Inventory Garden & Designed Landscape

Pollok Park (Nether Pollok)GDL00317

Status: Designated


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Date Added
Last Date Amended
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Eastwood, Govan, Paisley
NS 54964 61795
254964, 661795

Pollok Park is an all-round outstanding estate landscape, celebrated as a work of art in its own right, for its architecture and for its enormous scenic and environmental contribution to the city of Glasgow.


Inventory record and inventory boundary revised in 2018.

Type of Site

Large estate landscape within the city of Glasgow, including country house and Burrell Museum, parks, woodlands, garden grounds and network of estate drives and ancillary buildings, together with mainly peripheral areas of amenity and recreational grounds.

Main Phases of Landscape Development

1750s, 1785-1850, 1890-1910, (1922-24 Pollok Golf Course)

Artistic Interest

Level of interest

Numerous written accounts written from the 18th century onwards show that the designed landscape has been consistently valued as a work of art in its own right over a long period. They range from Crawford's observation of 'parks and meadows, excellently well planted' in 1710, through to McDonald's effusive description in his bestselling guide to Glasgow of 1854: 'The gardens and pleasure grounds of Pollok are on a princely scale of magnificence' (1854: 133). Sir John Stirling Maxwell's 'horticultural enterprise' attracted praise in Country Life in 1934, where the author considered there were 'few better examples of a building successfully related to its landscape' (Taylor 1934: 389).  


In the early 21st century landscape, Pollok Park continues to be highly valued as a large area of greenspace and an international visitor attraction within the bounds of the city of Glasgow. In addition to the art collections (housed within Pollok House, and the Burrell Museum), the park is known especially for its walks, historic parklands, and varied garden grounds (Tierney 2008). The Country Park was recognised with Britain's Best Park Award in 2007 and was awarded Europe's Best Park in 2008. 


The involvement of the renowned golf architect, Sir Alister MacKenzie (1870-1934), in the 1920 redesign of the Pollok Park Golf Course is also of interest in this category.


Level of interest

Historical documents of various dates and types survive and inform a good understanding of the estate grounds and their development from the late medieval period onwards. In addition to early records that describe 16th century components (described in Haynes 2016: 10), there is an important estate plan drawn up in 1741, 18th century letters and artworks, a series of early 19th century watercolours, plant and tree lists, early 20th century photographs of the garden scheme by Rowand Anderson and Stirling-Maxwell (eg Country Life 1913). Glasgow Corporation documents relate to the creation of the Pollok housing on former estate lands in the earlier 20th century. Meanwhile, physical evidence, ranging from earlier building fabric to buried archaeological deposits, contributes further value in this category (see also under archaeological value)..


As a whole, the designed landscape is a good representative of a long established, multi-period estate landscape that has developed and expanded from a medieval landholding. Its uninterrupted possession by a single family over a long period gives it the added distinction of having survived and adapted to the expansion of a major industrial city on its doorstep. Part of this adaptation has fulfilled the recreational and sporting ambition of local communities, and Pollok Park is part of the sporting history of the city (O'Brien 2010). Further interest derives from the involvement of Sir John Stirling Maxwell and the town-planner, Sir (Leslie) Patrick Abercrombie, in the design stages of Pollok along model garden city lines.


Level of interest

Pollok Park has long-established garden grounds with a diverse collection of plants, shrubs and trees and a tradition of celebrated veteran trees from as early as the 1820s (Strutt 1826). Although some of the older veterans were lost during the 20th century, the Pollok Beech remains a famous heritage tree, and a transplant of the former Beggar Tree grows to the north of the house. The Tree Register records 26 champion trees, mainly located in the woodland garden and the areas around Pollok House. These include five country champions and one Britain and Ireland champion ( 2018).


The rhododendron collection, mainly associated with Sir John Stirling Maxwell, is of interest in this category, as is his role in collecting, reporting his work, and making hybrids (Stirling-Maxwell 1917). Displays of fruit, vegetables and herbaceous plants, which are labelled and regularly renewed in the demonstration gardens in the walled garden, contribute further interest.


Level of interest

The designed landscape forms the setting for the classical style Pollok House, built 1750-52 with later additions, and recognised for its national architectural and historic interest. The designed landscape as a whole also contains an outstanding collection of architectural features of different periods. These include the ornamental bridge over the White Cart Water and the multi-period stable complex, which contains fabric from the earlier Laighe Castle, and other structures, investigated in 2009 through standing building survey (Mitchell 2009). Late 19th century lodge buildings and gatepiers are significant landmarks at the edges of the designed landscape. The Burrell Museum, completed in 1983, is also recognised for its national architectural and historic interest.


Level of interest

Pollok Park is known for its wealth of archaeological sites, dating from prehistory onwards and surviving by virtue of their location in country estate parklands that have remained undeveloped. Many of these, including the site of Polloktoun, the mound in the woodland garden, the Iron Age fort in North Wood, and the stable complex, have been investigated as part of a wider research project into the archaeological evolution of the park (Mitchell 2009). While there are no scheduled monuments within the designed landscape boundary, information from these surveys provide new information on the evolution of the Pollok landscape, and contribute high value in this category.


