If you go down to the park today you are sure of a big surprise – no, not a teddy bears’ picnic but at long last some progress is being made on the park’s regeneration.
Things are really starting to happen at Castlebank. The Trust has received Stage 1 funding of £10,000 from Lottery Community Spaces Fund to enable us to take our plans to planning consent stage before submitting the Stage 2 application for a further £238,000 grant which will help us to create a community horticulture centre from the the derelict sawmill buildings and tennis court.
Our partners in this project, South Lanarkshire Council, are investing £400,000 in the park and work has already started. Over the past 6 weeks there has been a huge amount of activity in the park as storm damaged trees have been removed, straggly old shrubs have been cleared from the driveway and round about the sawmill buildings and tennis courts. Some further tree felling of old, unsafe trees on the avenue will take place within the next two weeks.
In late March a large number of new trees will be planted throughout the park, including 29 new beech trees along the avenue. All these new trees will be recorded on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Woods Project which aims to see 6 million trees planted nationwide during the Jubilee year. We are also hoping that each of the local schools will be involved and will sponsor a tree.
Lanark in Bloom with the help of volunteers from the Prince’s Trust, is planting hundreds of spring bulbs along the avenue. These bulbs have been kindly donated by Headspoint Nursery.
The top level of the terraced gardens is being opened up again and council workmen have done a magnificent job of clearing all the ground in readiness for planting out. The Trust, Lanark in Bloom and South Lanarkshire Council are working together to create a planting plan and it is hoped that we can involve an army of volunteers/ Friends of Castlebank to help us with the planting.
Opening up the ‘Dell’ Path
This is a very exciting development as we shall soon be able to walk along the old path that meandered down the side of the terraced garden, looping through the Dell and finally meeting up with the main Clyde Walkway path at the foot of the gully. Once all the undergrowth is cleared and the path reinstated, there will be some new rhododendrons and azaleas planted so that next year we should see the path restored to its former glory.