Ardeer Peninsula was once home to a large explosives and chemical industry after Alfred Nobel developed his British Dynamite Company there in 1871. Many years later, Ardeer is now an important site for wildlife; Bruce Philp explores why Ardeer is so species-rich, and the extremely current threats that Ardeer faces today.
The Ardeer Peninsula, situated on the Ayrshire coast just north of Irvine, is a large sand spit bordered by the Clyde Estuary on the west side and the River Garnock Estuary to the east. A quick glance at a map of the area suggests that there is nothing particularly remarkable about it, with few roads and little sign of human activity, but this has not always been the case. For much of the 20th century, Ardeer was the site of a huge explosives and chemicals industry (including the largest explosives factory in the world) and was a major employer in north Ayrshire.