Level of interest

Pollok Park is a large designed landscape set within the urban environment of southwest Glasgow. Its open and wooded grounds contribute major scenic value in this part of the city. In longer distance views, the green parks, fields and playing grounds, and the thick canopy of the woods and shelterbelts, (especially on the rising ground of the drumlins), contrast with the densely settled residential, industrial and mixed-use urban fabric around the designed landscape perimeter. In shorter-distance views at the edges of Pollok Park, such as along Damshot Crescent, lines of trees, the outer edges of wooded copses and shelterbelts, and/or the distinctive architecture of lodges and gates, with glimpsed views into tree-lined drives and parks, are also important in adding scenic interest and character to the local area, and highlighting the presence of a historic country estate landscape.

Nature Conservation

Level of interest

Pollok Park is a large area of greenspace within an urban environment, strongly valued as a major asset to the city, and recognised for its biodiversity and landscape value through local landscape designations (City Development Plan Its woodlands, parkland and veteran trees, core parklands, the White Cart Water and other areas, including the fishpond, and the wildlife garden, provide diverse habitats for a range of wildlife. In the country park, the quality and potential of the habitats are monitored and championed by an on-site countryside ranger service, which also coordinates conservation initiatives and a programme of activities and events through the year (Glasgow City Council 2017;

Location and Setting

Pollok Park is in Glasgow, 5km southwest of the city centre. It is an important large area of urban greenspace, with a tradition of stewardship for public amenity and enjoyment.


The Country Park, designated in 1981, comprises the public areas of Pollok House, its main ancillary buildings, garden grounds, parklands, main approach, North Wood and the Burrell Museum. Surrounding areas are mainly in use for golf courses and other recreational grounds, with former estate buildings and later sporting clubhouses. There is a substantial network of roads and paths, which form the basis for numerous journeys, frequently by bicycle and foot. The landscape contains many known archaeological sites.


The topography is undulating, with low drumlin hills rising to around 60m above ordnance datum above the low-lying corridor of the White Cart Water. This watercourse flows on a meandering course from east to west, varying in width and depth as it bisects the designed landscape. Historically it has played an important role in landscape development, with the shallow fording point near Pollok House attracting earlier settlement and its flow powering the estate sawmill and hydroelectricity turbine (Haynes 2016: 44). Aesthetically, it is an essential part of views to and from the south front of the 18th century Pollok House, which also take in the 1754 stone bridge.


At the centre of the designed landscape, Pollok House stands above a wide and shallow section of the White Cart Water, set to take advantage of views south over garden terraces to policy parklands (now golf courses) and woods. To the north, the Lime Avenue is a dominant landscape feature. The White Cart Water and the core parklands within its flood plain are also important scenic elements within the central areas of the designed landscape. More generally, the open grounds and extensive woodlands throughout the park create visual interest and scenic contrast with adjacent landscapes in longer distance views. Within the designed landscape, thick shelterbelts create areas of more intimate scale (including around the Burrell Museum) and restrict views of surrounding areas.


Covering around 470 hectares, the designed landscape is surrounded by urban districts of Glasgow, built up from the later 19th century. The inventory boundary is formed by roads, railway and property boundaries that divide mainly urban fabric from the open and/or wooded grounds of Pollok's former or current estate lands. While the peripheral areas of the designed landscape close to these boundaries have also witnessed change and development (usually in association with recreation), the separation between urban and rural remains generally clear in the present landscape (2018).


The inventory boundary is formed by the M77 to the northwest and Dumbreck Road and Haggs Road to the northeast. The western boundary is formed by the western edge of Corkerhill Community Park and the western edge of the open/wooded grounds at Damshot Crescent. To the south and east, the boundary is formed by Boydstone Road and the railway line through Pollokshaws.

Site History

The designed landscape of Pollok Park is the product of centuries of building and landscape projects, from its inception as a medieval estate, through to its 21st century form and Glasgow's 'green lung'.


Its early origins date to around 1270, when Nether Pollok (part of the Barony of Mearns and Pollok) was granted to Sir John Maxwell (1243-1306). Located close to the medieval town of Glasgow, the estate became a trading and administrative centre of increasing power, with three successive castles built in the 13th-14th centuries.


The core of the estate was on the White Cart Water, and fabric from later adaptations of the third castle (the Laighe Castle) survives within the present stable complex (Mitchell 2009). Documents of the late 16th century describe associated orchards, woods and yards (produce gardens) (Haynes 2016: 10). There was a causeway across the river, and a settlement called Polloktoun immediately to its south (Ogilvy 1741, Canmore ID 44389). Meanwhile, succeeding generations of the Maxwell family consolidated and expanded their estate, adding neighbouring landholdings such as Haggs, Pollokshaws and Cowglen.


By 1732, when Sir John Maxwell of Blawarthill inherited, the much-adapted Laighe Castle was at the centre of a compact arrangement of long-established garden grounds. These were described as 'curious orchards and gardens' surrounded by 'large parks and meadows, excellently well planted' (Crawford 1710). Keen to make his mark, Sir John Maxwell began investigations for a modern mansion house on a new site, 'where some architects and people of skill tell me I shall find a much more preferable situation' (National Archives of Scotland GD220/5/884/2-3). An estate plan, drawn up in 1741, survives as a valuable document of the earlier landscape on the brink of change (Ogilvy 1741).


