Places to Visit in Scotland
- Fossil Grove, Glasgow
It is perhaps surprising that during the explosive growth of industrialisation in the 19th century, with its legacy of slum housing and disease, Victorian Glasgow also created such a proliferation of parks and open spaces. It is claimed that there are more public open places in Glasgow than in London or Paris. It was in 1887, while workmen were cutting a path through a disused whinstone quarry in Victoria Park (opened the previous year by the Queen herself during her Golden Jubilee year) that some unusual stone structures were found.
They were eventually identified as the fossilised stumps and roots of Carboniferous forests which had covered Scotland over 300 million years ago. At that time, Scotland was close to the equator - it was only later that the continents drifted to their present positions. In some parts, the trees became the coal seams which powered the Industrial Revolution. Those in Victoria Park had been preserved in mud and shale which seeped into the trunks, preserving them. They are thus sandstone casts of a Carboniferous "Lepidodendron" trees. In an inspirational move, it was decided not to take the fossils to a museum but to leave them where they were and protect them with a glass roofed shelter.
The Fossil Grove is open from April to September each year. In addition to the fossils themselves, there are information boards giving the background to their history. The disused whinstone quarry has been turned into an attractive rock garden and the whole area is surrounded by rhododendrons which provide even more colour in springtime.
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