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Today Braedale Hill is becoming a real haven for birds, insects, and animals. Habitats such as the Auchter Water, maturing woodland and managed grasslands are attracting more wildlife to Newmains.
The thin soil, while not great for larger trees, does allow carpets of wildflowers to thrive without shade and the competition of dense grasses. Plants such as common spotted orchid and northern marsh orchid have arrived on the hill naturally. Others, such as cowslip and viper’s bugloss, were planted by local people on conservation days. These flowers are attracting an increased number of insects including a variety of butterflies and moths, such as common blue and ringlet. A rare find for North Lanarkshire is the caterpillars of the cinnabar moth which feed exclusively on the plant, yellow ragwort.
It is difficult to believe this site was until fairly recent times part of an industrialised landscape. Once known as Crindledyke Bing, it is mainly composed of the waste materials from the Coltness Iron Company. It was once surrounded by mines and heavy industry.
It was regraded and grassed around 1975. In the mid 1990s the site was planted with trees such as ash, oak and scots pine, and new paths were created. Work was done by the Central Scotland Forest Trust as part of a grant scheme. Recently the council has worked with local residents and the community council to further improve the site for wildlife and people. New paths have been created and more trees planted. However, it has been the commitment of local people in attending litter pick and planting days that has really helped lift the site.
There is now a good network of waymarked paths covering the hill. There is a short route with blue arrows and a longer yellow route. The site is well used by dog walkers and joggers, as well as people taking a pleasant short cut. The young woodlands are open and bright and there are good opportunities for bird watching and wildlife study.
One of the best things about Braedale Hill is the view from the top. Look north past Murdostoun Castle to the Campsie Fells, Kilsyth Hills and the high point of the Meikle Bin. Look northeast past Shotts and Hartwood Hospital, and east over Kingshill Woodland and the Blacklaw windfarm. Look south to Tinto Hill. Look southwest towards Whitelees wind farm. Look northwest over Newmains, to Coatbridge, Glasgow and beyond to Ben Lomond and the Trossachs.