The vision of a new house and grounds was embraced by Sir John's son, who succeeded as 3rd baronet in 1752. Having travelled on a grand tour in his youth, the new laird probably steered the classical design of the house (completed 1752), together with the ornamental bridge and cascades (Haynes 2016: 11). The much adapted Laighe Castle, now redundant as a residence, was incorporated into new stabling while the ruin of the older (second) castle was demolished – its environs transformed as a wilderness garden in the later 18th century.


After a quick succession of lairds, the drive for improvement continued from 1785under the 7th baronet, Sir John Maxwell, and his wife, Lady Hannah.


Like other landowners of this era, they sought to increase the productive capacity of their estate through agricultural improvement and woodland management, while also enhancing the setting of Pollok House. Trees were planted, fields and garden grounds improved, and the residents of Polloktoun moved so the old village south of the White Cart could be demolished in favour of open parkland views to and from the house.


Drawn in 1796, Ainslie's map shows Pollok House at the centre of a transformed and mature parkland and woodland estate with much of the structure of the present landscape in place - open grounds, plantations, buildings, drives, farms- (Ainslie 1796). By this time, there was a good range of timber (Haynes 2016: 25-26) and Pollok had a growing reputation for veteran trees and parkland specimens (Strutt 1826, McDonald 1854). In terms of aesthetics, an engraving of 1798 depicts Pollok House in a tranquil riverside setting (Anon. 1798), while a series of different watercolour scenes, painted in the 1820s-30s by an unknown artist, and preserved in scrapbooks created by Lady Hannah, show views of the house and other estate buildings and grounds with lush green backdrops of parks, wood, farms, fields and local landmarks, such as Crookston Castle (, information courtesy of National Trust for Scotland).


Although mining and quarrying on estate land had already begun by this time, Pollok was still set within a very rural landscape, clearly separate from the city of Glasgow. Incrementally this changed, first with the coming of the railway from 1845, skirting the parks to the southeast, and then with the ongoing feuing of estate lands, meeting the demand of an expanding city and resulting in the development of Pollokshields and other built districts, initially to the north and east.


One of the most influential figures in the history of the designed landscape was Sir John Stirling-Maxwell, 10th baronet (1866-1956), who witnessed and shaped this wider change around the periphery of the estate during the later 19th century and first half of the 20th century, together with important modifications to Pollok House and grounds. A member of parliament, Stirling-Maxwell went on to serve in leading roles with a range of public bodies and was a founder member of the National Trust for Scotland. His interests ranged from horticulture and forestry through to architecture and town-planning. He was an advocate of the benefits of outdoor space and green land for city-dwellers and a supporter of the Garden City movement.


At Pollok, Stirling-Maxwell recruited the well-known architect, Robert Rowand Anderson (1834-1921), from 1890 to design extensions to the house and oversee a new formal garden scheme along the south front. A subscriber to contemporary plant hunting expeditions, Stirling-Maxwell introduced specimen trees and shrubs, developed the woodland garden, and cultivated rhododendron hybrids, creating mature gardens noted for their design success by the 1930s (Taylor 1934). New lodge buildings and a refined system of drives were also part of the programme of works.


Beyond the core garden grounds, Stirling-Maxwell harnessed the economic potential of the land, and created what effectively became  a 'buffer' of amenity and recreational grounds between the inner grounds of Pollok House and the expanding city (O'Brien 2010: 81). New infrastructure, planting and land-forming associated with these grounds substantially changed the former parkland character of the outer policies. However, they also followed on from a long sporting tradition at Pollok which ranged from 18th to 19th century horseracing and golf, through to curling, lawn tennis and archery (O'Brien 2010: 78-85). Building on this tradition, Stirling-Maxwell leased and donated land for allotments, golf courses and other recreational sports. Among these were Poloc Cricket Club, founded in 1880, Cartha Athletic Club in 1889, Pollok Golf Club in 1892, Cowglen Golf Club in 1906 and Haggs Castle Golf Club in 1910.


Located just south of the White Cart Water, Pollok Golf Course was redesigned in 1922-24 by the renowned golf architect, Alister MacKenzie (1870-1934). It was among the first to be designed following the principles he set out in his 1920 book, 'Golf Architecture', in which he favoured the use of natural features and hazards over artificially sculpted courses (MacKenzie 1920).


In the 1930s, Stirling-Maxwell corresponded with the leading town-planner Sir (Leslie) Patrick Abercrombie (1879–1957) on developments in the agricultural lands west of Pollok House. Remembered mainly for his major work on the Greater London Plan, and for his role in shaping post-war Glasgow, Abercrombie was, at the time, Professor of Civic Design at the University of Liverpool, and a prolific and respected consultant during the interwar period. His concern for the preservation of rural amenity and landscape chimed with Stirling-Maxwell's outlook (Mooney 1998).


