Reinstating the Historic Landscape at Chatelherault
Historical features and viewpoints
2015 marks the start of an exciting new project at Chatelherault Country Park which seeks to restore historical features and viewpoints of the most visited of all designed landscapes in the Clyde and Avon valleys.
Centred on the imposing former hunting lodge of the Dukes of Hamilton, 'a Jewel in the Landscape,' Chatelherault Country Park attracts visitors from far and wide- and for good reason. People can enjoy the 10 miles of stunning and varied woodland and gorge trails along the Avon River within the 500 acre park which is nationally valued as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The restored Hunting Lodge now houses exhibitions which detail the geological characteristics and the intriguing history of the Estate which has played a major role in Scotland's history.
However, through time, elements of this unique designed landscape have been compromised or indeed lost forever. The magnificent Avenue which once connected the Hunting Lodge to Hamilton Palace has been quarried and of course, the Palace itself was demolished in 1921. Chatelherault was also dominated by the ancient, native woodland until the 1950s when much of the old woodland was replaced with non-native conifers, having a detrimental effect on the native biodiversity of the site as well as blocking a number of breathtaking vistas over the countryside as they had originally been intended when the Estate was designed. These dense and dark plantations support little wildlife and have grown up to block the once breathtaking views over the Avon Water that had long been a feature of one of Scotland’s oldest and greatest designed landscapes.
Now, thanks to a project with South Lanarkshire Council who own and jointly manage the Country Park with South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture Trust Ltd., Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership, Central Scotland Green Network and Scottish Natural Heritage, a Long Term Forest Plan has been prepared which sets out a programme to remove the conifers progressively and restore the native broadleaved woodland. The programme will increase the native biodiversity of the nationally important woodland and restore the stunning viewpoints for the enjoyment of generations to come. Please check out the Chatelherault Long Term Forest Plan powerpoint under 'Related Resource' opposite to find out more about the project and the exciting regeneration potential of the Country Park as demonstrated at Laverock Hill between 2005 and now.
South Lanarkshire Council will be starting formal public consultations as well as delivering a number of public presentations in the coming months. Keep up to date with developments on the South Lanarkshire Council and Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership websites.