MSP Christina McKelvie launches Make Your Way Chatelherault
Six trails linking communities in Hamilton, Larkhall and Quarter with Chatelherault Country Park
MSP Christina McKelvie launched the new Make Your Way Chatelherault project at a ceremony in the Country Park on Friday 27 April.
The MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse was joined by representatives of project partners and funders, as well as local councillors and members of community groups who contributed to the work to improve access in and around the park.
The project launch included speeches, followed by a walk to the new Belvedere bench installed as part of the project where a cake cutting a tree planting ceremony took place. Find out more by watching the video below.
Local communities in Hamilton, Larkhall and Quarter are now able to enjoy improved access and signage along six routes to Chatelherault Country Park through interpretation developed as part of Make Your Way, which includes a series of colourful fingerposts, seating, paving markers, an artwork in Hamilton Monument, Barncluith, and online and paper maps.
The six routes: Barncluith, Fairholm, Merryton, Millheugh, South Haugh and Sunnyside, encourage access on alternative walking and cycling routes to Chatelherault Country Park - one of Scotland’s most significant designed landscapes and most important examples of ancient woodland, steeped in heritage, cultural and ecological diversity.
The interpretation developed through the project highlights different aspects of the park’s unique heritage, culture and ecology, which was researched in collaboration between local groups and six artists in residence.
The maps are available to view online here and to pick up from Chatelherault Visitor Centre, as well as Health Centres, libraries and leisure centres in Hamilton and Larkhall. The physical interpretation including finger posts, seating, paving markers and installation in Hamilton Monument will be in place by the end of May.
The artists in residence: Owen Clarke, Alan Kain, Jenny O’Boyle, Ruby Pester, Nadia Rossi and Rachel Walker, worked with Blantyre Cubs, Clydesdale Colts, Clydesdale Community Initiatives, Hamilton Natural History Society, Hamilton Ramblers, Larkhall and District Volunteer walking group, South Haugh volunteers, Quarter Primary School and Universal Connections Larkhall. Find out more about these explorations at the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership Virtual Museum, by visiting the online museum, and clicking on the ‘Art, Literature and Song’ tab.
The project was supported by Scottish Government, Paths for All and Transport Scotland Smarter Choices, Smarter Places fund, and Heritage Lottery Fund and South Lanarkshire LEADER supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP).
A series of active travel focussed workshops were delivered by Healthy n Happy Community Development Trust during February and March of this year as part of the project, alongside a weekend-long Celebration of the Land events hosted by the six artists in residence.
Christina McKelvie, SNP MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, says, “Joining in with Make Your Way Chatelherault is partly about being fit and active, but it may be even more important that the project gets people chatting, sharing their ideas, talking about their local area, their families and interests, and playing a real part in the future of our community.
“So get up and out to use the little paths in and around Chatelherault; make new friends and break out of old routines. Discover some more about the landmarks and historical background to our own area, things you possibly never knew before.”
Sarah O’Sullivan, CAVLP Development Officer, says, “CAVLP are delighted to launch the Make Your Way Chatelherault project, which encourages not just physical access to the wonderful park, but tells the varied stories connected to its history and heritage.
“For example, did you know that Mary Queen of Scots reputedly fell into the Avon Water at the area now known as Mary Hoses? Or that you can still detect many of the ancient ‘rig and furrow strips’ from Medieval field systems? Or that Millheugh is widely known locally as the best picnic spot along the Avon Water? The new maps, signage, seating and artwork picks out these stories and brings them to life for visitors from both near and far.”
Make Your Way Chatelherault compliments current pathway improvements in Chatelherault Country Park, managed by South Lanarkshire Council and Central Scotland Green Network Trust. It is supported by Woodlands in and Around Towns (WIAT) as managed by the Forestry Commission and Heritage Lottery Fund and South Lanarkshire LEADER supported CAVLP.
Hannah Brackston, icecream architecture Project Manager for Make Your Way says, “This process has been a unique opportunity to work with a wide range of community groups around Chatelherault Country Park, exploring their experiences through creative workshops led by artists with distinct and exciting artistic practices. Some of the outputs of these workshops were then developed and woven into the designs of much of new wayfinding. The team have worked with local manufacturers and benefitted from the enthusiasm of Clydesdale Community Initiatives to realise and install these colourful, intriguing new pieces in the landscape.”