The name Glasgow is thought to derive from the Brythonic Celtic “Cleschi” meaning “Dear Green Place”. The City is located on the broad valley floor of the River Clyde. There are hills to the north, north-west and south which provide a backdrop and interesting views.
The River Clyde bisects the City from east to west. Its tributary the River Kelvin is locally important in the north – west as is the White Cart in the south-west. The topography is generally low lying except where there are drumlins. These small hills, of which there are approximately 180, were formed as a result of glacial activity.
Many have been built on and, not surprisingly, they form many of the City’s landmarks. Garnethill, Park Circus, Partickhill, and Blythswood are important examples north of the river as are Queen’s Park and Mount Florida to the south. The drumlins have a significantly influenced the alignment of roads and railways.
The City originally grew from an ecclesiastic settlement on the banks of the Molendinar Burn spreading down the High St towards the River Clyde.
The City grew rapidly during the Industrial Revolution. This resulted in high density living environments which took their toll on the health of the City’s inhabitants. As a result the City fathers and wealthy residents focused their attention on City improvements. Extensive Parks and Boulevards were laid out and public squares and communal gardens were incorporated in redevelopment and expansion schemes. Private gardens and institutional grounds were extensively landscaped and focal points and sculptural features were located throughout the city. The majority of the mature trees within the City were planted during this era.
The City’s historic Landscape also encompasses several large Necropolises, the rural setting on the urban fringe which includes the Antonine wall running along the City’s northern boundary; several historic sports grounds such as Hamden, Ibrox and Parkhead and also the Forth and Clyde Canal.
Trees and woodlands form an important part of the City’s historic Landscape. The trees have born witness to a large number of significant events within the City’s history. If you want to know more go to the “Every tree tells a story” page on this website. Fossil Grove is an example of the survival of some of Glasgow's ancient trees in fossil form.
Glasgow's Geological Landscape is diverse and mining for substances such as coal, iron and lead was widespread in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Collieries included Cardowan Colliery, formerly in Stepps.
Glasgow's landscapes have impacted on the city's history and vice versa. Many of these diverse environments can be enjoyed all year round by following many of Glasgow's Heritage Trails and alternative routes including many that acknowledge the city's natural heritage.