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A Stunning Park Without The Expense!
Duchess Park (Motherwell, Scotland)
Member Name: angelboouk
Duchess Park (Motherwell, Scotland)
Advantages: free, lots to do, location, clean
Disadvantages: rowdy teenagers!
Duchess Park is located in Motherwell, Lanarkshire. It is 10minutes from the main shopping area and can be accessed through several gates. There is access from Avon and Crawford Street as well as Airbles Road and Dalziel School. Buses stop out on Hamilton Road and are regular. You can safely park on the outskirts of the park. Airbles train station is across the road from the park.
~History Of The Park~
Back in 1917, the park and the area surrounding it was leased to the council by the Duke and Duchess of Hamilton. The park was then given the name Duchess of Hamilton Park. In 1919, an 18foot, granite memorial was erected to remember those who died in the war and this still stands today. From 1923 - 1965, a bandstand featured in the park but had to be demolished due to vandals ruining it.
The park is set across 7 hectares. Foot paths run around the full park from every entrance and the park is lined with various sized trees. The park is split in to various sections. Near the school, there is a huge grassy area with benches dotted around. If you enter through the Crawford Street gate, you can follow a gravel path in 3 different directions. One path will take you towards the centre of the park to see the memorial and have a chance to relax on one of the many benches.
Further on, the area where the bandstand used to be takes you to the centre of the park. There is stairs and ramps to allow you to go into the centre. This area is surrounded by unusual trees and various flower beds and bushes. There are some more benches before reaching another grassy area at the Airbles Road entrance. The centre of the park also features a play area for children. There used to be a swimming area (more of a splash area with shallow water) and toilets though these are no longer there.
The park never closes and is of course, free to enter.
Motherwell may not be the best place to live but it does have some lovely areas. I have visited Duchess Park over 100 times in the 23years I have lived in Motherwell but the history is amazing in my opinion. Walking to the park from the town centre is a great 10minutes in itself. There is a mix of old fashioned and new build houses that cost a fortune! The park is directly across from St Marys Church (where I attended Sunday school until I hit 15 - yes I used to be a good girl). My parents were married here 34years ago and had their pictures taken in the park. It still looks as beautiful as it did then.
So why do we visit Duchess Park? Having a young family, we like to go walks and moreso when Ryan was in the buggy. My sister and I would take the kids down there to spend a few hours if we didn't fancy going to Strathclyde Park. The park is great for dog walkers, runners and families alike. Many of the paths have recently been resurfaced and are much more even though they do need to fix the flooding issue near the west side of the park. I will note here that we are happy to visit this park no matter what time of year it is.
~Pretty and Relaxing~
We normally enter and leave the park from the Crawford Street entrance. The full park is flat so easy access for buggies and wheelchairs. On entering the park from this entrance, it is beautiful and this beauty becomes more apparent the further into the centre of the park we walk. The memorial is beautiful and often covered in poppy wreaths. It is quite touching and we often spend time reading the names on it. We could happily sit at this area and take in the fresh air.
I am no expert on flowers or trees but the blossoming flowers and trees (especially in the Spring) are simply stunning. This is probably my favourite area of the park as everything is so well cared for, well maintained and very eyecatching. The various flower beds and flower boxes are attractive and really brighten up the park. There is a little shaded area where we often sit and take in the gorgeous flowers. Even in the rain they look lovely! The grass around the park is a hit and a miss. Whilst it seems to be taken care of near the centre, the west side of the park could do with a spruce up in my opinion.
If taking a picnic or some Greggs food down, we usually sit near the centre circle. I didn't realise there used to be a band stand there until I read it on a website. I think it would make a beautiful addition to the park and perhaps they could bring it back and change it to a seating area. There are bins dotted around the park and I rarely notice any rubbish around the park. It is very clean throughout. The benches are frequent though I wouldn't recommend the one next to the park as there is often broken glass there.
The grassy areas are ideal for picnics, playing football or generally running about. There is so much grass that no matter how busy the park gets, you are likely to have your own space to play around. We take a ball and play around. There is a hill near the park which offers some shade if its hot. The park itself isn't amazing but it is ok. It is split into a few sections. There is a tyre swing, 2 sets of big swings and a rope slide (which hasn't worked in years).
There is also a wood chipped area which offers 2 toddler swings and a climbing frame with chute, pole, bridge and frame to climb up. This is the area we usually use especially if the younger kids are with us. It is clean enough. The boys like the swings though we aren't keen on them going on the frame as it is quite high and hard to get up on..need eyes on the back of our heads! There used to be a bench in the park for parents to relax on but this seems to be gone now. The park hasn't changed much from when I was a child though I do miss the pool!
I will say that with the high school being so nearby, during lunch time, the park gets very busy with rowdy teenagers as we discovered one afternoon. They swung the swings around and covered the place in litter (my sister told them off) so I would personally avoid visiting the park during this time! I can give dog walkers credit as they most tend to pick up any mess their delightful canines make and deposit in the bins provided.
~Lets Burn Some Calories!~
I love being out in the fresh air and walking. I find it rather theraputic and Duchess Park is ideal to feed my body with this air and relaxation! As i said before, we have visited the park in the height of summer (shorts, comfy shoes and a drink is a must - oh and sunlotion) and also when it is raining or cold (wrap up cosy). This was ideal when the boys were snuggled in their buggies though now we bring out the wellies, hat and scarfs and still have fun as well as exercising.
On a good, dry day, we take our time walking around and from the Crawford Street entrance back around (without stopping for the park) it probably takes us an hour. It isn't huge really but relaxing to walk around so we take our time! Last year, we went down the park when it was snowing. It was light snow when we entered the park and quickly changed to heavy, deep snow! This was rather difficult to get around with buggies but oh my, it was simply stunning. Everything was covered in a white blanket of snow..crunchy and ideal for running through! This was my favourite time to visit the park as it looked so picturesque and the snow hung beautifully from the trees. Ideal for building snow men and having snow ball fights too!
During the autumn, the leaves fall gracefully from the trees. So really, Duchess Park is stunning to visit anytime of the year! Walking around the park burns some calories so I can't complain. If you fancy something to eat though, either take some food with you, nip up to the town centre (McDonalds, Greggs etc) or head across the Airbles Road to the Electric Bar for some grub. The toilets are here too but you need to eat to use them!
It is free, has fresh air, offers a gorgeous walk and play for the kids. I can't really fault the park. It isn't very well lit at night though so not somewhere you would want to walk your dog at night. From experience (hanging around with friends as a teenager - not causing trouble though!) once it gets dark, you need to head out. On one occasion myself and my sister found ourselves in the park at midnight with torches. It's a long story but we were looking for someone who went missing so lights could have came in handy there! I suppose with the park being in a residential area, there are no lights through fear of disturbing residents.
As I said before, the park is well maintained throughout and council vans are often seen with works fixing flowers, planting new ones and fixing the path ways. The bins rarely overflow (except when its lunch time and the school kids are out). Depending on the weather, we could happily spend several hours in the Duchess Park and not get bored. It is simply perfect in my honest opinion and hopefully will be kept that way for years to come.
As you can judge by my review, Duchess Park comes with a 5 star recommendation from me. If you are in the area visiting, just pop by and take in the beauty of it.
Thanks for reading :)
Summary: for walks, play and picnics