5 In 5: Bellahouston Park

Bellahouston Park, view towards Mosspark: view from a path across a tree-filled park towards some houses on a hill with more hills in the background.
Bellahouston Park, looking west: looking from a park towards a leisure centre with trees and various tower blocks on the skyline.

Bellahouston Park is one of the biggest parks in Glasgow. It has seen two Papal masses, several pop concerts and the Empire Exhibition of 1938. It houses the House for an Art Lover, a ski slope and leisure centre too, even though all of those are currently closed. Bellahouston is a park of several parts, flat plain, hill and cultural quarter. Calmer towards Mosspark, busier towards Paisley Road West. I can walk there from my house and I’ve now been twice since lockdown started. A decent view can be had over much of the city, particularly in winter when the trees are bare, but it is particularly fine to look from the Cathkin Braes to the Gleniffer Braes to Eaglesham with the wind turbines. From the Empire Exhibition monument, I could see almost to my house, across an urban landscape but a familiar one. The best urban landscapes to survey are familiar in my experience.

Sunken Garden: an art installation featuring eight concrete blocks arranged in a line. A wall and trees are behind.

Having said that, the Sunken Garden has had better days. It sits where Bellahouston House once stood. The blocks of Glasgow Roots are still there and they work as contemporary art, even if their information has gone in many cases. The libraries one is close to my heart though I liked reading the history of railways in the city. The other day railway historian Tim Dunn Tweeted a picture of cut-and-cover works during the redevelopment of the Glasgow Subway in the 1970s, the old ticket office at St. Enoch standing still amidst the chaos. Our city has a lot of railways still but much less than it did. I could hear more cars than trains from Bellahouston, to be fair.

Glasgow is known as the Dear Green Place and it has many parks, some more celebrated and visited than others. Bellahouston is not even my local. Two cemeteries and even another park are closer. I like Bellahouston. It’s huge, it has a history all of its own. An estate to an exhibition space to an encounter with a Pope or two. 1.3 miles from the house.

Thanks for reading. 5 In 5 is a new five-part series here on Walking Talking, some interesting places within five miles of where I live, which is at time of writing the recommended maximum distance to travel for leisure in Scotland. It is inspired by a social media campaign from Historic Environment Scotland, encouraging its users to share five historical places near them.

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