The fascinating heritage of Dalzell Estate will be put firmly on the national map with a unique special event later this year.
But the iconic Motherwell beauty spot will only play a starring role in Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology if residents give it a digital thumbs-up in an X-Factor style public vote.
If Dalzell Estate is one of the six Hidden Gem vote winners it will host a high profile event in September as a centrepiece of Scottish Archaeology Month.
Dig It! 2017 has already worked with partners across the country to celebrate Scotland’s six UNESCO World Heritage Sites with six unique events.
Now just six lesser-known but equally fascinating sites – which could include Dalzell Estate – are in the frame for a major tourism boost.
The Estate traces its origins back to the very beginnings of Scottish history, and became one of North Lanarkshire’s most famous landmark stately homes under the Dalzell family.
These days, together with Baron’s Haugh nature reserve, it’s run by North Lanarkshire Council and the RSPB.
Other contenders in the Dig It! contest include Hamilton Mausoleum, the prehistoric Cochno stone and Coats Observatory.
The organisers say: “Unlike the World Heritage Sites, you won’t find these places featured in as many travel guides, postcards or Instagram feeds.
“They might be a little bit quieter, harder to find and rougher around the edges.
“You’ll have to step off the beaten track see some of them for your own eyes. It’s all part of the experience. Your reward is a piece of the past that will surprise, delight and inspire you.”
Voting is now underway and will run on the Dig It! 2017 Facebook page until the end of July, with one “like” equaling one vote.
The link to the voting page is at http://www.digit2017.com/discover/scotland-in-six-hidden-gems/
The Estate started life as a hunting forest in 843 when it was owned by the Dalzell family. It was granted to the Hamilton family in 1647 and successive generations have left their mark, including the creation of formal, romantic and functional gardens and Dalzell House, with a 15th-century tower house at its core. Today you can trace the orchards, enjoy forest walks and avenues, or discover features designed to delight, such as the Listening Cave from 1765.
The historic Ha-Ha, which was recently restored by the Phoenix Futures community group, a charity and housing association which helps people overcome drug and alcohol problems.
WHAT KIND OF DAY OUT SHOULD I EXPECT?
Inspirational –The site is co-managed with the RSPB’s Baron’s Haugh Nature Reserve and is an oasis for beautiful birds.