The Magnificent 11 – a Glasgow South Side Walk
Helen Rose Outdoors Diary July, 2021
The Magnificent 11 is a four-part circular walk of 11 miles linking seven wonderful greenspace habitats on Glasgow’s Southside, including Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The route was developed by Glasgow Ramblers in partnership with Glasgow’s Countryside Rangers Countryside Rangers can be found all over Scotland, employed by: local authorities, private estates, the Forestry Commission and National Parks and were born from the 1968 Countryside (Scotland) Act. Countryside Rangers in Scotland celebrate 45 years in 2019. Our Countryside Rangers work with the people of Glasgow to educate, interpret, monitor and protect Glasgow’s wildlife and its environment. The service operates city wide covering 92 parks, Local Nature Reserves and greenspaces in Glasgow.
The Magnificent 11 route was first thought of by a Glasgow Countryside Ranger over 10 years ago and Glasgow Ramblers came on board about five years ago. Over the past few years there have been regular work groups to upgrade parts of the route, establish sign posts and locals have got involved too.
All four parts can be completed on their own, with each having ready access to public transport. But walked together, the route offers a truly ‘Magnificent 11’ miles, celebrating Glasgow, ‘The Dear Green Place’, and its parks and greenspaces we can all enjoy. I walked it all in one day in spring. Full information on https://www.glasgowramblers.org.uk/mag11.html
Linn Park to Castlemilk Park
Parts 1 and 2 link three city parks along riverbanks, across open parkland and through mature woodland. We started in Linn Park on an icy spring day and followed alongside the White Cart Water. We passed the lovely waterfall. We did not follow the narrow path alongside the river but stayed on the main path as there was some surface ice. The River Cart is a tributary of the River Clyde and is formed of the confluence of the White and Black Cart Waters.
We walked to Queen’s Knowe where Mary Queen of Scots stood on this hill top in 1568 to view the Battle of Langside. The battle was against her half-brother, the Earl of Moray, who had forced her to give the Scottish Crown to her infant son James. We had good views over the south of Glasgow from this vantage point.
Onward we walked to King’s Park which had a more formal setting. The park contains a number of buildings and amenities, including ‘Aitkenhead House’, a mansion house designed by architect David Hamilton in 1806 with a stable block and a walled garden. The rose garden to the rear of the walled garden also contains a mannerist two tier sundial with a tall obelisk finial, one of three reproductions of the 1635 Newbattle sundial.
We continued on to Castlemilk Park with its beautiful natural woodland. Castlemilk Park was offically opened in 1963, by the late Lord Provost Meldrum. The park is situated on what was grazing and woodland belonging to West Castleton Farm. The main park features include a large pond and play area.
Fernbrae Meadows to Cathkin Braes
Part 3 of the walk rises through a new park in Fernbrae Meadows just in South Lanarkshire. Here a former golf course, which had gone out of business and fallen derelict, has been transformed into a new urban park. It is the catalyst to regenerating an area which many will associate with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and mountain biking events. We walked on to Cathkin Braes, Glasgow’s largest and finest greenspace, with woodland, heath, wild grasslands and bird reserve marshes.
The eastern part of the Country Park was gifted to the city in 1887 by millionaire Mr James Dick who stipulated that the open space must be retained in a natural state and open for public enjoyment. It is rich in history and a familiar landmark on the southern skyline reaching 200 metres above sea level, the highest point in Glasgow. The park is renowned for panoramic views over the city and beyond including the Gleniffer Braes and the Kilpatrick and Campsie ranges. On a clear day many familiar mountain peaks can be seen. The area was originally known as the Cathkin Hills and during the Iron Age a Celtic tribe known as the Damnonii lived here. The discovery of many artefacts has been recorded and several cairns still exist to this day. We had our lunch stop here to take in the views.
The descent was past a wind turbine with a dramatic skyline of blue sky and some cloud. The route continued through woods and fields, past Windlaw Marsh, a well-known place for bird watching. A new deer fence had been erected but there were stiles around it..
Cathkin Braes to Linn Park
Part 4 is a green delight, dropping down through conservation farmlands and past Carmunnock Village. We passed a house with interesting wrought iron gates with a lace effect. This led us to the Cart and Kittoch Valleys. Backed by Glasgow City Council and Green Action Trust, the £125k project will see nine different species of native broadleaf trees planted across 15 hectares next to the Cart and Kittoch Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest, near to Carmunnock.. In time, the native trees being planted will grow up to 15metres tall and help to create a habitat for a wide range of flora and fauna, including bluebells, primrose and foxgloves to hedgehogs, badgers and birds. With the lifespan of the trees being planted anywhere between 60 and 100 years, it is anticipated that the new woodland will be able to regenerate and continue indefinitely with appropriate management.
We skirted Linn Cemetery and on entering Linn Park we had a hail storm! It was only for a few minutes and we walked back through Linn Park to our starting point.
This was a very enjoyable walk taking in parks that I had not previously visited and praise must go to the Countryside Rangers and the community groups who developed the walk.
Coming attraction. The Borders Abbeys Way
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