Places to visit
Hamilton Low Parks, North and South Haughs
Low Parks, North Haugh and South Haugh were originally part of the Dukes’ of Hamilton estates and would have been used for hunting and recreation. Now, these sites are important for recreation and wildlife.
Low Parks is particularly important for wildlife and consists of the golf course ponds, island pond and Barmichael Plantation. Access is easiest by way of the road past Hamilton Mausoleum.
The golf course pond area is frequently flooded by winter spates. The soil is rich and supports a summer wildflower meadow populated with several species of butterflies and other attractive insects. The ponds themselves support many aquatic invertebrates, amphibians, fish and bird species.
Nearby, Island Pond is part of a closed Nature Reserve where wildfowl are left largely undisturbed. In summer many water birds breed here while in winter it provides an important resting place for ducks and whooper swans which migrate from the far north to seek shelter in our milder climate. The pond can be viewed from the Hamilton Services off the M74, accessible form the access road past the Mausoleum
Barmichael Plantation is next to Island Pond and is also a closed Nature Reserve. It has one of the largest inland heronries in Scotland.
North Haugh lies between the River Clyde and the M74 and can be accessed via NCR74 (National Cycle Route 74) which runs past the Mausoleum to the Clyde footbridge for Strathclyde Park and then runs east through North Haugh. The path allows views into the low lying wet grassland which is the home of pheasant and roe deer. The Haugh is an important breeding area for many species of migrant warblers.
South Haugh lies to the south of North Haugh and is connected to it by the NCR74. (Other access can taken off the Carlisle Road near the Avonbridge Hotel.) It is partly bounded by the M74, Avon Water and Carlisle Road. This is mainly flat grassland crossed by a network of paths. It also has three ponds, which wildfowl use most of the year, and the Avon which is the haunt of kingfishers and otters.
For mapping go to South Lanarkshire Council maps.