, willow-herb, mare's-tail, rose campion.

There are many different sorts of grasses here. Compare them with those seen in the meadow from Posts Eight, Nine, and Ten.

Rosebay willow herb is sometimes called fire weed. There are two reasons given for this name. See if you can find them out.

The bark of fallen trees - especially on old rotting trunks - is the ideal home for many small insects.

In the old days, these could have been seen and named in the Information Centre at the end of the trail.

If you lift the bark, be sure to replace it. There are useful insects as well as harmful ones.

Autumn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sketches of a Bramble or Blackberry [left], and a Wild Raspberry [right]

There are many bramble bushes here, and a few raspberry bushes on the right-hand side of the path.

  • Both fruits are used for jam-making and wild ones taste best.
  • But before you eat them make sure there are no grubs inside because other animals use them as food besides humans.

There are hawthorn berries along this path ; see if you can find them.

On the dead tree stumps is bracket fungus which draws its food from the dead wood.

The wood ferns have died down and if you look under the leaves you will see the places which produce the seeds or spores of the plant.

The dead curled leaves protect the plant from the cold.

What has happened to most of the tree leaves since the summer ?

The tree has withdrawn all the green colour material and they are now in their autumn colours of gold, red, brown and even pink.

Which are the most brilliant ?

Winter

Go along the hedgerow.

Count the number of last year's bird nests.

The fruit on the trees (haws) show signs of having been pecked by birds. Quite a few lie at the base of the hedge.

Here also you will see the holes of voles and mice. What is their chief source of food in winter time ?

In spring this area is good for collecting wild flowers. See if there are any signs of them now.

Below are two diagrams showing how a birds feathers lock together to form a wing. The inset to the one on the left shows the hook and barb mechanism for holding the hairs together. On the right you can see how to reset the locking - pull downward to open and stroke upwards to close

Post Thirteen [STAG Post 6]

Spring

Above are sketches of a Violet Ground Beetle [left], a Devil' s Coachman [middle], and a Dor-Beetle [right].

Above are sketches of a Centipede [left], a Woodlouse [middle left], a Millipede [middle right], and an Ant [right].

Brambles are already in flower. They also have spines to protect them from animals which try to eat the leaves.

For those who require it, an advanced key to flowering plants is included as many wild flowers are to be found here. [Note: enter link]

Below are sketches of Liverwort [left], and Moss [right.]

Summer

Above are sketches of a Phalangiola or Harvest man: this looks like a spider but is not as the head and body are all one, an Araneae or Garden Spider, and a Woodlouse or Slater.

Lookout for Knotgrass, ox eye, and brambles. There are many different kinds of plants found here which are listed under Summer Post Fourteen.

See if you can find any of them.

At this time of year the differences between fern and bracken are easy to see. Turn to the Spring section of the guide book.

What do you think is the reason for the ditches dug in the undergrowth ?

Autumn

 

Above are sketches of a Shrew [left], a Bank Vole [middle], and a Wood Mouse [right]

Try and name the trees which are still green.

Pines are always green and the Ash tree often keeps its leaves until November or December. Can you find a Yew tree ?

The young silver birch trees have grown naturally from seed after gale damage to this woodland area.

Where would this seed come from ?

What do you know about natural regeneration of derelict areas. Do you know other places in Scotland where nature has covered over man made scars ? (e.g. railway embankments, pit bings, etc.).

Winter

This area is the most untouched of the Park. On the left, good examples of Silver Birch are seen. The Silver Birch, when young, is not silver, and many are seen between the path and the wood on the left. These young trees are regenerating a wood which was severely damaged by gales a few years ago. They are seedling trees and protect each other by being closely crowded together. Something like this would happen to the open spaces in the Park if left untended.

The undergrowth here is very dense - compare it with what you saw in the Pine Wood.

There are many young conifers and also brambles amongst the undergrowth. Part the crown of dead leaves of the fern and see what is underneath.

On a Silver Birch tree on the right, notice a good specimen of the bracket fungus.

Post Fourteen [STAG Post 7]

Spring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are sketches of a Woodpecker [left], and of it's prey the Corus Larvae in the edge of a tree [right].

For some photographs of Woodpeckers on this web site, click here.

When you walk out of the wood notice the electricity poles on the left skyline.

Look out for birds flying from wood to wood.

Note the difference between cultivated and uncultivated grasses on the two sides of the path. You could use your key to identify some of these grasses.

Look back at the woods and notice the influence of the wind on the shape of the trees, the wind normally blows from right to left.

Go down the path with the fence. Why has the bark been peeled off" the fence posts ? Find the age of the posts by counting the annual rings.

Because of the damp shady conditions mosses and liverworts can be easily collected here.

Before you go to Post Fifteen go into the Gardens and on the right-hand side you will see a large Beech tree at the top of which is a cut off branch. The woodpecker's nest can be seen. The drawing shows the woodpecker and the kind of animal it feeds on, burrowing in a tree.

Added Comment: The gardens are no longer, but the area does contain a children's playground. The beech tree with the nest appears to have been removed.

