Rouken Glen Park celebrates four-year transformation

A hidden waterfall built by the Victorians was one of the features that came to light during the HLF-funded redevelopment of Rouken Glen Park in East Renfrewshire.

The hidden waterfall at Rouken Glen Park. Image: HLF
The hidden waterfall at Rouken Glen Park. Image: HLF

The park has been turned around over the last four years thanks to council funding and a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Important geological, archaeological and historical features have been restored, the visitor centre has been brought up-to-date and the popular play area has new equipment.

The 58ha park was gifted to Glasgow in 1906. It features woodland paths, a large waterfall, rolling parkland, a boating pond and a walled garden.

As well as extensive conservation on the boating pond, boardwalks and bridges have been introduced to the Glen Walks so that more people can enjoy them.

It was during this work that an unknown piece of the park’s history came to light - a hidden secondary waterfall on the Glen Path, along with a weir, flagstone path and dam walls, which had been built by the Victorians. The waterfall would have been part of a system used to power local factories.

Visitors can now experience the park’s natural environment as it would have been more than 200 years ago, and walk in the footsteps of textile workers who worked at the Newfield printworks formerly located on the site.

Phil Richardson project manager from Archaeology Scotland said: "This rediscovery is of huge significance. The west side of Rouken Glen and the Glen Walks area would have been the main engine room of the textile industry about 200 years ago."

Part of the glen is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as it contains abundant fossil records from around 325m years ago. The HLF has also helped fund works to improve this site.

A celebration day was held on 30 July to mark the completion of the park's transformation, with thousands of visitors flocking through the gates to enjoy all the new features and facilities.

East Renfrewshire Council chief executive Lorraine McMillan said: "Rouken Glen has always been a favourite with locals and visitors, but our partnership project with HLF has taken it to a whole new level.

"We’ve had tremendous interest in the park from a diverse range of individuals and groups since embarking on the project, maintaining Rouken Glen’s place in people’s affections but, importantly, building foundations for healthy lifestyles of the future."

The completion of the £3.15m project, supported by HLF (£2.15m) and East Renfrewshire Council (£1m), has seen the 110 year-old park take the number two spot in this year’s Scottish Visitor Attraction Monitor table of the country's top Outdoor Nature Attractions. It is now approaching 1m visitors annually and has just been awarded its sixth Green Flag.

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