End of an era for Ferry Glen hero

050912 Green flag unveiling at ferry glen , south queensferry.
050912 Green flag unveiling at ferry glen , south queensferry.

ACCOLADES were this week given to a Queensferry man whose vision transformed a once no-go area in the town.

Environmentalists, community leaders and council-elected representatives have paid homage to Gordon Wood, who will step down as chairman of the Friends of Ferry Glen group next month.

They all say it is his dedication in helping to transform the Ferry Glen and Back Braes area that will remain a lasting legacy to him.

He saw the woodland area as a place of great beauty and decided to spend his spare time in retirement to help transform the area so that everyone could enjoy it.

It was around 10 years ago that action was taken to regenerate the woodland area, which lies between Station Road and the High Street. At the time it was overgrown, unkempt and unsafe for people to walk within.

A decade on, there is a nature trail, new paths, bridges, and a growing number of wildlife plants there which make the area an idyllic place for locals to visit. The Back Braes area was also overgrown but trees were thinned and trimmed and it once again offers magnificent views over the Forth.

And thanks to a woodland management plan put in place, the glen area has benefited from numerous grants as well as assistance from the city council over the years to help continue improvements.

Gordon set up the Friends of Ferry Glen group and from the onset he had vision and high hopes for the woodland area. He even called upon architectural students to design a treetop viewing gantry where locals and tourists would view the Forth vista from above the tree canopy. That dream has not come to fruition as yet but his continued efforts to upgrade the area have. The area is now well frequented and is a place in which locals can be proud.

This week Gordon, (76) said he has taken the decision to stand down due to other pressing commitments but promises to still remain active within the group.

Regards the Ferry Glen, he said: “As the saying goes, ‘Rome was not built in a day’, there is still unfinished business at the Ferry Glen and the Back Braes but we are making positive improvements year upon year. I want to thank Douglas Cruikshank, community parks officer and Natalie Hoy, community planning officer, for West Edinburgh, for if they had not reacted to our proposals back then none of this would have happened.

Praising Gordon for his continued efforts over the past decade, Almond ward councillor Norman Work said: “Gordon was the driving force behind transforming an overgrown, neglected area in Queensferry into an area which we have all benefited from. His passion and commitment will be missed but we all wish him well in his retirement.”

Keith Giblett, chairman of Queensferry and District Community Council added: “Gordon will be a hard act to follow and will be missed. I think Queensferry are indebted to Gordon for all his hard work in delivering a fantastic asset in the Ferry Glen for the people of Queensferry.”

Joyce Faulkner, former chair of GreenFerry said: “Gordon has dedicated so much time to fulfilling his early vision for the Ferry Glen, and has achieved so much. The community is greatly indebted to him.”

Also commenting was Neil McKinley, who is expected to take over the reins at Friends of Ferry Glen in March, he said: “Gordon’s legacy is there for everyone to see. Trying to fill Gordon’s shoes will be a tall order!”