The Urban Environment

Introduction My urban environment is a town in North Ayrshire called Kilwinning. It is situated on the River Garnock about 21 miles South of Glasgow in the West of Scotland. Physical characteristics There is a great deal of diversity to be found in the different buildings within my hometown. Some of the buildings include- Houses … Continue reading The Urban Environment


Introduction

My urban environment is a town in North Ayrshire called Kilwinning. It is situated on the River Garnock about 21 miles South of Glasgow in the West of Scotland.

aerialview

Physical characteristics

There is a great deal of diversity to be found in the different buildings within my hometown. Some of the buildings include-

  • Houses (mainly different estates, some quite old while others are brand new)
  • Seven primary schools and Kilwinning Academy
  • Shops, pubs and restaurants
  • A fire station
  • Community Centres
  • Churches
  • Care homes
  • Nurseries

At it’s heart, Kilwinning is a very historic town. There are a lot of old buildings, including the Abbey. Kilwinning Abbey was founded between 1140 and 1191 by the De Morville Family. Beside it is a clock tower. This was restored during the early 90s and it is actually now a heritage centre. It is open to the public and you are able to climb to the top of the tower on certain days.

kilwinning_abbey_-_geograph_org_uk_-_1140309 -Kilwinning Abbey

Kilwinning is also home to the Freemasons Mother lodge number 0. This was built at around the same time as Kilwinning Abbey and is located in the town centre. It is an ancient building with a unique history. Another historic building is Eglinton Castle which was built back in the 18th century by Hugh Montgomery the 12th Earl of Eglinton. The castle is particularly famous for the grand Eglinton tournament back in 1839. Sadly today most of the caste is in ruins. (See more about Eglinton Castle in the below link)

http://www.kilwinning.org/eglintoncastle/default.htm

In contrast to these historic buildings the estate where I live is relatively brand new. It mainly consists of red brick, new build houses which are ideal for families. As a result most of my neighbours are families with young children. This creates quite a pleasant, safe environment to live.

There are numerous green spaces throughout Kilwinning-

  • Eglinton Country Park
  • McGavin Park
  • Various small parks and playgrounds
  • Kilwinning Sports club
  • Football pitches

i_0810   -Eglinton Country Parkeglintoncastle

I am also very fortunate that I only live a couple of minutes away from the countryside which is really ideal for walkers, runners, cyclists and dog walkers which there are a lot of in my estate.

Transport

Like most other places, there are a lot of cars in Kilwinning. A number of cars travel through Kilwinning commuting to Glasgow. Even though it is a relatively small town the roads can be extremely busy, especially at peak travel times.

Personally, I do not drive and mainly travel by train. Kilwinning is actually very convenient for train travel. There are frequent trains to Glasgow, Ayr and Largs. However, there are a number of issues that can arise. Trains can often be running late especially in bad weather. Last year many trains were cancelled all together and sometimes there was not always a replacement bus service. Also travelling on a Sunday can be difficult as a result of engineering works. Furthermore, travelling at peak times is often quite stressful as the trains are very busy and you often can not get a seat.

maxresdefault -Kilwinning train station

There are also a number of bus services that run from Kilwinning. The number eleven bus between Ardrossan and Kilmarnock leaves every few minutes which is extremely convenient for a lot of people. However, I personally do not enjoy travelling by bus. They are often overcrowded and can be quite rowdy. They are also sometime very slow especially during the school run and frequently late.

Community Spaces

Community spaces found in Kilwinning include-

  • Primary schools
  • Kilwinning Academy
  • Several community centres
  • Church halls
  • Kilwinning Library
  • Allotments

3693293_67f02c46  -Kilwinning allotments

Industry and Work

There are quite a lot of job opportunities in retail throughout Kilwinning. There are a number of shops located in the town centre. There are several pubs, restaurants, cafes, and takeaways throughout the town that provide jobs in food and catering business. Kilwinning Medical Practice, the local pharmacy, and several nursing homes mean there are jobs available in the NHS. In Kilwinning there are seven primary schools and one secondary school that provide a lot of teaching jobs.

Whitehirst Park, the estate where I live, is relatively new and constantly expanding. There a number of brand new homes and ones still being built which means there is work available in the construction industry.

zzz579_n35_webview -Kilwinning town centre

2cea6e3c-1222-4ec9-974a-a1ede29b8fd0 -Taylor’s restaurant

Recreation Spaces

Unfortunately there are not many recreation spaces in Kilwinning. There are no leisure centres, cinemas, swimming pools, theatres or ice rinks. While attending secondary school I did find growing up here quite dull. It meant I had to spend money travelling in order to reach recreation spaces in other towns.

On the other hand there is Kilwinning sports club which has a gym, playing fields, a golfing range, an astro turf pitch and a playground.

