The steady sound of hoof beats is set to return to a Glasgow park after the local authority put out a call for a horse operator.

Heavy horses were a star attraction in Pollok Park but in 2018 the deterioration of the A-listed stable buildings saw staff and the four resident Clydesdale horses moved out of the complex for safety reasons.

Thanks to Levelling Up funding from the UK government, the stables are being refurbished into a "living heritage centre" as part of a £15.5 million three-year scheme.

Glasgow Times:

As part of this, Glasgow City Council has now issued an appeal for equine experts to come forward and bid to run the park's stables.

The council has committed to reintroducing Clydesdale horses as part of the refurbishment project, which will also include a visitor centre, a working sawmill and hydroelectric scheme, interpretation spaces, education spaces, event spaces and a café.

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Our project to transform Pollok Stables and Courtyard into a net zero living heritage centre will not only enhance one of Glasgow’s best-loved parks, but also restore and protect a valuable piece of the city’s industrial tradition.

"I know how fondly so many people remember Pollok’s horses, so it is particularly welcome to see progress being made on bringing these beautiful animals back to the park."

When completed in August 2025, the centre will see the transformation of an eyesore collection of buildings into a heritage centre, a cafe with outdoor terrace seating by the White Cart River, stables housing Clydesdale horses, a working sawmill, and luxury overnight accommodation.

It is also hoped the space will be useable for weddings and large events with a paddock available for event hire.

UK Government Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord said: "The return of the Clydesdale horses will be a magnificent addition to the Pollok Country Park Stables and Sawmill restoration project.

"I encourage horse operators to register their interest and help to bring these much-loved animals back to this historic park.

"The UK Government has invested over £13 million in the project as part of more than £2.9 billion to help level up across Scotland."

The Clydesdale horses played a key part of Glasgow City Council's bid to the UK government for funding.

Pollok Park was once an estate owned by the Maxwell family and the heavy horses would have played a key role in life on the estate, particularly in the operation of the sawmill. Pollok Stables has a long history dating back to a castle that was built in the grounds in around 1550; some of the footprint of the current collection of buildings are incorporated from that time.

The sawmill, which serviced Pollok House and the Maxwell estate, was built in the late 1800s and the main buildings date from early that century.

The animals were relocated to a farm, where they have joined a herd of around 30 other heavy horses, but it is planned that in 2023, when the centre reopens, new horses will return to the stables.