Rouken Glen Park

Glasgow, Scotland

Rouken Glen Park is one of the largest areas of parkland in Glasgow.

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- Catherine Poh Huay Tan

Discover Rouken Glen Park in Glasgow

At approximately 143 acres, Rouken Glen Park is one of the largest and most cherished public green spaces in Glasgow, earning accolades for its amenities and natural allure. Named after the tranquil Rouken Glen River – meandering through its expanse – the park comprises woodlands, filled with tree species like beech, oak, and sycamore, alongside ponds, and cascading waterfalls. Each feature provides a home to hundreds of animals in the park.

Alongside its natural elements, there are a range of man-made attractions at Rouken Glen Park, including a boating pond, a network of walking and cycling trails, a charming walled garden, recreational areas, and a cosy cafe. Additionally, the park hosts lots of events throughout the year, including the popular weekly ‘Parkrun’ that draws participants every Saturday morning.

Rouken Glen Park, having evolved from a private estate into a meticulously designed public park, showcases the architectural styles of its 19th-century origins. Today, the park is a blend of historical charm and modern amenities, making it perfect for visitors of all ages.

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- Catherine Poh Huay Tan

Inside Rouken Glen Park

Rouken Glen Park, with its lush woodlands, meandering streams, and picturesque waterfalls, is a beautiful example of Scotland's distinctive countryside. The diverse terrain varies from flat expanses to sloping grounds, with tree-lined belts enclosing open grasslands. Upon which there are both formal architectural features and natural landscapes.

Thornliebank House

The site of Thornliebank House offers a glimpse into its past glory, with a visitor shelter marking its location. Birkenshaw Cottage, now part of the Thornliebank House Stable Court, showcases a mix of architectural styles, from Charles Wilson's original design to later extensions by Alfred Waterhouse. Although the house itself was demolished in 1963, remnants like the gothic Garden Terrace still stand.

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- Catherine Poh Huay Tan

The Walled Garden and Auldhouse Burn

Tucked away southwest of the stable block, the Walled Garden, constructed in the 19th century, features formal beds, pergolas, ashlar blocks and brick lining, with traces of its original glass-house.

Another highlight in the park is the man-made waterfall, or weir, and wooden footbridges, crossing over the Auldhouse Burn.

The park's drives and approaches retain their 19th-century charm, serving as main circuit routes, alongside newer walks introduced in recent years. Paths wind through the landscape, following the course of the Auldhouse Burn, flanked by deciduous trees and vibrant undergrowth.

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- Catherine Poh Huay Tan

Waterfalls and Ponds

Water features play a significant role at the park. Especially the waterfalls, originally harnessed for industrial purposes, which now provide a scenic backdrop along the woodland trails. What was the curling pond, was transformed into the boating pond in 1923.

Woodland Walking and Cycling Trails

Alongside the main pathways, the trails allow visitors to further explore the Rouken Glen parkland. Forking off and running parallel from the gorge alongside the Auldhouse Burn these paths are relatively easy to navigate and are connected with bridges, paths, and stepped areas. They are also Ramblers Scotland Medal routes, ranging from Bronze to Gold abilities. For a more adventurous trek, visitors can tackle the 'Devil's Staircase,' a challenging ascent with 100 steps. At the 50th step, look out for the carved devil's face!

While the trails are generally accommodating for all ages, visitors are advised to wear waterproof shoes, especially after rainfall, as paths can become muddy. While some sections offer smooth, paved paths suitable for prams and wheelchairs, others entail rougher terrain and numerous steps, posing challenges for individuals with limited mobility.

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- Catherine Poh Huay Tan

Animals at the Park

Animal species at Rouken Glen Park range from shrews, voles, and wood mice to the majestic Roe Deer. Among the notable inhabitants are otters, who can occasionally be seen bobbing along the Rouken Glen River. Hedgehogs and the occasional badger also make appearances. Visitors can learn to identify some of these mammals by accessing the resources available in the 'Related media' section of the park's website.

Rouken also hosts non-native species such as the grey squirrel and mink. These were initially introduced for estate aesthetics but the squirrels are now considered pests, due to their impact on native red squirrel populations, while the mink preys on local wildlife, and is posing a threat to species like the water vole.

