Stuck in the city and longing for a change of scenery? Look no further than the Seven Lochs Wetland Park, a sprawling nature and heritage park at the edge of Glasgow with stunning lochs, serene woodland trails, activity centres and several heritage sites. Plan a day trip from Glasgow with this guide to the Seven Lochs Wetland Park.
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Glasgow’s Gaelic name ‘Glaschu’ means “dear green place” and if you ask me, the city is taking its green spaces very seriously. There are so many parks, green spaces and country parks within the city limits (or just a short distance beyond), it’s easy to enjoy a change of scenery without long travel times.
The Seven Lochs Wetland Park is a new park development in Glasgow’s east end reaching from Blackhill and Easterhouse to Stepps, Gartcosh and Blairhill. It encompasses Drumpellier Country Park, four nature reserves and many formerly industrial areas that have been reclaimed by nature. It is even home to one of the oldest buildings in Glasgow!
There are over 10 miles of trails through the park which are popular for gentle hikes, bike trips and family-friendly adventures. The park is home to many species of wildlife who live in the woodlands, reed beds and grasslands surrounding the seven name-giving lochs.
This hiking guide for the Seven Lochs Wetland park contains:
- A detailed trail description of part of the Seven Lochs Trail.
- Transport information: How to get to the Seven Lochs Wetland Park.
- Trail information: signposts, path condition etc.
- A packing list for your day trip.
Seven Lochs Wetland Park FAQ
Where is the Seven Lochs Wetland Park?
The Seven Lochs Wetland Park sits at the boundary between Glasgow City and Lanarkshire, in the far east end of the city. The seven name-giving lochs are:
- Hogganfield Loch,
- Frankfield Loch,
- Bishop Loch,
- Johnston Loch,
- Garnqueen Loch,
- Woodend Loch and
- Lochend Loch.
However, there are many other smaller lochs throughout the park.
From Hogganfield Loch in the east to Blairhill in the west, the park stretched for 6 miles, which allows plenty of space for wildlife and nature enthusiasts.
Many parts of the park have existed for a long time, but together the Seven Lochs Wetland Park is a fairly new development – and it’s far from finished. In the future, there will be new visitor centres, more community activities and opportunities to engage with the heritage of the area.
Which hikes are there in the Seven Lochs Wetland Park – and how long are they?
There are over 10 miles of footpaths crisscrossing the park. Some are fully accessible (level and paved), while others are trails through the woodlands and wetlands.
To take in the entire park, follow the Seven Lochs Trail, a 6-mile signposted path that starts at Lochend Loch and ends at Hogganfield Loch.
The trail described in this blog post largely follows a section of the Seven Lochs Trail.
Are the paths marked and easy to follow?
Yes, there are a number of signposts and waymarkers throughout the park, making it very easy to follow trails or reach specific lochs or landmarks. There are two kinds of signposts – the green signed which include information regarding distance, and small sound discs on wooden poles (the pink ones point out the Seven Lochs Trail).
Not all woodland paths are signposted, so sometimes you have to take a chance and see where you meet the main trail next.
That said, my mobile reception worked surprisingly well in the park. Most trails seem to be registered on Google Maps. I could always locate where we were on the map and navigate us in the right direction if we didn’t see a signpost.
Getting to the Seven Lochs Wetland Park
The Seven Lochs Wetland Park is well connected and easy to reach by public transport. There are multiple trains and bus lines that reach different entrance points of the park.
The hike described below starts at Blairhill station (train from Queen Street station) and ends at Hogganfield Park. Bus 38C runs from there back to the city centre.
Other train stations near the Seven Lochs Wetland Park include Easterhouse, Stepps and Gartcosh.
There are also several car parks located near the visitor gateways at Hogganfield, Provan Hall, Drumpellier Country Park and Glenboig.
Trail Description: Seven Lochs Trail
Stage 1: Blairhill and Lochend Loch
Our adventure started at Blairhill station near Drumpellier Country Park, which makes up the south-eastern corner of the Seven Lochs Wetland Park.