In 1926, Glasgow's city boundaries had expanded to include this rural area in anticipation of large-scale housing development, and in 1934, Stirling-Maxwell sold the land to Glasgow Corporation. A critic of existing housing schemes elsewhere, and drawing on Abercrombie's support, Stirling-Maxwell helped influence what was heralded at the time as the 'premier garden suburb of the city'. To offset the necessarily built character of the housing scheme, hilltops were left open, roads would be wide and lined with trees, and 'a belt of country' would be left along the Cart and Levern to 'provide pleasure walks', and retain 'sylvan beauty' (Glasgow Corporation D-HE/6/3/38, 1937; Mooney 1998, Maver 2000: 260).


To the north and east, Pollok Park had already become surrounded by urban development and the ensuing building work now also radically changed the former rural landscape to the west. Although designed to 'blend in' with the natural amenities (Mooney 1998: 34-35), the new garden suburb of Pollok nevertheless represented a substantial change in character. Built in stages from 1937, it replaced a more gentle and fluid transition from rural estate parkland to rural agricultural landscape in the 19th century and early 20th century (which itself shifted over time) with a much more defined boundary between urban fabric (streets, houses, pavements, gardens) and estate policies (woods, open grounds, open recreational grounds). The planting of woodland clumps east and northeast of Damshot Crescent to screen the housing development in the 1930s to 40s reinforced this line as a clear threshold between the two contrasting environments.


Sir James Stirling-Maxwell is remembered for opening up part of the Pollok House grounds to the people of Glasgow in 1911. He also secured the first Conservation Agreement with the National Trust of Scotland in 1939, covering an area of the parkland (Haynes 2016: 18). In 1966, ten years after his death, his daughter, Anne Maxwell Macdonald gifted Pollok House, its collections and 146 hectares of the estate to the City of Glasgow – the basis for the present Country Park, established in 1980.


In the early 21st century, Pollok Park has a strong identity as a 'destination park' and is the largest area of green space within Glasgow, valued for its amenity value, major cultural and sporting heritage and environmental importance (eg. O'Brien 2010, Tierney 2008). In 1983, the Burrell Museum was completed to become an important visitor attraction in its own right, alongside Pollok House and its grounds. In the late 20th and early 21st century, the construction of the M77 elicited strong protests, as did plans for an outdoor adventure park in North Wood (which did not come to fruition). In 2007, Pollok Country Park was recognised with Britain's Best Park Award and in 2008, it was awarded Europe's Best Park. From around this time, archaeological investigations and standing building survey in the grounds have provided valuable detail on sites and early built fabric at Pollok Park, together with better sequencing of Pollok House itself and the stable courtyard (Mitchell 2009).

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Pollok House, at the centre of the designed landscape, is a large classical-style country house built 1750-52 to replace earlier structures. Local architect, Allan Dreghorn, may have designed the house, possibly with the influence of Sir James Maxwell, 3rd baronet (Haynes 2016: 11). Additions by Robert Rowand Anderson from 1890 include pavilion wings, west extension, entrance hall and forecourt to the northeast. This forecourt has a banked entrance, curved retaining walls, tall urn-finialled gatepiers and iron gates.


The formal south front of Pollok House has a terraced garden with stone terrace walls, steps, balustrades and twin ogee-roofed garden pavilions, designed circa 1901 by Rowand Anderson. Two heraldic stone lions by Hew Lorimer (carved circa 1950) adorn the gatepiers of the terrace wall steps, which lead down to the river. Another pair sits on the driveway gatepiers of the north lodge drive at 97 Haggs Road. Set into the garden wall, a War Memorial commemorates staff and tenants who served in the First World War.


Important estate ancillaries stand to the southeast of Pollok House. The stable court is formed by a quadrangle of buildings of different dates, mainly from the 17th to 19th centuries, including re-used fabric from the 16th century Laighe Castle, and a 17th century gateway in the west range. A single-storey laundry (built 1914) stands just east of the stables in 1914. On the banks of the White Cart, there is a complex of buildings associated with the former estate sawmill (built 1860-80 with modifications and additions 1880s-1890s). An earlier weir at this location was adapted in the later 19th century for use for the sawmill.


Garden walls of rubble, ashlar and brick relating to different periods of building and modification extend up and around a hill to the east and southeast of Pollok House. They enclose the former pleasure or wilderness gardens (now the woodland garden), and the former kitchen gardens (now various demonstration gardens), located on the south-facing slope. There is a late 19th to early 20th century dry-bridge at the garden entrance from the stables driveway.


Due south of Pollok House, the bridge over the White Cart Water is a single-span ashlar stone bridge with carved balusters on its parapet walls, built 1757-58.


Set within the parks and woodlands northeast of Pollok Park, the Burrell Museum is a large bespoke museum designed by Barry Gasson Architects from 1971-1983. It is a 4-storey, L-plan building of red sandstone and extensive glazing, built to hold Sir William and Lady Burrell's vast collection of art and antiquities that had been donated to the City of Glasgow in 1944.


Lodge buildings at Pollok Park include the modified former east lodge at 55 Haggs Road (built early 19th century), and three ornamental entrance lodges designed by Robert Rowand Anderson in the 1890s. These are Shawmuir Lodge and gatepiers on Pollokshaws Road (built 1891 as the lodge to a new section of driveway), the Scots Renaissance style north lodge at 97 Haggs Road Lodge (built 1892), and the south lodge at 300 Barrhead Road, (built 1900, and attributed to Rowand Anderson with less certainty). The gateway at this lodge also contains some older fabric.


