Glasgow park achieves top accolade

Glasgow's only country park wins competition to be declared Europe's Best Park.

Manicured: formal gardens form part of Pollok Country Park. Credit: Paskett PR
Manicured: formal gardens form part of Pollok Country Park. Credit: Paskett PR

Pollok Country Park in Glasgow has been crowned Europe's Best Park in a prestigious competition highlighting the top green spaces in Europe thanks to its breadth of features.

From wild woodland to perfectly manicured formal gardens, the 146ha park in south-west Glasgow has such diversity that it beat competition from entries from France, Italy, Sweden, Germany and Poland.

In the five-year history of the contest, created by Briggs & Stratton, this is the very first time a UK park has won the prestigious prize.

Glasgow City Council's director of land and environmental services Robert Booth said he was thrilled by the win: "It's a fantastic accolade; Pollok Country Park has very high-quality grounds and gardens, as well as different amenities and attractions, and it's that mix that makes it unique."

The country park also encompasses historic Pollok House, the Burrell Collection museum, children's play areas and a riverside walk. Ninety-nine Highland cattle roam the green landscape that seems to stretch for miles, while horses live in the old stables courtyard, where a former sawmill is set to be transformed into a visitor centre in the future.

Parks, transport and environmental manager Kenny Boyle said horticultural excellence was his aim and Glasgow's apprenticeship scheme was strongly supporting that focus. He added: "Other local authorities come to us to train their apprentices. We've also experimented with planting and bedding."

Set to host the Commonwealth Games in 2014, Glasgow is undergoing huge regeneration and the win is an important feather in the cap of parks staff and residents of the city.

Pollok Country Park is Glasgow's only country park and the judges were also swayed by its accessibility, at 4.8km from the city centre.

The official award presentation on 26 February was a chance for staff to celebrate the recognition of their work. Land and environmental services executive member Councillor Ruth Simpson accepted the award on behalf of the city.

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