3422061_b7e5a09c -Kilwinning Sports Clubfooty-photo

Population Density

The population density in North Ayrshire is 155 people per square kilometre. This is very low compared to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, which has a population density of 1,852 people per square kilometre. When compared to the largest city in Scotland the population density appears even lower in my local area. Glasgow has a population density of 3,415 people per square kilometre.

screenshot_2016-09-23-14-40-33

Air Quality

As you can see levels of air pollution in my local urban environment are low. This not only applies to Kilwinning but throughout Ayrshire.

screenshot_2016-09-26-20-57-16screenshot_2016-09-26-20-58-20

Urban Development- Study Task

I live in Girvan, a small town on the South West coast of Scotland. Girvan has a population of approximately 6,600 people. Physical Characteristics Most houses are built either detached, semi-detached or terraced. There are flats above the shops on … Continue reading

I live in Girvan, a small town on the South West coast of Scotland. Girvan has a population of approximately 6,600 people.

Physical Characteristics

Most houses are built either detached, semi-detached or terraced. There are flats above the shops on the ‘Main Street’ and 5 blocks of flats about 4 or 5 storeys high. As the population is not dense, there is no major need for high blocks of flats. There is a street of shops, but increasingly more and more of these are shutting down, leading this part of town to look rundown.

There is a large park in the centre of the town, with a football pitch, rugby pitch, play park and a community garden. The park is situated right next to Girvan Academy, meaning in good weather the pupils can take PE outdoors and make use of the park to play sports such as rounders or football.

As well as this, all surrounding the town there are plenty of hills and greenery. On a nice day, many people enjoy walking up the nearby Byne Hill which makes for a fun day out and there is a beautiful view of the town and Ailsa Craig.

Girvan is situated on the coast, and has a beautiful beach that stretches the entire length of the town. Ailsa Craig is clearly visible and boat trips are offered from the harbour to visit Ailsa Craig.

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Girvan Harbour

Transport

Most people travel within the town by either car or on foot, as it does not take long to walk from one side of the town to the other.

There is a bus service which connects Girvan to the relatively nearby larger towns of Ayr and Stranraer, and all the towns and villages in between. It runs quite frequently, making it easy for people who don’t have access to a car able to travel with ease between these towns and villages.
Girvan also has a train station and trains run to Stranraer, Ayr and Kilmarnock as a relatively frequent pace. This is another way of allowing people to travel from one area of the county to another.

The problem with Girvan being so small is that there are not many opportunities for jobs or things to do nearby. For example, I work in a restaurant in a village nearby called Maidens-which means I have a 10 minute drive to work. At my work, almost everyone lives in either Maybole or Girvan and drives to takes a bus to work. This means that there are more emissions given off in order for people to travel to their work, than there would be if it was in a city setting-where there are plenty more job opportunities in a much denser area.

Community Spaces

Girvan has three primary schools- Girvan Primary, Sacred Heart and Invergarven. Many pupils who attend these schools go on to Girvan Academy-although some go on to Queen Margaret Academy in Ayr.

There is a local library and community centre that both hold events frequently for people in the community to attend.

There are two community gardens in Girvan that are both beautiful in the summer when the flowers are all in bloom.

Industry and Work

There are lots of factories outside of Girvan, and this is where many of the locals work.

The biggest company and employer of locals is William Grant & Sons, making the area famous for Hendricks Gin and Grants Scotch whisky. The company offers a number of apprenticeships which helps to boost the economy and also helps a number of young people get jobs.

Another major company, Nestle, have a factory in Grangestone Industrial Estate, just outside of Girvan. This has created many jobs for the locals and continues to do so.

The Alginate used to employ lots of Girvan locals, but in 2009 is was bought over and most of the production was moved to Haugesund, Norway. It was a devastating blow as it affected the lives of lots of locals. Despite this, many people still have jobs in the factory here, but it is a substantially smaller number.

As there are a number of farms surrounding Girvan, jobs can be found involving agriculture.

Recreation Spaces

Girvan itself does not have many recreation spaces. There is a theatre in Girvan Academy, which also hosts a number of different events-for example, the local Musical Society puts on performances every year there. Girvan used to have a swimming pool, but it was closed down in 2009 due to safety concerns. There is a currently construction on a new building for a pool/leisure centre, due to open in Spring 2017.

There are also tennis courts, a golf club and clubs for children such as karate and dancing.

Peri-Urban

As Girvan is a rural town, there is a lot of farmland surrounding the town.

Population Density

Using the Neighbourhood Statistics page, I found out there are 92 people per sq km in South Ayrshire, meaning my area is not dense.

Air Quality

Scottish Air Quality page shows that South Ayrshire has an air quality of index 1.