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The great outdoors: Adventure, history, woods or bouldering? It’s a walk in the park around Glasgow

Mugdock Country Park, just outside Milngavie
Mugdock Country Park, just outside Milngavie

Glasgow might be Scotland’s largest urban area, but it’s packed with parks. Each is unique, so if you are looking for a fantastic play area, a hidden castle or beautiful scenery, you will find somewhere to suit you.

Mugdock Country Park, just outside Milngavie, is so much more than just a park.

Development officer, Pamela Grieve, says: “Mugdock is a mixture of woodland, moorland and heathland, all waiting to be explored. Take a walk to Mugdock Castle which overlooks Mugdock Loch, passing by the ruins of Craigend Castle. Pop into the Visitor Centre to purchase a Toadstool Trail map and collect your prize after solving the clues! Wander through Pheasants Wood then over Pietches Moor or head over to Khyber Field and see the Second World War gun sites.

“Take the kids to the play park and adventure trail then finish off with a refreshment in the Courtyard.”

On the outskirts of Paisley, you’ll find Gleniffer Braes. This sprawling park is a top pick for ornithologists, as it’s home to skylarks, meadow pipits, kestrels, sparrow hawks, chaffinches and goldcrests. In the grounds you might also spot a rare wildflower, roe deer and tawny owls.

Calderglen Country Park, a few miles from East Kilbride, has it all – a zoo, an adventure playground, ornamental gardens and a golf course.

Pollok Country Park is a tranquil spot for a walk amid beautiful scenery. While strolling through the wooded paths and verdant grounds, you will come across several mountain bike loops.

In the heart of the park sits Pollok House. The Edwardian country house has a collection of art and a tea room.

Cuningar Loop, in the heart of the city, is enclosed by a meander of the River Clyde. The parkland is home to an array of outdoor activities, and Paige Klinkman, visitor services manager for Forestry And Land Scotland, says: “Cuningar is fantastic for a day out for people of all ages. There is a wide range of facilities including an adventure play park and adult fitness area, a mountain bike skills area and the first outdoor bouldering park in Scotland.”

As autumn slips into winter, make the most of these opportunities to get out. Despite Covid restrictions, the simple pleasure of an autumnal walk remains unaffected.

In Lanarkshire, since it was built in the 13th Century, Bothwell Castle has played a crucial role in Scotland’s history.

There is so much to be discovered with a visit to Bothwell, with more than 700 years of battles, drama and folklore embedded within its walls. The sheer beauty of the ruined castle and its impressive location also cannot be exaggerated, making it the perfect spot for an afternoon of exploration and adventure.