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Environment

From litter-strewn Lochee railway track to celebrated nature reserve – The Miley turns 30

Dedicated volunteers have transformed The Miley in Dundee from a "terrible" area full of rubbish to a welcoming space for the community. reports.
Joanna Bremner
Tom Harwood, John Wyman and Mary Harwood celebrating the 30th anniversary of
The Miley in Dundee. Image: Alan Richardson.
Tom Harwood, John Wyman and Mary Harwood celebrating the 30th anniversary of The Miley in Dundee. Image: Alan Richardson.

Hardworking Dundee volunteers are celebrating the 30th anniversary of Lochee wildlife reserve The Miley.

The Miley is a “quiet oasis in the city” that has seen a remarkable transformation over the last three decades.

That’s according to John Wyman, who began his work with the project back in 1992.

Back then, the mile-long stretch had been treated like a dump by residents and nearby workplaces for years.

“It’s lovely to go back to the place that was such a mess in ’92 and to see it now,” John said.

The path was unkempt, overgrown and unsightly – but thanks to the work of the Scottish Wildlife Trust in Dundee, it has since become a welcoming green space for the community to enjoy, as well as a haven for wildlife.

Tom Harwood (Scottish Wild Life Trust) John Wyman (One of the founders of the Miley) and Mary Harwood Wild Life Trust). Image: Alan Richardson.

The Miley is a well-loved nature reserve in the heart of Dundee.

It lies within the Lochee and Beechwood areas of the city, between Old Kings Cross Road and the west end of Clepington Road.

Scottish Wildlife Trust members Mary Harwood and her husband, Tom, joined the project at the nature reserve in 2000.

Mary, 82, grew up in Lochee and has lived in Dundee for most of her life. She helped to transform the disused railway into a welcoming space for the community.

“The litter used to be terrible there,” Mary said, “you couldn’t see the path – it was that bad.

“It took us years to clear the litter.

“We were sometimes taking away five black bags [of litter] a day.”

Now, their team of ten or so volunteers only end up with half a bin bag on every trip.

This is due to the hard work of volunteers, but also a marked improvement in the way locals treat the path.

To mark the celebrations, volunteers met at The Miley with local school pupils to plant bulbs and scatter wildflower seeds.

‘Best day ever’ for school kids at The Miley anniversary celebrations

Youngsters from St Mary’s primary school got stuck in with the gardening effort at The Miley.

Mary was delighted to see the younger generations enjoying the greenspace at the 30th anniversary celebrations this week.

“The kids loved it,” Mary said, “I overheard one of them saying: ‘best day ever’.”

The children were rewarded for their work with juice and biscuits and were given a wooden medallion to decorate as a keep sake. Image: Alan Richardson.

“I suspect for some of them it would be their first time out in that environment.

“They all went back to school with big grins on their faces.”

Mary also suggested it may have been a useful reminder for the youngsters not to start littering.

“The younger they learn, the more likely they are to keep doing it.”

Last November, Mary and her husband, Tom, were recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award for their work at The Miley nature reserve.

Mary and a team of litter pickers visit The Miley on a rota to keep it clean.

Although volunteers’ efforts have made a massive difference, Mary would like to see more people helping out.

“And we would love more people to use it,” she said.

“It is a lovely place. Some people just don’t realise it’s there, or how nice it is.”

Part of the team of Pupils from St Mary’s all ready to plant their seeds and bulbs. Image: Alan Richardson.

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