NS3374 : Inverclyde Coastal Path

taken 13 years ago, near to Port Glasgow, Inverclyde, Great Britain

This is 1 of 7 images, with title Inverclyde Coastal Path in this square
Inverclyde Coastal Path
Inverclyde Coastal Path
Looking along the boardwalk towards Kelburn Park. The old timber ponds and Dumbarton Rock are in the distance on the left.
Port Glasgow Timber Ponds :: NS3474

Port Glasgow has been a ship building town since 1780 when Thomas McGill opened a yard here. 18th Century shipbuilding demanded a lot of timber and Port Glasgow was a major timber importer during this time. Massive shipments of prepared and unprepared timber were received from far flung places such as Canada, Norway and the Baltic states. Vast timber holding ponds were constructed to the east of Newark Castle, stretching three miles along the coast, beyond Parklea, to Langbank. These are still very much in evidence today and can be seen from land, sea and air. They are known locally as "the stabs".

There were also timber ponds in the west end of the town, but these were removed as the shipyards expanded and no trace remains today. The map of 1864 shows the "Kingston Sawmill", "timber yard" and "timber ponds" on the site where the Kingston shipyard later stood. That area is now a housing estate, with some light industry at Ardgowan Street.

The twenty or so surviving timber ponds stretch from just west of Kelburn Park in the east end of Port Glasgow to near the A8 railway bridge at Langbank.

They are not really ponds in the traditional sense in that they do not hold water. They can be more accurately described as intertidal enclosures which are dry at low tide and flooded at high tide. The enclosures are mostly square in shape, their boundaries formed by lines of tall wooden stakes (known locally as "stabs") which are buried deep in the mud. It was within these enclosures that rafts of timber were stored.

As shipbuilding made the switch from timber to metal, the ponds fell into disuse and decline in the early part of the 20th Century.

Most of the area of the surviving timber ponds is within the Inner Clyde Nature Reserve which is managed by the RSPB, whose web site LinkExternal link describes it as follows - "The reserve contains internationally important numbers of wintering redshank and curlew that flock to the reserve’s rich mudflats, which are an important feeding ground. Other birds that can be found regularly on the reserve include lapwings, eiders, cormorants, scaups, goldeneyes, oystercatchers and breeding reed buntings and snipe".

Be careful if planning a visit to the mud flats as the mud is soft and deep in places and the rising tide can be surprisingly quick.

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Grid Square
NS3374, 179 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Friday, 6 June, 2008   (more nearby)
Wednesday, 11 June, 2008
Path > Path   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 333 743 [100m precision]
WGS84: 55:56.0052N 4:40.1594W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 331 743
View Direction
EAST (about 90 degrees)
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