by Rona Simpson

Pollok Country Park in Autumn is a breath-taking sight. The magnificent mature woodlands bathed in late summer sun are a kaleidoscope of fire and gold. This would be reason enough to visit, but the clincher for me is the fact that a fascinating walk can be rounded off with a large slice of cake courtesy of the fabulous café at the newly reopened Burrell Collection. In 2007, the park was named Britain’s best park and in 2008 it claimed the title of best park in Europe. Here are my top five reasons why you should give it a visit.

(Photo by Gordon Brown, CC BY-SA 2.0)

1. Culture

Pollok Country Park is 146 hectares and located between Shawlands, Crossmaloof and Pollok – just outside Glasgow City Centre. Pollok Estate, as it was known, is the ancestral home of the Maxwell family for seven centuries. In 1966 the parkland was given to the people of Glasgow. It is home to two Museums, Pollok House and the internationally recognised Burrell Collection – which has recently been refurbished. There is also a play area for kids and many trails to explore.

2. History

There is a superb heritage trail running through the park which begins at Pollok House – A grade A listed Georgian mansion. It takes in many other features of the park including the elegant A-listed White Cart Bridge and the B-listed Courtyard, which is home to the Gardeners Bothy Museum which shows what life would have been like at the park at the turn of the 20th century. It houses many displays and hands on activities for all ages. Further on is the Sawmill and Weir. Close again to Pollok House is the Woodland Garden. John Stirling Maxwell funded plant exhibitions in the early 20th century. He was especially keen on Rhododendrons and bred many hybrid species at Pollok – some of which are on display here. The centrepiece of this garden is the heritage coppiced Beech tree – which is thought to be over 250 years old. The heritage trail takes about 2 hours to complete if you stop at each feature.

3. Walking and Cycling

The wide avenues of this park make it ideal for walkers and cyclists. You can reach the park by bike via the Route 7 or 75 of the National Cycle Network. There has been a real effort to reduce car traffic and cyclists are given priority access to all routes including Pollok Avenue. There is a bike rack at the Burrell collection and you can also hire bikes and ebikes from this area too.

4. Nature and Woodland

Fifty percent of the park is covered in woodland, which is a haven for wildlife and an important green lung for Glasgow. The North wood has existed since 1741 and is classified as ‘ancient’. Here you can find 200-year-old oak and beech alongside a variety of younger species. Throughout the park, planted by John Stirling Maxwell, there are also scatterings of more exotic species such as Norwegian Maple, Red and Turkey Oaks and Fern-leaved and Dawyck Beeches.

5. Glorious Cake! (I think I mentioned this before!)

The bright airy café of the Burrell Collection is the perfect place to unwind after all that walking or cycling!


2060 Pollokshaws Road, Bellahouston, Glasgow G43 1AT