Dalzell Estate

Information and opening times for Dalzell Estate in Motherwell

View of Dalzell House

Dalzell Estate is open to the public from dawn to dusk throughout the year.

Situated at the end of Dalzell Drive, close to Fir Park Football Stadium and the North Lanarkshire Civic Centre in Motherwell, Dalzell Estate was originally a Royal Hunting Forest owned by the Dalzell family. They occupied the land from 843 until it was sold in 1647 to James Hamilton, a son of the fifth Laird of Orbiston who proceeded to develop the house.

The landscaping of the estate was an eighteenth century development carried out by Archibald Hamilton, who turned a wilderness area of rather barren land into an orderly and landscaped park, while, at the same time, improving much of the land of the estate for agricultural purposes. Many of the trees, planted during this period were varieties introduced from other parts of the British Isles and planted for landscape effect.

Facilities and services

Dalzell Estate is currently being assessed as to its suitability for external funding to improve its landscape, signage, ecological and historical elements. The current trail way marking will be upgraded in the near future to replace missing and vandalised posts. At present the green trail is incomplete and should not be followed.

The estate

Throughout this peaceful woodland, you will encounter some spectacular scenery, heritage monuments such as Dalzell House and Lord Gavin's Temple and perhaps even the ghostly figure of the 'Green Lady'. You may also encounter a host of wildlife surprises such as woodpeckers or roe deer along with the thriving squirrel population.

Japanese Gardens - created in the 1920's the Japanese gardens are one of the most exotic landscaping features to be found anywhere in Motherwell. Although currently requiring some replanting, they are modelled on a traditional Japanese garden, which once boasted a copy of the Temple of Buddha at Nagasaki. Important features of the gardens are the exotic Japanese maple trees, renowned for their beautiful crimson foliage in autumn. Positioned within a natural amphitheatre the gardens add a tranquil and spiritual dimension to Dalzell.

Covenanters Oak - the tree takes its name from the Covenanter's of the 17 thcentury who were granted permission by the Hamilton family to hold religious services under its branches. Legend has it that the oak was planted in the eleventh century by the then King of Scotland, David I as part of a larger "Deer Park" hunting estate. There are a number of the original oak trees still surviving at Chanticleer near Hamilton but the Covenanter's Oak at Dalzell is the only specimen remaining on the Motherwell side of the Clyde.

Dalzell House - Dalzell House is situated on a steep, rocky bank, above the Whinny Burn, about a mile from the centre of Motherwell. The original building would have been a wooden structure, followed by the stone Keep that was probably built during the 15 thor early 16 thcentury and was purchased by James Hamilton in 1647. The Keep was extended in 1649 with further substantial additions throughout the centuries that followed. Viewed from the west, near the Covenanters Oak, the Keep can be clearly seen at the heart of the house, the linchpin of this whole magnificent edifice. Following restoration and conversion of the interior during the early 1980's, the house now consists of a number of dwelling houses, and your respect for their privacy is much appreciated. A particular room known as the "the Green Lady's Bedroom" in Dalzell House is said to be haunted. The "Green Lady" has a secret passageway that leads from the house to the terraced gardens. You may also catch a glimpse of the ghostly figures of the "White Lady" or "Grey Lady" among the trees!

The Arboretum - the arboretum in Dalzell boasts a fine collection of indigenous and exotic trees. Started during the early 19 thcentury from seeds collected by well travelled botanists and explorers, there are examples of trees from some exotic parts of the globe. The collection was traditionally added to when ceremonial planting took place by nobility and royalty, staying at Dalzell House as guests of the Hamiltons. The wellingtonias, Spanish chestnuts, yews and cedars of Lebanon are some of the most magnificent examples in the country.

Woodlands - although designed and planted by successive owners of the estate, the woods were originally laid out for screening, shelter, amenity and game bird holding areas. A haven for a rich variety of wildlife, the woods now display more natural characteristics and the gorge through which Dalzell Burn flows is one of the most important natural habitats in the area. Following the perimeter of the estate you will be treated to magnificent views over the River Clyde arriving at St. Patrick's Churchyard and Pet's Cemetery

St. Patrick's Chapel was the first wholly Christian church in Motherwell. It was demolished in the 18 thcentury and some of the stonework was used to build the family mausoleum and the garden wall at Dalzell House. Some of the gravestones date back to this period and the dog's cemetery clearly reflects the Hamilton's fondness of their pets which they wished to be buried close by. Adjacent to the chapel is St. Patrick's well, a spring renowned through the centuries as having healing properties. The Victorian well head was rebuilt in the 1990's. In front of the mausoleum near the well stands a stone built summerhouse known as Lord Gavin's Temple. Lord Gavin Hamilton was often to be found reading in this quiet spot that overlooked his beloved wife's grave.

RSPB Reserve, Baron's Haugh - Dalzell Estate adjoins the local nature reserve of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds at Baron's Haugh. Whether you are a complete beginner or an expert ornithologist you will find a visit to this reserve a fascinating experience. For further information go to the Dalzell Estate and Barons Haugh website.


Dalzell Estate is accessible by public transport. If making your way by train please alight at either Motherwell Station from where you can walk, take a bus or taxi to the Estate. If travelling by bus please take one, which goes through Motherwell heading towards Wishaw, Newmains, Carluke or Lanark, and alight at Knowetop (near to Taggarts Garage and Fir Park Stadium). Between Taggarts Garage and Knowetop School you will find Dalzell Avenue, please proceed along the avenue, Auto Trader and then Motherwell College will be on your right hand side and a short way further along you will find Dalzell House from where you can enter the Estate. For patrons who are travelling to the Estate by car there are a limited number of car parking spaces available. You will find the car park on your left-hand side of Dalzell Avenue just a short way along from Motherwell College.

Management rules

All our facilities are managed by a set of rules and regulations.

Contact us

Please use the 'contact us' box if you have any questions. For more information, see 'download' and 'other useful websites'.