Chatelherault is a huge, breathtaking country park that’s located in the village of Ferniegair, just outside Hamilton.
Chatelherault’s fabulous, diverse terrain makes it absolutely ideal for dog walking, come rain or shine. Chatelherault is one of those places that seems like it was made for autumn, but the park looks magnificent in any season, whether blazing with colour in the spring and summer, or crisp and crunchy in the winter.
The panoramic view from the hunting lodge is pretty incredible and can be quite unexpected. We stumbled upon it after walking past the lodge.
Chatelherault has some lovely laid-to-lawn greenery, but the bulk of the park comprises dense woodland and 10 miles of riverside paths. So while you can enjoy a gentle stroll, we’d recommend it for more ‘waterproofs and wellies’ dog walking.
The riverside paths are pretty muddy and steep in parts, so don’t attempt these with anything less than a good pair of walking boots. If you have young toddlers, leave the pram behind and use a sling instead.
Please be mindful that the riverside paths are unfenced and give way to a big drop. This could be extremely hazardous if your dog is skittish or bloody-minded.
Chatelherault has a lot on offer when it comes to pre and post-walk activities. The Hunting Lodge is a must-see in mild weather i.e. weather that allows you to leave the dog in the car for short periods of time, and the visitor centre has a gallery and exhibition.
There’s also a children's playground and a non-dog-friendly cafe (if you can be quick about it). There are also public toilets that are always welcome after a long dog walk.
Alas, even the magnificent Chatelherault hasn’t quite evaded modern-day litterers, so you may find yourself tut tutting during the course of your dog walk. The rubbish is worst by the bridges – perhaps due to through-traffic – but there’s also litter on the paths within the main park.
This isn’t the worst that we’ve seen (Hamilton Palace Gardens anyone?), but its incongruity can be quite an irritation in an otherwise stunning landscape.
Even on a sunny weekend, Chatelherault doesn’t get mobbed out like a city park, and as a lot of its visitors are dog walkers, you’ll find yourself among like-minded people.