For the latest MyParkExplore we spoke to Margaret McGhee of the Glasgow Ramblers about how they use parks across the city as part of their walking programe…
Glasgow Ramblers make good use of Parks throughout the year either as destinations or en route to destinations. We like to make our walks interesting and parks fulfil that purpose in educating us not only in natural history and geography but also local and rural history and culture. As the seasons change so too does the flora, fauna and wildlife. It’s as enjoyable walking through a park quietly blanketed in snow as it is in the springtime when life and colour returns. The many attractions within parks, including tearooms, encourage a return to find out more about an area we may not have known existed.
Over the recent few years, we have visited eight parks on the south side of the city. We use bus stops and stations for both circular and linear walks. One walk started from Shields Road Underground Station to Holmwood House in Cathcart via Maxwell Park in Pollokshields, Pollok Park and along the White Cart Water. The villa, designed by Scottish architect, Alexander “Greek” Thomson, sits in attractive grounds above the White Cart Water where we wandered and strolled around the kitchen garden planted with Victorian herbs, fruit and vegetables, followed by a visit to the café.
Pollok Park was a destination walk. There are woodlands, gardens, and riverside walks, plants and wildlife. Pollok House (National Trust for Scotland), within the Park, is packed with period furniture and the UK’s finest collection of Spanish art. The Burrell Collection is a ten minute walk away. Both Pollok House and the Burrell Collection have restaurants.
We have started an exciting project to waymark a 10 mile circular route through three urban parks – Linn Park, King’s Park, Castlemilk Park and over the Cathkin Braes. Linn Park has an outstanding diversity of wildlife, habitat and plant life, woodlands and river walks. Half a mile away is King’s Park with a formal lawn and rose beds, woodland walks and open grasslands. Castlemilk Park with its ancient woodlands, well-maintained paths and a waterfall lead upwards to the Cathkin Braes Country Park, the highest point in Glasgow at 200 metres above sea level. On a clear day there are panoramic views over the city, the Gleniffer Braes and the Kilpatrick and Campsie ranges. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty and of importance for nature conservation.
We have walked a new Country Park – Dams to Darnley – shared by Glasgow City Council and East Renfrewshire Council. It covers an area of 1350 acres of open water, wetland and burn, woodland, grassland and scrub; important for wildlife, and its rich history.
On the North of the city, we have walked from Partick through Hayburn Park to the Kelvin Walkway and on to the Botanic Gardens and Arboreteum. There is a blend of formal gardens and woodland walks and a great tea room. Sometimes we continue on the Kelvin Walkway to reach the Forth and Clyde Canal path where we access many good destinations. One such is Dawsholm Park, the nature lover’s park.
Another circular destination walk: the City Centre to Victoria Park, with its formal gardens and the world famous fossil grove, over 250 million years old; a pond and the fossil museum.
To the east of the City, a park not as well known as it should be is Tollcross Park. Each year it hosts the International Rose Trials and in July and August the roses are at their most beautiful. The winter gardens have recently been refurbished and the hothouses have many exotic plant species. There is a sensory garden and a walk down through a wooded glen. There is also a café.
Another not so well known walk was from the Fort Shopping Centre in Easterhouse and through four separate Easterhouse woodlands with views over Bishop Loch. We passed Blairtummock House, the only 19th Century house remaining in Easterhouse.
The Clyde Walkway is another route to discovering the city and beyond. From here we walked to Dalmarnock passing Glasgow’s oldest park, Glasgow Green, on the way. This is home to the People’s Palace and the Winter Gardens where we stopped for a coffee and cake, most welcome as it was a very cold day.
Ruchill Park has a fantastic viewing point, from the base of the flag pole, over Glasgow, the Campsie Hills, Gleniffer Braes, and Cathkin Braes. It is also a habitat for wildlife with a number of conservation areas; deciduous woodlands; rose and flower beds plus jogging trails.
These are only some of the many parks in Glasgow waiting to be discovered. If you are interested in joining us on a walk, please visit our website at: www.glasgowramblers.org.uk to view our walk programme.
In planning our walks we have made use of the Heritage Trail Guides available for some parks. These can be downloaded from www.glasgow.gov.uk/parks. Leaflets with maps may also be available from local libraries or the Mitchell Library.
Ramblers Scotland has two “Medal Route” walk hubs within the city: one at the Botanic Gardens and the other at An Clachan café at Kelvingrove Park. Downlaod Medal Routes Walk maps.