Dams to Darnley Country Park

Dams To Darnley Country Park

Situated in the Greenland space that separates Barrhead, Newton Mearns and Darnley, the Dams to Darnley Country Park has become one of Scotland’s newest and most popular dog walking areas. The park has been used for leisure for many of years now and is widely known for its large reservoirs making it the ideal location for a stroll with your loved companion. The four reservoirs that make up the country park are the Balgray reservoir being the largest, followed by the Ryat Linn reservoir, then the Littleton reservoir and finally the Waulkmill Glen Reservoir.


Dams To Darnley Country Park has a fascinating history that dates all the way back to 1610 when a lease agreement was signed between Sir John Maxwell, John Hall and George Stevenson to start mining limestone in the area where the park is situated now (the park was originally a Quarry). At the bottom of the park on the Darnley side you had the Darnley Mill and then further up next to the Brock Burn was the Darnley Lime works where as you could guess the mining of limestone took place. Running parallel to the left of the brock burn was the Darnley lime works tramway and mineral railway which consisted of a narrow gauge field railway and probably a standard gauge works railway and was used to transport the coal and limestone and any other minerals up past Neilston. This completely makes sense to me even now as walking up to Neilston from Barrhead is a steep climb as it is so this rail track would have made it a lot easier to transport anything but primally minerals. I’ve included a Google map below which you can scroll around and zoom in to see various features. I believe that the railway track back then is now at present the M77 motorway but I may be incorrect on that. Finally, in the late 1950’s after its successful operation the Quarries were used as landfills and no longer needed.

Now you might be wondering how the Reservoirs came about and how the country park was created. In 1845, the Gorbals Gravitation Water Company was established to provide clean water to the south side of the River Clyde. The Brock Burn was identified as a suitable source. The land was then obtained from Sir John Maxwell. Waulkmill Glen and Ryat Linn reservoirs were constructed between 1847 and 1848. Two smaller reservoirs Littleton, named after a nearby farm, and Coalhill were also completed. The largest dam, Balgray Reservoir, was built between 1853 and 1854 and extended in the 1860s. In 1865 the reservoirs started supplying Barrhead. Although no longer used as a water supply, the Barrhead dams still dominate the country park landscape. Their Victorian infrastructure, listed because of its historical importance, is still used by Scottish Water to manage the water level. The draw-down towers on Balgray and Waulkmill Glen reservoirs are the most recognisable landmarks. These contain the valves used to drain the reservoirs. Balgray Reservoir drains into a stilling basin, at the foot of the picturesque waterfall below Aurs Road. Waulkmill Glen Reservoir drains through sluice gates set into the dam embankment, before continuing down the glen. From then on after the reservoirs were constructed the country park was created around them and maintained to this very day.


The main feature when walking through the park is the stunning viaduct which is located at the start of the Waulkmill Glen Reservoir. If you pick the right day weather wise when it is nice and sunny you will see the viaduct cast a symmetric reflection from the water below which is breath-taking to witness. I’ll upload a picture that I managed to capture of this for you to have a look at but photos don’t do it justice compared to seeing it in person so by all means make this your next dog walk.

Dams to Darnley Country Park For Dogs

We at Waggywoos believe that the Dams to Darnley Country Park is an ideal location to take your pet to due to its extremely cool viaduct and the peaceful walks along by the reservoirs. A few tips if you are planning on going – Pick a nice day, perhaps keep your dog on the leash at certain parts of the park due the reservoirs and its inhabitants and most of all remember to enjoy yourself! There is also an enclosed dog field situated just off the Balgray reservoir which is quite handy if your dog has some energy it needs to burn off before the walk continues. I believe they charge £5 for half an hour but they have a website (offtheleaddogpark.co.uk) if you need any more information.

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