Pollok Country Park
Pollok Country Park is a 146-hectare (360-acre) country park located in Pollok, south Glasgow, Scotland. Before the building of the M77 motorway in 1994, it was the largest urban green space in Europe. In 2006 Pollok County Park was named the best park in Britain and in 2008, it was named the Best Park in Europe, beating off strong competition from parks in Italy, France, Germany, Poland and Sweden.
The park was originally part of the Old Pollok Estate, which was home to the Maxwell family for over 700 years. In 1966 Mrs Anne Maxwell Macdonald gifted the estate, including Pollok House, to Glasgow Corporation with the condition that it remained a public park. In 1878 the Poloc Cricket Club was established. In 1954 it also became home to Pollokshaws Bowling Club, the land donated by Sir John Maxwell Stirling-Maxwell of Pollok House. The club, an important part of the local community, moved across Pollokshaws Road to celebrate its centenary.
The park also contains the Burrell Collection, a purpose-built building designed to hold the large, eclectic antique and art collection of shipping magnate William Burrell, who donated the collection to the City of Glasgow on his death. Another feature of interest is the award-winning fold of Highland cattle. This fold is the most accessible of this species for the majority of Scots. In 2004, three mountain biking routes were opened by Olympic cyclist Chris Hoy. Strathclyde Police's mounted and dog-handling divisions are based in the park.
In the early 1990s the park was the site of a road protest camp, the "Pollok Free State", which attempted to prevent the M77 motorway from cutting through the south west side of the park and separating it from the nearby housing schemes. The road cost £53 million and destroyed 5000 trees in a seven mile stretch of the park. Protesters, including local schoolchildren, attempted to prevent this using tactics such as building and occupying treehouses and tunnels. There was also a "Carhenge" of burnt-out and half-buried cars, from as far afield as Brighton, placed in the path of the road. Eviction of the camp by Wimpey bailiffs and police began on 23 March 1995, leading to 15 arrests and one injury. Though the camp failed to prevent the road being built, it was a formative experience for many Glasgow activists who had no previous experience of direct action. It also led to the resignation of M.P. Allan Stewart.
In early 2008 a campaign to "Save Pollok Park" had to be formed, protesting against outdoor adventure company Go Ape. The company was invited by Glasgow City Council to enhance outdoor recreational activities within the park. Over five thousand residents objected to the proposals to site a high wire forest adventure in the ancient North Wood.