Some 800 years ago, monks at nearby Lesmhagow Abbey set up some of the first orchards in the Clyde Valley. The area was just right for fruit farming, with sheltered slopes and not too much rain. By the 1800s there were dozens of orchards here, growing over sixty different varieties of apples.
Now local schools have helped to plant new trees on a little slice of land to the east of Lesmahagow. You can explore this orchard-in-the-making on a gentle path, with short moderate slopes, and earth and gravel surfaces. Come back often and watch the trees grow.
There are shops, places to eat and public toilets in Lesmahagow.
Mountain biking trails
The Clyde Valley has other natural wonders apart from its orchards. The deep, steep-sided river valleys hide some of the oldest and richest forest in Scotland: glorious dappled woods of oak, ash, rowan and hazel that have been growing since the last Ice Age.
Six of the best of these beautiful woodlands make up the Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve. The smallest, but most spectacular, part of the reserve is Nethan Gorge, just 4 ½ miles (7.2 km) away from Brocketsbrae. It’s well worth a visit: park at dramatic Craignethan Castle for access directly to the wood.
There are allotments at Brocketsbrae which are managed and run by Lesmahagow Development Trust.
How to get here
From the Carlisle Road (B7078), take Eastwood Road (B7018) towards Lanark. The woodland is about ¼ mile (400 metres) along the road on the left, at grid reference NS 821 397. There is parking space for about four cars.
ML11 9PS is the nearest postcode.
Buses serve the Eastwood estate in Lesmahagow, about ½ mile (800 metres) away. Check Traveline Scotland for details.
There’s another new forest taking shape at Old Mine Nature Park in Bellshill, or you can find a beautiful walk among mature trees at Nethan Valley.
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