From here, we followed a quiet, but paved track across a large meadow and light woodland until we reached Lochend Loch. We visit the Peace Garden with its beautiful flower displays and follow the pavement around the loch. Every now and then, a small footpath leads off into the woodland – we pick one at random and finally find ourselves immersed in nature.
The asphalt gave way to the soft forest floor, and the tamed nature of the loch turned into the overgrown thicket of a forest. Knowing that ‘civilisation’ was just around the corner made venturing out into the woodlands without a map the kind of no-risk adventure we needed on this overcast day.
We explored the woodlands south of Lochend Loch and hardly met a soul on our way. We found trees to climb on, spotted insects and slugs and I picked a bunch of wildflowers to take home.
Soon, we crossed paths with a slightly larger trail (the Seven Lochs Trail) and followed signposts towards Bishop Loch.
Stage 2: Bishop Loch and Easterhouse
For a brief moment, the trail to Bishop Loch followed Gartcosh Road and Commonhead Road but then turned back towards the woodlands. It had started raining, but as long as we were under the trees we were sheltered.
Soon, the environment started to change. The woodlands gave way to flat fields of Commonhead Moss Nature Reserve, an area of raised bog covered in heather, grass and low shrubs. Purple thistles stood out from the low vegetation but did little to shelter us from the rain. It might not look like much, but this kind of habitat is actually very rare and threatened.
Soaking wet, we decided to cut our hike short. Instead of continuing on the path all the way to Bishop Loch, we made our way through a residential area towards Easterhouse station. On a better day, we would have continued a bit longer to reach Bishop Loch, which is considerably “wilder” (or more natural) than Lochend Loch.
The reed bed around the loch is a fantastic habitat for many species of birds, particularly waders who hide and nest among the tall vegetation. In fact, Bishop Loch is a Site of Special Scientific interest because of its biodiversity.
An archaeological dig at the far end of the loch has revealed ruins of a 14th-century country residence for the Bishops of Glasgow, but it had been destroyed in the late 16th century.
Stage 3: Provan Hall
From Bishop Loch the Seven Lochs Trail continues through the Lochwood Plantation and through Todd’s Well woodland before reaching Provan Hall in Auchinlea Park.
Provan Hall is one of the oldest buildings in Glasgow, dating back to the 1460s and thus older than Provand’s Lordship (the oldest house in Glasgow, across the road from Glasgow Cathedral). It is a fortified country house, one of the best-preserved in the country.
Stage 4: Frankfield Loch
After a brief section passing through the residential area of Garthamlock (down Tillycairn Road), the trail reaches Cardowan Moss Nature Reserve. This area is known for its woodland birds, buzzards and many species of frogs.
The trail soon leads past Frankfield Loch, however, the loch’s southern shore is tucked away behind a tall metal fence.
Stage 5: Hogganfield Park
Next, the trail crosses Ave End Road and enters Hogganfield Park, the easternmost section of the Seven Lochs Wetland Park. Back to paved paths.
The loch is home to a variety of birds, different species in every season, and they can best be seen from a viewing platform near the Visitor Centre at the far end of Hogganfield Loch.
Plan a full day on the Seven Lochs Trail with this PDF leaflet.
Day Hike Packing List
What to Wear
What to wear depends on how long you plan to hikes through the Seven Hills Wetland Park and whether you want to stick to paved paths or explore woodland trails.
I highly recommend bringing a waterproof jacket and over-trousers on any hike in Scotland.
I hiked the Seven Lochs Trail in sturdy Chelsea boots and did not think hiking boots were necessary. However, some of the trails through woodlands and across raised boglands might be muddy after some rainfall.
Food + Water
Depending on the length of your walk, you might want to bring food, water and snacks with you.
There are facilities including cafes, picnic areas and public toilets at Lochend Loch (Drumpellier Visitor Centre), Provan Hall and Hogganfield Loch.
In Glasgow, beautiful nature is luckily never far from the city. Whether you are looking for wildlife, unique flora, heritage sites or just some physical activity, the Seven Lochs Wetland Park is a great place to visit for a day out in nature.
Have you ever been to the Seven Lochs Wetland Park? Share your favourite experience below!
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All photos by Kathi Kamleitner.