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Cambusnethan Woods is located on the north side of the River Clyde about one mile south west of Wishaw. The woods are comprised of two adjacent areas of mature, mainly broad-leaf woodland, within a farming landscape. The woods together cover about 45 hectares.
On the west of the site is Carbarns Wood, and on the east lies Highmainshead Wood, which are known locally as the Bluebell Woods. Several small streams flow down through the south-facing site to the Clyde. The largest of these is Gowkthrapple Burn, which forms a steep-sided gully. Cambusnethan House lies between the two blocks of woodland.
Cambusnethan Woods is designated as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) and is a haven for a variety of plants and wildlife, such as bluebells, foxgloves, the jay, badgers and pipistrelle bats.
Cambusnethan House, or Cambusnethan Priory, as it has become known was designed by architect James Gillespie Graham and was completed in 1820. It is regarded as the best surviving example of a country house in the Gothic Revival style.
The priory was built for the Lockhart family of Castlehill and their family crest was carved above the main entrance and etched in every balustrade of the main staircase inside.
The crest represents a cask, heart and lock and derives from the tradition that the crusading ancestors of this family carried Robert the Bruce’s heart back from the Holy Land.
The woods at Cambusnethan form part of what was the woodlands and hunting estate of the Lockhart family. You can still see the remains of the old orchard where there are many plum trees.
Cambusnethan House was destroyed by fire in the 1980s but the ruin stands today.
In 2008 and 2009 a grant from the Forestry Commission Scotland supported thinning and restricting of the Cambusnethan Woods to benefit wildlife and allowed surfacing of the path network. There is now the choice of several walking routes through the site which includes links to the Clyde Walkway, that stretches from Garrion Bridge to Strathclyde Country Park.
The woodland thinning is encouraging a healthy growth of wildflowers on the woodland floor. The woods are an excellent place for wildlife and bird watching.