Other former traditional-style estate buildings at Pollok Park date mainly from the 19th century and include modified farmhouses and buildings (including Broompark Farm, Knowehead, Sheeppark Farm, Dumbreck Riding School and Corkerhill Farm) and a former estate school at Bankhead Cottages. Pollok Park also contains 19th century rail infrastructure associated with the Glasgow, Barrhead and Neilston Direct Railway and the Glasgow and Kilmarnock Joint Railway. Around the periphery of the designed landscape, there are 20th century sporting clubhouses and other buildings associated with the golf courses and other recreational grounds at Pollok Park.


Boundary features include sandstone policy walls, retaining walls, field walls or dykes, estate fencing and gates.


Outside of the designation boundary, other significant built features historically associated with the Pollok estate include Crookston Castle (SM90085), to the west, and Haggs Castle (LB33467) to the northeast.


Crookston Castle was built in the 1400s, but is set within earthworks dating back to the 1100s. Already a ruin, it became part of the Pollok estate from the 18th to earlier 20th century and underwent some restoration works in 1847 by the 7th Baronet (Rees 2018: 6). With a hilltop position, above the confluence of the Levern Water and the White Cart, the castle formed a landmark in views across the rural landscape west from the Pollok House grounds, as depicted in two of the 1820s-30s watercolours, and in photographs taken just prior to the urban development of this landscape from 1937 onwards (, Glasgow Corporation D-HE/6/3/38: 1937). The castle is in the care of Historic Environment Scotland. Haggs Castle, to the northeast, is also outside of the designed landscape boundary. Built in the later 16th century, it was restored in 1860 as the residence of the estate factor. It is now in private ownership.

Drives & Approaches

The network of roads into and around Pollok Park derives from a mixture of older thoroughfares, formal entrance drives, secondary estate roads, and later sections of road and track. They now form the basis for various journeys by car, bicycle and foot and include routes 7 and 75 of the national cycle network. Other historic routes are no longer viable, now present in the landscape only as footpaths or curtailed or residual sections of path. The 19th century gate lodges at the periphery of the designed landscape are distinctive architectural landmarks signalling former or current entrance points.  


The tree-lined Pollok Avenue is the most enduring approach route in the designed landscape. Leading west to Pollok House from Pollokshaws Road, its straight trajectory past woods and parks was the main access route in the late 18th and 19th centuries (Ainslie 1796, Ordnance Survey 1858), and it remains the most important route into the park in the early 21st century (2018). The curve of the route southwards following the river is the result of a later 19th century realignment to make way for rail infrastructure. Shawmuir Lodge was built in 1891 to provide an ornamental gate lodge for this new entrance to the park.


To the north, Guid Man's Road leads west into the policies from Haggs Road, through gatepiers and past two former east gate lodges. The name derives from a former adjacent plot of land - Guid Man's Croft – by tradition a parcel of land left untilled and dedicated to the devil (Dictionary of the Scots Language: Part of the 19th century network of drives, it is now in use as a vehicular exit point only (2018) (Ordnance Survey 1858 and 1895).


The other main vehicular access point is the Lochinch Entrance from Dumbreck Road to the north. This was not one of the formal 19th century entrance drives for Pollok House, but part of the wider network of roads that connected different parts of the estate. The route passes Red Lodge, built in the mid-later 19th century to control access to North Wood, and follows the west edge of North Wood to arrive at Pollok House.


The historic South Drive from Barrhead Road is no longer viable. In place from the late 18th century, it is shown on Ainslie's map of 1796 and remained important enough at the end of the 19th century to warrant rebuilding of an earlier gate lodge in around 1900 (300 Barrhead Road). A further entrance route from Sheeppark Farm is also no longer open.


While entrance drives from the south and southeast offered better views of Pollok House in its parkland setting, northern approaches proved more practical (Haynes 2016: 27). The creation of an improved North Drive through the North Wood from a new ornamental gate lodge and gatepiers at Haggs Road by Rowand Anderson was part of the late 19th century landscape projects initiated by Sir John Stirling Maxwell.  This is no longer open as an entrance route to Pollok House. The alignments of the drives and paths through the North Wood remain in place, however, used by walkers and cyclists.


Long established grazed parks either side of Pollok Avenue give a pastoral landscape setting for Pollok House and its main approach. Deerpark, to the north, and Driplea, to the south, lie within the clay-rich floodplain of the White Cart Water. Sheltered by wooded areas, they contain veteran parkland trees as individuals, roundels and a larger copse, together with some lines of trees along earlier field boundary lines. Highland Cattle graze these parks, continuing a practice begun by the Maxwell family in the early 19th century (Haynes 2016: 31). Surviving areas of rig and furrow in these parks indicate earlier cultivation of this land.


South of Pollok House and the White Cart Water, expansive areas of former estate parkland are in use as golf courses. In these areas, the design framework of woodland shelterbelts largely survives, while the pattern of earlier parkland roundels and scatter (individual trees) survives in part. This survival is most notable in Pollok Golf Course, between Barrhead Road and the White Cart Water where there was a denser coverage of parkland planting in the 19th century (Ordnance Survey 1858 and 1895).