Summer

About Flowering Plants

a) Those that do NOT Flower

  1. Single celled plants which are green, e.g. Euglena, can be numerous enough in pond water to turn it green. Powdery green dust on tree barks, stone.
  2. The seaweeds and green slimy filaments in ponds are in Algae.
  3. Flat leaf-like plants found in wet places belong to Liverworts.
  4. Mosses, as found on tree trunks and stones, etc.
  5. Ferns of many kinds, e.g. Bracken.
  6. Coniferous Trees, e.g. Pine, Spruce, Larch.
  7. Fungi, e.g. moulds, mushrooms, Bracket Fungi.

b) Flowering Plants

  1. Monocotyledons. Narrow sword-like leaves which have only one seed-leaf or cotyledon, e.g. Grasses, daffodil, gladiolus, onion.
  2. Dicotyledons. Broad leafed plants with two cotyledons in the seed.
    1. Herbaceous plants, e.g. Daisy, buttercup, dandelion.
    2. Shrubs - Woody bushy plants, e.g. Roses, Privet, Hawthorn.
  3. Deciduous Trees are trees which lose their leaves in autumn, e.g. Oak, Beech, Poplar, Willow.

Look out for Self-heal, wood sanicle, water-cress, red deadnettle, foxglove, comfrey.

Many of the early summer flowers - such as the dandelion and coltsfoot, have produced their seeds.

Notice any floating in the air - the seeds are carried by the wind like parachutes.

Look for a foxglove - (but don't pick any), the lowest flowers drop off first leaving the young green seed 'pod' or capsule exposed.

What will happen to this later on ?

At the extreme top of the spike there are still flower buds not yet developed.

Look for broom, and gorse for the pea-like pods which are flat and green.

Compare them with the remains of last year's fruit pods.

All the flowers that you see here are striving to produce seed as quickly as possible.

Look carefully for those that have lost their bright petals. What is left ?

Note as many as you can.

Autumn

Above are sketches of what are collectively know as Sling Fruits. Dandelion [left], Rose Bay Willowherb, Broom, Lime tree, Wild Violet, Vetch - look near the wood fringe [right].

Count the rings on the fence posts, each ring counts as one year.

You can get the age of trees this way.

Look closely for scratches on the post. These are made by wasps.

Wasps use the wood to build their nest. They were the first paper makers. [There is one in the Nature Centre.]

The same trees are used to make your newspapers.

Collect some moss from the side of the path. Lift the stones and see what is under them, replace the stones carefully.

Why are you asked to do that ?

Regrettably the garden and small animal zoo, and the nature centre are no longer

Before you go into the Nature Centre visit the garden, the aviaries of British birds, and the collection of small native animals.

Why is there a wall around the garden ?

There used to be a wood-pecker's nest in the trees on the right as you go into the garden.

See if you can spot the entrance hole to the nest at the tree top.

The drawings above show you some seeds which are scattered by wind. The number of seeds produced by rosebay willow herb is great.

Do they all grow ?

Winter

As you walk along the path, look for the Sycamore samararas. If you get a dry one, toss it up in the air. What does it do ? Does it fall straight down ?

There are usually many Blue Tits here.

Look at the top of the fencing posts. The rings can be used to tell the age of the tree when felled. ONE ring is equal to one year's growth.

You will hear many rustlings from the undergrowth on both sides. These are mostly caused by birds searching for food among the dead leaves. The litter here should be collected for classroom study.

The banks are very damp.

Simple plants called Mosses and Liverworts live in these wet conditions. Take a small piece of the mossy bank for classroom study.

Post Fifteen - The Information Room and Nature Centre [STAG Post 8, The Mansion House]

The Mansion House was the residence of Henderson, the shipbuilders up to 1919, when the park was acquired by the Corporation.

Some eighty years later, after being abondoned for a decade, it was sold and turned into flats, so regrettably this is now closed.

However it used to have an amazing collection of stuff - described here:

Here you will find a selection of books covering all the subjects observed on the trail. Make a note of useful publications. Ask to see any of special interest, note the title, author and publishers, but do not take them away. The museum and nature centre tell the story in pictures and living material of  Linn Park and its Nature Trail.

From right of the doorway the themes depicted are:
  1. History of the Park.
  2. The Nature Trail.
  3. Three soil sections showing life below ground, at the soil level, and above ground.It includes The Wormery - earthworms at work
  4. Trees, timber, and industrial uses.
  5. The nature Table - seasonal changes.
  6. Natural regeneration of a gale damaged woodland.
  7. Vivaria, aquaria, ant colony - living specimens of insects and fish.
There are items collected in the park such as owl pellets and wasps' nests and different kinds of birds' nests. There is a seasonal collection of plants, seeds and twigs of the trees you might have seen. Coloured charts will help you to identify living things seen on the trail. This is the place to ask questions and discuss what you have noticed that interested you.


Note: We asked the Park Rangers if possibly this material might still be available, but they have confirmed it is long gone.