Situated southwest of Rutherglen, Rouken Glen Park is nestled amidst an urban backdrop, bordered by residential areas to the north and east, with an industrial estate to the northwest. In light of this the park also provides a home for the adaptable red fox, which thrives in urban environments due to the abundance of food waste.


Throughout the year, Rouken Glen Park is frequented by a lot of different birds. Resident species include Mallards, Moorhens, Coots, Black-headed Gulls, Grey Herons, and Swans. Winter brings additional visitors such as Tufted Ducks, Goosanders, Little Grebes, Kingfishers, and Grey Wagtails.

While feeding the ducks is a popular activity, visitors are encouraged to provide healthier alternatives such as bird seed, unfrozen peas, and green vegetables to prevent pond contamination and ensure the ducks' well-being.


The park's pond serves as a breeding ground for three amphibian species during early spring: the common frog, the common toad, and the palmate newt.


As well as amphibians, Rouken Glen's pond teems with seven species of fish too. These include the predatory pike and the colourful perch. Other species such as the three-spined stickleback, minnow, and stone loach contribute to the pond's ecosystem. Although brown trout and common eels have been recorded, fishing is prohibited to protect the wildlife.


The park supports a diverse range of moth species, including the July Highflyers, Brimstones, and Rustics, among others.

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- Catherine Poh Huay Tan

Plants and Trees

During summer, the park's upper reaches near the railway line come alive with wild orchids, including the early Purple Orchid and the rare Greater Butterfly Orchid. Efforts are underway to manage invasive species like Rosebay Willow Herb to protect these delicate flowers.

Other species of flora include the Orange Hawkbit, also known as Fox and Cub, and various trees such as the Wellingtonia, Douglas Fir, and English Yew. The presence of ancient woodland indicators like Wood Anemone and Wood Sorrel suggests the area's rich ecological history.

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- Catherine Poh Huay Tan

The History of Rouken Glen Park

The history of Rouken Glen Park dates back to 1530 when it was gifted to the 1st Earl of Montgomery by James V. Originally known as Birkenshaw, the area housed the Rock End Meal Mill, dating back to the early 16th century.

Archibald Cameron Corbett, a well-known politician and philanthropist, played a pivotal role in Rouken Glen's history. He not only gifted the estate to Glasgow Corporation but also contributed other lands for public benefit, such as the Ardkinglas Estate in 1905.

During World War I, Rouken Glen House served as a refuge for Belgian refugees fleeing German occupation, highlighting its role in times of adversity. Later, in the 1980s and 1990s, it gained fame for attractions like the Butterfly Kingdom, fondly remembered by many as a school trip destination.

Despite challenges such as closure during World War II and subsequent military use, Rouken Glen Park has endured as a cherished public space. Today, under the management of East Renfrewshire Council, it remains a place of natural beauty and historical significance.

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- Catherine Poh Huay Tan

Events at Rouken Glen Park

More than just a natural retreat, Rouken Glen Park is very community focussed, hosting a plethora of events, from outdoor concerts and theatrical performances to art exhibitions and educational workshops throughout the year.

Glasgow Foodies Festival 2024

This year, the park is hosting the Glasgow Foodies Festival 2024. This year promises to be the grandest yet, featuring MasterChef Champions, Michelin-starred chefs, local culinary talents, delectable food, refreshing drinks, and live music performances by Symphonic Ibiza, Scouting For Girls, and Blue.

Other highlights include:

  • At the Cake & Bake Theatre expert bakers, including stars from the Great British Bake Off, will share their baking secrets and easy-to-make recipes.
  • In the Drinks Theatre, you can sample new wines, champagnes, and cocktails while enjoying delightful street food from around the globe.
  • For £25.00 per person Celebrity Chef Nigel Brown is hosting the all-new Cook School sessions where visitors can immerse themselves in an Authentic Thai Green Curry Cook School experience.

Awards for Rouken Glen Park

Rouken Glen Park has received numerous accolades, including being voted the UK's Best Park at the Fields in Trust annual awards in 2016. It holds a 4-star visitor attraction rating from Visit Scotland and has been awarded Green Flag status, reflecting its excellence as a public green space.

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- Catherine Poh Huay Tan

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