Technical Notes 2021, Issue 77 - Mugdock Country Park – General Update, March-June 2021

Report by: 
Thomas Glen, Depute Chief Executive – Place, Neighbourhood & Corporate Assets
TN Number: 
Mugdock Country Park – General Update, March-June 2021
Responsible Officer: 
Mary Coulshed, Team Leader – Mugdock Park
This Technical Note will be published on the Council’s website following circulation to Members. Its contents may be disclosed or shared outwith the Council.

In the temporary absence of the Mugdock Joint Management Committee (JMC) the purpose of this Technical Note is to provide members of the JMC with an update on the work undertaken at Mugdock Country Park in the period following the previous update of 9th March 2021 to 28th June 2021 and is intended to allow Committee members to note the content and raise any questions directly to the Executive Officer for Roads & Environment.

Facilities and services at Mugdock Country Park have been gradually opening to the public following the easing of restrictions.  Although the car parks have been busy, most visitors have initially stayed outdoors and avoided indoor spaces including the visitor centre and courtyard businesses.  As lockdown conditions have eased further there has been a slight increase in visitor confidence with an uptake in purchasing goods and services.


The Stables tearoom and Charlie’s coffee shop have opened for take away services when this has been possible.  On 26 April the Visitor Centre and toilets opened and more recently the cafes have taken bookings for indoor table service.  The Mugdock Makkers have been opening on more days than previously and Caulders Garden Centre is now fully operational.

Park Trading

Sales levels have been starting to pick up although there are still limits on numbers entering the Visitor Centre and Gift shop.  There has been a marked drop in the number of school end of term trips to the Park and this has affected shop sales.


Regrettably, all events for 2020-21 were cancelled. However, a programme for summer 2021 has been produced with outdoor events being run in line with Covid-19 guidelines. 

This coincides with the school holidays and includes forest schools events, crafts, history, walks, children’s safaris and dog agility (programme attached).

Room/land hire

Land hire is currently available for the Park’s two BBQ sites which have been popular as they are both outdoors.  Customers have to follow Scottish Government Covid-19 guidelines in place at the time of using the BBQ sites and leave details for track and trace.

A number of film/advert productions have used the Park in recent months and brought in some income.  A very small wedding ceremony took place at Mugdock Castle – a Graham from America.


Visitors are donating through the honesty boxes and the donation posts in the car parks.  In addition a local company is donating native trees and tree guards as part of their carbon reduction efforts and these will be planted across the Park in partnership with the Ranger Service.

Education and Community Groups

Some work with school groups has been able to go ahead, following Covid-19 guidelines and with appropriate risk assessments.  This includes Ranger activities and Forest Schools events.  The diary for after the summer break is starting to fill up as schools are keen to take up opportunities for outdoor learning. 

Mugdock Country Park Strategy

The development of a new Strategy for the period 2022-2027 is underway and the work is currently out to tender.  It is intended that the Strategy will be brought to the JMC later in the year for input.  The Strategy will incorporate the land management plan, assets review and business plan along with a review of the capital programme in light of Covid-19 considerations and will propose a strategic direction for the Park for the next 5 years.


The refreshed Mugdock website is now live and will be able to accommodate on-line shopping and bookings.  The on-line sales are still being trialled and will be rolled out over the year.

Leaflets and posters for the summer programme are being distributed within the Park.  Social media is the main focus of advertising as events open for bookings.                                                                                                 

Land Management

Volunteers are not yet back at the Park but land management tasks are being carried out by the Ranger Service with assistance from the Wardens.  The focus has been on essential maintenance and repairs and other outdoor tasks which have been risk assessed.  A tree planting programme has been taking place across the Park with native species replacing rhododendrons in areas where these have been removed.

Craigend Quarry

Ongoing issues with unauthorised access to Craigend Quarry are continuing.  A risk assessment has been carried out and an action plan has been developed through liaising with Police Scotland, who are regularly on the site.  (Risk assessment and action plan attached)  Advice has been sought on the legal responsibilities relating to access and fencing at the Quarry.

A funding application was submitted to the Better Places Fund 2.  It was partially successful with additional staffing costs to patrol the Park at weekends being approved but unfortunately the requested contribution to fencing costs was not approved. 

The estimated cost of security standard fencing for the perimeter of the Quarry is in the region of £115k.  The patrolling across the Park will be carried out in partnership with the Community Safety team.

Car Parks

Designs and costings have been obtained for East car park and Khyber car park.  This will increase the number of spaces available for parking and will improve the surface of the sites.  The cost of East car park is estimated at £50k and Khyber car park at £87k.

Capital/Development Update

As reported in the Technical Note of 9 March 2021 there has been a delay in progressing the capital development programme during lockdown.  Some progress has been made since the easing of restrictions in 2021 and it is intended to accelerate the remaining programme.