This area is prominent in views south from Pollok House and its garden terraces. It was the parkland setting for the former southern approaches to Pollok House via the 18th century bridge over the White Cart Water. A roundel of trees and some rubble scatters south of the White Cart mark the site of the old settlement of Polloktoun, demolished in 1798, with the inhabitants relocated to Bogles Bridge to make way for uninterrupted parkland views (Mitchell 2009).


Elsewhere, former estate parks and agricultural fields beyond the core garden grounds at Pollok Park are in use for informal recreation, allotments, golf or other sports. They include the grassed and play areas immediately around the Burrell Museum, Haggs Castle Golf Course to the north and northwest of the designed landscape, and various playing fields to the east. Around these fields, thick woodland shelterbelts survive largely as shown on the 19th century Ordnance Survey maps (published 1864 and 1896). The D-shaped Hayfield (east of the Burrell Museum) and the Shinty Field (west of Polloc Cricket Ground) remain in use for cattle grazing.


Open grounds with some surviving tree plantations, of various planting dates (shelterbelts or loose roundels or clumps) also occur along the western edge of the designed landscape and include Corkerhill Community Park, the grasslands opposite Damshot Crescent, and the fields south of Broompark Farm. Together, these part-open, part-wooded grounds contrast with adjacent urban areas. They link up to form a coherent edge to the designed landscape, particularly when viewed outside of the designed landscape boundary, such as on Damshot Crescent, and represent general continuity of landscape character.

Avenues and Vistas

Aligned north to south, Lime Tree Avenue extends from the main north gates of Pollok House and uphill through North Wood. It is a grassed avenue flanked by mature lime trees, which survive as a double avenue in places. Planted in 1888 as a gift to Sir John Stirling Maxwell on his 21st birthday, and marking the final approach of the former north drive, it is a dominant landscape feature in views to and from Pollok House. At its northern limit, the avenue meets the perpendicular Rhododendron Walk through North Wood. Lined with rhododendron varieties, this was part of the late 19th to early 20th century projects initiated by Sir John Stirling Maxwell. Other avenues of trees (of various planting dates) also line the main historic routes within the designed landscape, including Pollok Avenue and Guid Man's Road.


The more substantial policy woodlands are located on the higher drumlins above the White Cart Water, with a typical species mix of beech, sycamore, lime, oak, Corsican pine and Scots pine. To the northeast of Pollok House, North Wood is the largest area of semi-natural broadleaved woodland in the designed landscape, and is managed for forestry, conservation and public amenity (2018). It contains the earthwork remains of archaeological monuments, most notably an Iron Age fort, excavated in 2008 (Canmore ID 44294). Depicted on Ogilvy's estate plan of 1741, and Roy's Military Survey (1747-55), North Wood has undergone successive phases of planting, felling and restructuring with later 19th century landscape features including avenues, drives and a fishpond. The woods also contain mountain biking circuits and self-guided trails.


Pollokhead Wood is south of Barrhead Road, within Cowglen Golf Course. Historic documents describe it as managed woodland in 1593 (Haynes 2016: 10). Ainslie's map of 1796 suggests a prominent, formal planting style in the late 18th century, with a rondpoint, or circular open space on the summit of the hill with seven radiating axial vistas. Felling during the early 20th century substantially reduced the former continuous woodland cover, with some replanting in the mid-20th century partially replenishing the tree cover. In the early 21st century, further planting within the Golf Course has increased the total woodland coverage in this area, further expanding Pollokhead Wood, and also creating a belt along the northern edge of Kennishead Road. This belt replicates a pattern evident on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map.


To the west, and outside of the designed landscape boundary, Crookston Wood covers just a small part of a historically much larger area of estate woodland.


Due to their scale and location, the larger woodland areas within the designed landscape form an important scenic component in their own right, their mixed canopies extending over the higher grounds of the designed landscape and providing contrast with adjacent parklands, gardens and the surrounding urban districts of Glasgow. They provide the woodland setting for other built or landscape features, such as the drives or avenues. The woodland resource is also important for nature conservation as habitat for birds, invertebrates and other creatures together with fungi and woodland floor plant species.


Small-scale woodland elements at Pollok Park include planted field boundaries, thick woodland shelterbelts for parks and fields and parkland clumps and roundels, often crowning small hillocks. Other clumps or loose belts form part of the golf course design, or relate to 20th century planting for screening, or other purposes.


These trees are also important elements of the landscape as a whole – they frame open grounds, add scenic interest to the parklands, create compartments of more intimate-scaled areas, screen external urban fabric, and give cover for livestock.


These small scale, multi-period features can also tell a story. In the strip of land opposite Damshot Crescent, for example, a small stand of trees in the corner of a field was enlarged in the 1930s-40s, and accompanied by further planting, to create several large clumps designed to screen the growing Pollok housing estate (see under site history). One of these clumps stands within Corkerhill Community Park, north of the White Cart. In the present landscape, the mature trees and open grounds form a coherent edge to the Pollok Park designed landscape, especially when viewed from street level.

