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Set in the greenspace between Barrhead, Darnley and Newton Mearns, the Dams to Darnley Country Park is set over 1350 acres of land. Still a work-in-progress there are many interesting features and lots of local history to be discovered here. Smooth tarmac makes this walk perfect for buggies and bikes. It is a “there and back” walk which is 2 miles each way.
Parking available at the site of the former World Buffet car park, Corselet Road (G53 7RE)
Route: Exit the car park and turn left along Corselet Road, taking the first footpath on your left into the woodland. Keep right at two forks in the path then continue straight, ignoring any paths off to your right, until you emerge back out onto Corselet Road. Turn left to cross a bridge over Brock Burn and continue along until you reach a track on your right heading back into the woodland. You will once again emerge onto Corselet Road. Turn right here and follow the tree-lined road which takes you alongside Waukmill Reservoir, under the railway line and finally past Ryat Linn Reservoir where the route ends. Retrace your steps from here back to the start.
WALK REPORT: 19th June 2016
Father’s Day! This walk had been planned with friends quite a few weeks in advance. There were 8 of us in total: 4 adults and 4 children. As it turned out it wasn’t to be the best day weather-wise but that didn’t dampen our spirits and the kids even seemed to enjoy it more. We managed the start of the walk and our picnic before the waterproofs and umbrellas made an appearance. My two had never used an umbrella before – Nathan had been asking for one for about a year but I had kept putting him off with visions of having something else to carry around when he got fed up with it, but after having a shot of one today there was no way I could avoid buying two the following week and they now come everywhere with us, even on the sunniest of days!
Far from your average country park, Dams to Darnley surprised me with lots of interesting features along the way. The whole place had a ‘wild’ feel to it, with an array of wild flowers and grasses growing along the side of the woodland paths and a feeling of remoteness despite being surrounded by busy towns. We passed reservoirs, a railway viaduct and a ruin.
The surfaces on this walk are perfect for both buggies and bikes, being smooth tarmac the whole way. It is also flat so the going is easy.
As none of us had been in this relatively new country park before we didn’t have a route planned out in advance but were hoping for some sort of loop to be possible. After two failed attempts to make this happen we accepted the ‘there & back’ option and on coming home I checked the map to see what we could have done differently. As it turns out there isn’t really a loop to be done, the ‘spinal path’ providing the main pathway from one end of the park to the other.
I mentioned two failed attempts: first we had tried to follow what appeared on my mobile mapping app to be a footpath around Waukmill Reservoir. We soon realised that it was not in the least buggy friendly and gave up (narrow, grassy path – obviously not well used). We also thought about heading out onto Aurs Road and either doing a loop of Balgray Reservoir before retracing our steps to the start, or continuing on into Barrhead or Newton Mearns and finding a way back to the cars outside of the country park. However with Aurs Road having no pavement and being very busy with traffic that wasn’t an option with buggies and young children.
On doing some research once home, I have found out that work is planned to make the entrance from the Newton Mearns side safer and also to complete a loop around Balgray Reservoir which currently has a path most of the way round but relies on walkers using the busy Aurs Road for the last section. Ironic since the main parking area for the country park is listed as being at the far end of Balgray Reservoir!
I hesitated whether or not to add this walk to my “walks the kids will love” category. Ultimately I opted not to because I found it hard work at some points to keep ours interested. Certainly an area of beauty, there are a few things which in my opinion would make it more child friendly – namely the addition of a play area or some kind of nature trail, and some more picnic benches or similar dotted around. The one pictured below is in a stunning location and more of the same would definitely be a good thing. I would also like to see some information boards or similar, telling visitors about the fascinating history of the area. I am confident that Dams to Darnley will continue to evolve over the coming years and look forward to visiting again in the near future!