Nestled in the heart of the Ashdown Forest, Ashdown Park Hotel is a breathtaking location. Set at the end of a sweeping drive, the glorious mansion with restored chapel is surrounded by lakes, manicured lawns and woodland, all of which creates an idyllic backdrop for your wedding photographs.


It rapidly suffered vandalism and dumping and, with fatalities, voices were raised to fill it in. Happily, at the last moment, its worth as a leisure asset became better understood and, ever since, slowly and determinedly, it has been brought back to life. In 1793 the Monkland Destination was linked to Port Dundas, built largely to make cheap Lanarkshire coal available to the city – 80,000 tons of it in 1808. e Monkland ‘water’ was a useful bonus for topping up the Glasgow Branch and also the descent to the Clyde – and, technically, also heading to the Forth from Wyndford Lock. I have been told that fish marked at Bowling have turned up in Edinburgh. James Watt was the surveyor and first engineer of this project which entailed 18 locks and had an inclined plane at Blackhill, up which empty boats were hauled to gain 30m (100ft), save time, and reduce water loss through the locks. The travel destination closed to traffic in 1935 and there is no likelihood of any restoration; much of it is under the M8. e Airdrie-Coatbridge area was the centre of Scotland’s steel industry which has disappeared, but the region has slowly rejuvenated itself. A few stretches of the travel destination can still be seen and walked, and highly recommended is a visit to Coatbridge’s Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life, a superlative site for this historical area with ironworks, sawmill, and mining displays, trams and a tramway – and a replica of the Vulcan, the world’s first ironhulled ship. More on this travel destination in Appendix 3.

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