Woodland Garden

East of Pollok House, paths lead through a woodland garden containing specimen trees and flowering shrubs, including a collection of rhododendrons and related hybrids. Unusual specimens and champion trees contribute to the horticultural significance of the designed landscape. They include the British and Irish Champion Ilex pernyi (as recorded in 2001), several country champions (a Turner's oak, Quercus x turneri 'Pseudoturneri', a rowan, Sorbus 'Wilfrid Fox', and a wild service tree, Sorbus torminalis), together with several county-level champions ( Meanwhile, the canopy of trees adds to the overall scenic effect of the Pollok woodlands (see under 'Woodlands').


To the east, paths meet at an early 20th century stone urn. The centrepiece, however, is the Pollok Beech, a sprawling heritage tree on a large mound. Traditionally thought to mark the site of an earlier castle, archaeological investigation has proved inconclusive and the mound may represent a purely ornamental garden feature (Canmore ID 305247).


Planting began in the woodland garden with the development of this area as a wilderness garden in the late 18th century, while its later character was shaped by Sir John Stirling-Maxwell in the early 20th century. Stirling Maxwell helped fund plant-hunting expeditions to the Himalayas during this time and took a strong interest in rhododendrons - collecting and monitoring numerous varieties, reporting his findings to the Rhododendron Society and breeding seven recognised hybrids at Pollok (Stirling-Maxwell 1917).

Water Features

There are two cascades (or weirs or cauls) in the White Cart Water, built in 1757 either side of the stone bridge, each at a distance of about 150m from the bridge. The easternmost cascade was modified for use as part of the adjacent sawmill in the second half of the 19th century.


There is a large artificial pond in the North Wood, by the former north drive. Traditionally known as the fishpond, it was in place by 1860, and was enlarged to its present form, with five small islands, by the 1890s (Ordnance Survey 1895). It is valuable habitat for wildfowl and amphibians (Glasgow City Council 2011). A smaller pond of a later date is located in the Glade (see under Gardens).  

The Gardens

Formal terraced gardens extend along the south front of Pollok House with prominent ornamental built features including garden pavilions, balustrade terrace walls and flights of stone steps (see under architectural features). There are two terraces. Repeating parterre designs formed by clipped hedges extend along the upper terrace, while the lower terrace is now lawn (early 20th century parterres were replaced with grass by 1934 (Taylor 1934: 389). East of Pollok House, on a separate upper, square-plan terrace, the Library Garden retains a more complex parterre design with clipped hedges and bedding plants (2018).


These gardens were designed from 1901 by Sir John and his wife, Ann Christian Maxwell, and the architect, Sir Robert Rowand Anderson. The scheme replaced an earlier and simpler arrangement of four stepped garden terraces leading down to the river (Ordnance Survey 1858).


Garden areas elsewhere include those in the adjacent walled garden (see under walled garden), the woodland garden (see under woodland garden) and the rhododendron walk (see under avenues and vistas).


A small wildlife garden established in 1989 is located by the stable courtyard and walled garden. The Glade is a small clearing at the edge of North Wood to the north of Knowehead Cottage. It was designed in the 19th century with vistas through to a group of 12 silver birch trees. These have since been replaced by 12 Himalayan birch.


Just outside of the north entrance forecourt to Pollok House, there is a horse chestnut propagated from a branch of the former Beggar's Tree. This veteran tree, known to be standing in 1710 when it was illustrated by Crawford, blew down in 1982 (Haynes 2016: 24). By tradition, it marked the spot where alms were distributed to the poor of the district. Other specimens close to Pollok House include a county champion Cercidiphyllum japonicum, and a county champion Exeter elm Ulmus glabra 'Exoniensis' (



Walled Gardens

Located on a south facing slope, the former kitchen garden is divided into distinct, regular garden areas by paths, hedging and/or walls. The internal plan generally follows that in place during the 19th century (Ordnance Survey 1895), while the content and character of the gardens post-date 1975 (Glasgow City Council). Productive areas are in the centre, with formal lawns and flower beds to the west. There is a rock garden against the north wall, and an area of geometrical beds to the northwest, with a central wooden gazebo built in the 1990s. As a whole, the garden is enclosed by walls of various materials and dates (see under architectural features).


Walled enclosures for productive gardens and orchards were part of the late medieval landscape at Pollok (Haynes 2016: 10). The present location of the walled gardens corresponds to a similar shaped plot on Ogilvy's estate plan of 1741. The physical evidence of the present walls, together with maps and other sources suggest a long history of building, modification and garden fashion on this site. In common with other Victorian walled gardens at the end of the 19th century, there were glasshouses, a hot wall and melon pits in around 1900 (Ordnance Survey 1895).



