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Time to make your way outdoors

Published Thursday, 25 January 2018

group of people walking in the South Lanarkshire countryside

If you are looking for free activities to get you active in 2018 then the Make Your Way walking and cycling events are for you.

Based in and around Hamilton, Larkhall and Chatelherault Country Park from now until March, these one-off activities are taking place as the second part of the Make Your Way arts, heritage and active travel project which focuses on connecting communities in Hamilton, Larkhall and Quarter via Chatelherault Country Park along six specific routes on and around; Mausoleum Drive, Hamilton Palace Grounds and South Haugh in Hamilton; North Quarter Farm and Sunnyside Road near Quarter; and Millheugh Road near Larkhall.

The routes connect with the Avon Walkway, the Clyde Walkway, National Cycle Route (NCR) 74 and Strathclyde Country Park, so some can be used for commuting, for short strolls or cycles, or as links to longer explorations through the landscape which is rich in history connected to Hamilton Palace and local industry, as well as wildlife such as otters, migrating bird life and native flora. 

The project is delivered by icecream architecture and Healthy n Happy Development Trust. It is supported by Scottish Government supported Smarter Choices Smarter Places fund and Heritage Lottery Fund and South Lanarkshire LEADER supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP).

Please see below for a list of activities and visit www.clydeandavonvalley.com/events for full information and booking details. All activities are free but booking is essential, unless otherwise noted.

The walking and cycling activities, which will be delivered by Healthy n Happy Development Trust, have been tailored for all ages and abilities, with specialist walk and cycle leader training available for individuals looking for the skills and qualifications required to start their own walking and cycling groups or support existing groups.

Jim Ewing, Bike Town Senior Team Leader at Healthy n Happy said "We're really looking forward to supporting and helping people in Larkhall and Hamilton to be more active in how they get about in everyday life. All the cycling and walking activities, events and training courses we're putting on are open to everyone in the community to come along and try free of charge. Places are limited for some events and training courses so book your place now."

Six artists have been commissioned to deliver creative workshops with various groups in Hamilton, Larkhall and Quarter, which will shape interpretative artworks which will be installed along the six routes to Chatelherault Country Park later in the year. The artists; Rachel Walker, Owen Clarke, Ruby Pester, Nadia Rossi, Jenny O’Boyle and Alan Kane, have been working with specific groups to understand the history and heritage of each of the routes. The groups include Larkhall and District Volunteers, Hamilton Ramblers and pupils from Quarter Primary School.

Public workshops are due to be scheduled in late February, where members of the public can find out more about the artworks proposed, as well as share any stories and knowledge they might have about the routes too. Details of these will be announced at www.clydeandavonvalley.com/events.

Hannah Brackston, icecream architecture Project Officer, says, “The six artists are taking wonderfully creative and varied approaches to working with youth groups, rambling and walking groups, schools and cycling clubs, to produce imaginative sessions responding to these six very different pathways into Chatelherault Country Park from Hamilton, Quarter and Larkhall. From sound walks and video recording to aboriginal influenced ancestral walks, or Wassailing to wayfinding, these artists and groups have playfully engaged with the beautiful local environment.”

All of the public activities are taking place concurrently with the Active Travel schools programme, delivered by Healthy n Happy Development Trust in Larkhall and Hamilton Primary Schools based primary schools, until February 2018.

“These one-off FREE events are a fantastic way for people to explore these beautiful routes into Chatelherault Country Park. The paths have all been functional routes for hundreds of years, being used by miners between work in Hamilton Palace Estate and home in Quarter; the old public road between Millheugh, Larkhall and Hamilton; and the historic route over the Old Avon Bridge and through Barncluith Estate,” says Sarah O’Sullivan, CAVLP Make Your Way Development Officer.

“Whether you’re looking for ideas on where to get out and about on foot, to build your confidence when cycling, or to share stories you know about the routes, we encourage people to sign up for the events on the details above. As one off events as part of the project which is due to be completed in spring, they won’t be repeated! And even better – you get the chance to feed in your ideas for the artworks that will be installed along the routes for all to see for years to come!”

This second phase follows the first phase of the Make Your Way project which focussed on raising awareness of walking and cycle routes as well as sites of local heritage interest in the five communities of Carluke, Glassford, Lanark, Larkhall and Stonehouse, in 2017. The Make Your Way trails can be accessed digitally at www.clydeandavonvalley.com/make-your-way, or paper copies collected from local libraries and Lifestyles Centres. Visitors to each of the locations can enjoy the artworks along the various trails which reflect the heritage of each place, such as blue bricks in Carluke, pattern sliders in Larkhall and historic viewfinders in Lanark.

Find out more at www.clydeandavonvalley.org/make-your-way and go to www.clydeandavonvalley.org/events for individual event listings and to book.