Places to Visit in Scotland
- Châtelherault Country Park
Châtelherault gets its name from a French dukedom which was conferred on James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran in 1550. The title was inherited by the Dukes of Hamilton.
The surrounding area was once known as Cadzow and within the grounds of the park are the remains of Cadzow Castle. The 500 acre park is perched high above the river Avon (a tributary of the river Clyde) and the town of Hamilton, with panoramic views of the surrounding Lanarkshire countryside. There are woodland walks (some are quite spooky, with dark trees and deep ravines) and the striking "palace" in the grounds is now a visitor centre.
This "palace" of Châtelherault was built in the middle of the 18th century and was designed by the architect William Adam. He referred to it as the "dog kennels at Hamilton". While some dogs were indeed kept at this hunting lodge, there was also a banqueting pavilion and walled gardens.
The Châtelherault "palace" used to look over at the even more imposing Hamilton Palace which had been designed by David Hamilton in 1828 as a sumptuous home for the Duke of Hamilton. However, mining subsidence made the building dangerous and it had to be pulled down in the 1920s. All that remains is the Hamilton Mausoleum (a distinctive building seen by passing motorists on the main motorway running south past Hamilton). On the other side of the motorway is another public park - Strathclyde Country Park, with its large lake.
In medieval times, the Dukes of Hamilton kept a herd of ornamental cattle in Châtelherault Park. These had black ears and feet and on special occasions they were hunted. Many of these herds of ornamental cattle have died out but the cattle at Châtelherault have been merged with those from other parts and remain as the "White Park Cattle" which graze amongst the ancient oak trees there.
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