Canmore: ID44390

Maps and Archives

Pont, T. (circa 1583-96), Renfrewshire – Pont 33 (

Ogilvy, R. (1741) Estate plan (reproduced in Haynes 2016: 11)

Roy (1747-55), Military Survey of Scotland (

Richardson, T. (1795) Map of the town of Glasgow & country seven miles around. (

Ainslie, J. (1796) Map of the County of Renfrew (

Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1857, published 1858) Renfrewshire XIII.5 (Eastwood) 25 inches to the mile. 1st Edition. Southampton: Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1857, published 1858) Renfrewshire XIII.9 (Eastwood)

25 inches to the mile. 1st Edition. Southampton: Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1858, published 1863) Renfrewshire, Sheet XIII (includes: Carmunnock; Cathcart; Eastwood; Glasgow; Govan; Rutherglen)

6 inches to the mile. 1st Edition. Southampton: Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1858, published 1864) Renfrewshire, Sheet XII (includes: Eastwood; Neilston; Paisley) 6 inches to the mile. 1st Edition. Southampton Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey (revised 1895, published 1895) Lanarkshire X.1 (Eastwood; Govan; Paisley) 25 inches to the mile. Southampton: Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey (revised 1893, published 1895) Lanarkshire X.5 (Cathcart; Eastwood) 25 inches to the mile. Southampton: Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey (revised 1894, published 1896) Lanarkshire Sheet X.NW (includes: Cathcart; Eastwood; Govan) 6 inches to the mile. Southampton: Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey (revised 1896, published 1898) Renfrewshire Sheet XII.SE (includes: Eastwood; Neilston; Paisley) 6 inches to the mile. Southampton: Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey (revised 1909, published 1913) Lanarkshire X.1 (Eastwood; Govan; Paisley) 25 inches to the mile. Southampton: Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey (revised 1909, revised 1910) Renfrewshire XIII.9 (Eastwood; Paisley) 25 inches to the mile. Southampton: Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey (revised 1911, published 1915) Lanarkshire Sheet X.NW (includes: Cathcart; Eastwood; Govan) 6 inches to the mile. Southampton: Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey (revised 1911, published 1915) Renfrewshire Sheet XII.SE (includes: Eastwood; Neilston; Paisley) 6 inches to the mile. Southampton: Ordnance Survey

National Archives of Scotland GD220/5/884/2-3

Glasgow Corporation D-HE/6/3/38: Corporation of Glasgow Housing Department

Housing Inspection and Ceremony of Cutting of the First Sod at Pollok Housing Scheme, 1937

Printed sources

Anon. (1798) Pollok House Engraving showing South of house and bridge over White Cart Water with two figures in foreground fishing. Insc: 'Pollok the seat of Sir John Maxwell Bar. '

Country Life (1913), 'Pollok House', 25 January, 126-31

Crawford, G. (1710) A General Description of the Shire of Renfrew

Glasgow City Council (2017) Biodiversity Duty Report 2014/15, 2015/2016 and 2016/17

Glasgow City Council (2011) Pollok Country Park Management Plan 2011-2016

Glasgow City Council (n.d.) Pollok Country Park Heritage Trail

Haynes, N. (2016) Pollok Park Conservation Area Appraisal, Glasgow City Council

McDonald (1854) Rambles round Glasgow, descriptive, historical, & traditional, Glasgow: Hedderwick & Son

Mackenzie, A. (1920) Golf Architecture: Economy in course construction and green keeping, London

Maver, I. (2000) Glasgow, Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh

Mitchell, M. (2009) Pollok Old Stables Standing Building Survey, in Pollok Country Park Management Plan 2011 – 2016 (Appendix 7, p.114-177), Glasgow City Council

Mooney, G. (1998), Changing Places. Perspectives on the development of a municipal suburban streetscape, in N. Fyfe (ed.) Images of the street: Planning, identity and control in public space, Routledge: London and New York.

O'Brien, G. (2010) Played in Glasgow: Charting the Heritage of a City in Play, Malavan Media: Glasgow

Stirling-Maxwell J. (1917) 'Rhododendrons at Pollok House, Renfrewshire' in The Rhododendron Society Notes 1917, (reprinted by the Pacific Rhododendron Society in 1976), 171-2

Strutt, J. (1826), Sylva Britannica; or, Portraits of forest trees, distinguished for their antiquity, London

Taylor G. C. (1934), 'The gardens at Pollok House, Glasgow' in Country Life, October 13, vol. 76, 388-93

Tierney (2008), 'Parklife' in The Herald Magazine, 17 May,

Online sources

City Development Plan Policy and Proposals Map, Glasgow City Council [accessed 11/04/2018]

Dictionary of the Scots Language: [accessed 11/04/2018]

Sir John Maxwell – 2nd baronet [accessed 11/04/2018]

The Tree Register of the British Isles, Champion Trees Database, [accessed 11/04/2018]

Other sources

Information on the 1820s-30s watercolours courtesy of correspondence with the National Trust for Scotland, 2018

About the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

The inventory is a list of Scotland's most important gardens and designed landscapes. We maintain the inventory under the terms of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We add sites of national importance to the inventory using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

The information in the inventory record gives an indication of the national importance of the site(s). It is not a definitive account or a complete description of the site(s). The format of records has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

Enquiries about development proposals, such as those requiring planning permission, on or around inventory sites should be made to the planning authority. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications of this type.

Find out more about the inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


North front of Pollok House and entrance gate, during daytime, trees to left and right.
View south from Pollok House garden terraces, during daytime, trees in distance.
Bridge over the White Cart Water, dark trees to left and right, reflecting river below bridge, light sky
Interior of Pollok stable complex, looking northwest through entrance archway, in daylight, cloudy sky
Burrell Museum on a sunny day, grass to foreground, blue sky
Pollok House formal garden scheme, hedge parterre to foreground, trees to background, ivy-covered pavilion building

Printed: 04/10/2023 05:05