The main items which have changed from the approved 5 year capital budget of £830k (report PNCA/037/20/DG, 17 March 2020) relate to the urgent need for improvements to Craigend Quarry fencing and the increased wear and tear on car parking facilities due to increased visitor numbers. 

It is also the case that a business case review is required for the Barns project.  Taking this into account the new Mugdock Strategy will put forward a realigned plan for capital spend and in the meantime it is the intention to prioritise the fencing costs, car park costs and waste water treatment plant.





Business Development Projects

Mugdock Barns.   Currently at RIBA stage 2

Review business case as part of new Mugdock Strategy



Subject to business case review

Walled Garden bandstand and paths upgrade and painting to bandstand

Pathworks and bandstand completed and painting to be carried out


Previously considered an Asset Improvement project this is now a Business development opportunity as the Walled Garden can be opened  up for events

Castle maintenance and improvements

Stonemasons  contacted for maintenance work and damp specialists for costs



Signage and interpretation

Additional signs have been installed at key routes in the Park.  Shared spaces signs to be installed.







Asset Improvement Projects

Waste Water Treatment plant replacement

Major Assets team is liaising with contractors.  Delay is due to the recent cyber-attack affecting SEPA services



Craigend Castle security fencing and interpretation

Final item – meadowmat to be installed.

Part funded by CSET



ICT superfast broadband

Plans are being drawn up for replacement cabling across the Park as part of BT superfast broadband rollout.  The cost to the Park will be for internal connections



CCTV upgrade

Upgraded CCTV at the Yard



Path network upgrade

Plans for path improvement are being developed



Car park improvements

Designs and costs for East car park and Khyber car park in development


£107,000 additional estimated costs for completing both car parks

Yard Improvements

Work to date has been carried out on health & safety items.  Delay to the work on Agricultural building.


Work to facilities at the Park’s Yard now sit within the Asset Improvement category due to health and safety priorities

Replacement fencing for Craigend Quarry

Quotes are being sought for security fencing







Total   £830,000 



Park Management Rules

Park Management Rules are currently under review and will be progressed with input from legal services and other Council departments.

Clan Graham Visit

The Clan Graham Society of North America has indicated that its visit to Scotland will be delayed again.  They have confirmed that they expect to visit the Park in the summer of 2022, depending on the lifting of restrictions. 

Visitor Centre

The empty unit in the Courtyard is being fitted out to be used as the Park’s Visitor Centre and the current Visitor Centre as a hireable space.  This is due to the delay of the Barns project and the progress with the Outdoor Nursery.  With the Nursery using the Kingfisher and Osprey rooms there will be little indoor space for hire until the Barn is in place.

Outdoor Nursery

Building control have passed the plans for the Outdoor Nursery base within the Courtyard in the Park.  It is anticipated that work will go ahead over the summer and it is hoped the development will bring benefits to the on-site businesses as well as providing an outdoor learning space for nursery aged children.

Footfall Counters

New counters have been installed at the main entrance to the Park and footfall will be reported going forward.

Mugdock Trust

A funding application has been submitted by Mugdock Trust to the Community Renewal Fund for the cost of a feasibility study and design options for a Clan Centre at Mugdock Castle with visitor facilities.  This will use some of the funding raised by the Clan Graham Society for the Trust and will look at the options for discreet development at the Castle.  Further information will be provided to the Joint Management Committee in due course and depending on the outcome of the funding application.

Astronomical Society of Glasgow (ASG)

The ASG is working with Stirling Council building control services to approve a new Observatory at the top of the overflow field.  The design has changed to conform to Building Standards regulations and the new design has moved away from reflective materials to natural wood.

Risk Assessment

The updated Risk Assessment for Mugdock is attached.  The main issues of concern are health and safety matters relating to infrastructure projects such as the Waste Water Treatment plant upgrade and the Walled Garden paths and bandstand.  Another area of concern is the financial recovery of the Park following the recent lockdown.


Distribution List

Councillor Gibbons, East Dunbartonshire Council
Councillor Moody, East Dunbartonshire Council
Councillor Thornton, East Dunbartonshire Council
Councillor O’Neil, East Dunbartonshire Council
Councillor Ferretti, East Dunbartonshire Council
Councillor Fischer, East Dunbartonshire Council
Councillor Berrill, Stirling Council
Jamie Robertson, Chief Financial Officer
Thomas McMenamin, Executive Officer – Roads & Environment
Gillian Telfer, Greenspace & Streetscene Manager
Mary Coulshed, Team Leader Mugdock
Anna Faulds, Audit Scotland
Marie McFadden, Audit Scotland