Volunteer to plant the past at Chatelherault

Green fingered gardening volunteers required

Filed under News
Date posted: Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Green fingered gardening volunteers are being sought to help restore the historic herbaceous border at Chatelherault to its former glory.

Planting the Past volunteers will help to replant the culinary, medicinal, and aromatic shrubs and plants, which would have originally been planted in the historic garden border surrounding the William Adam designed hunting lodge, now Visitor Centre.  The plants within this 18th century garden were not only grown for their beauty and fragrance but also for their medicinal and culinary virtues.

Chatelherault Country Park Visitor Centre French Parterre

To find out more about the project and to register as a volunteer, people are invited to join the FREE Planting the Past launch in Chatelherault Auditorium on Saturday 26 August, 10am – 12 noon. Click here to visit the event page. The launch will provide an opportunity to find out about the history of the garden at Chatelherault and what types of plants would have been found there in the 18th century from horticultural specialists. The session acts as an induction and registration event for those interested in volunteering, and must be attended by those who intend to volunteer for the project in the future. The launch is FREE but booking is required at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 01698 426 213.

The first Planting the Past volunteering session will take place on Saturday 2 September, 10am start, where volunteers will clear borders and pot the first lot of specimens for re-planting. Regular volunteering days will then be programmed to fit the suitability of those wishing to participate. To find out more, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 01698 426 213.

Planting the Past is managed by South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture Trust in collaboration with horticultural specialist Elaine Lauder, with support from Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ fund and Heritage Lottery Fund and LEADER supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP).

Volunteers will help restore the borders at Chatelherault Visitor Centre to their former glory
Volunteers will help restore the borders at Chatelherault Visitor Centre to their former glory

Project Manager, Visitor Services Officer Mike Taylor says, “Volunteers getting involved will be able to enjoy the restoration of the herbaceous border as the project develops over the year and through the seasons. By summer 2018, the border will be blooming with beautiful shrubs and flowers that may have been familiar to the 5th Duke of Hamilton and his family back in 1740 when the Hunting Lodge was built.”

He continues, “Visitors to Chatelherault Country Park often comment on the pristine French Parterre gardens to the back of the Visitor Centre. It will be great to see the ornamental border restored to its full glory as it was intended.”

Thousands of people enjoy the 10 miles of stunning and varied woodland and gorge trails along the Avon River within the 500 acre park each year. Chatelherault Country Park is nationally valued as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC), and is one of the most important ancient woodlands out of the six that make up the Clyde Valley National Nature Reserve (NNR).

Planting the Past is part of a wider initiative to restore the Country Park to its former glory, when it was the Hamilton Palace Estate. Hamilton Palace was one of the grandest houses in the UK before it was demolished in 1927.

Donna Marshall, CAVLP Programme Manager says, “Planting the Past plays a unique role in the restoration of the historic landscape at Chatelherault Country Park, which is one of the most important and biologically diverse natural habitats in Scotland, and part of the Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve (NNR).”

She continues, “Looking north-west from the formal gardens surrounding the Visitor Centre, views have just been opened to the ravine of the River Avon and Duke’s Bridge with the ruins of Cadzow Castle beyond.  The project to remove 800 tonnes of non-native western hemlock conifers will allow visitors to once again enjoy this incredible view.  William Adam was commissioned by the 5th Duke of Hamilton to build an eye catcher to terminate this stunning vista which resulted in creation of the Chatelherault Hunting Lodge.  Gardens surrounding the hunting lodge contain the original design Parterre garden and this project will help recreate the historic herbaceous border which was created by the Dukes gardener John Hossack in 1740. Volunteers interested in attending the Planting the Past launch event, finding out more about the Planting the Past project, or signing up, can contact Mike Taylor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 01698 426 213.

Other volunteering opportunities currently available through the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership at Chatelherault Country Park are available. Life in the Cadzow Oaks deadwood invertebrates survey volunteering with the Hunterian Museum is taking place from now until March 2018. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 0141 330 2303. Conservation volunteers are being sought to carry out maintenance in the wider park with Clydesdale Community Initiatives (CCI) from September – December. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 01555 664 211.

For a full list of volunteering opportunities and how to get involved, click here. Watch the drone footage of Chatelherault Country Park below to find out more about the non-native conifer removal.

 

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