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South Lanarkshire
Larkhall


Population 15,549. Figures taken from 2001 Census.

Larkhall sits in the rolling countryside of Avondale and is situated to the south east of Hamilton with excellent access to the M74 motorway. The town has two stations, Larkhall Central and Merryton, with a half-hourly service via Hamilton, Glasgow and Partick to Dalmuir.

The town is also to benefit from a new cycle route, connecting it to Hamilton, having been one of the successful projects in a Sustrans lottery bid in 2007.

The Clyde Valley is just minutes away with its selection of garden centres, tea rooms, country walks, parks and pony trekking. If it's history you're after, Chatelherault Country Park is two miles away and the kids can be entertained in its huge adventure playground, while Craignethan Castle is six miles away.

Following the decline of the coal industry around Larkhall in the 1940s a programme of diversification in both manufacturing and services attracted new business to the area. Among today's large employers are plastic manufacturers Rosti. And four new industrial units were constructed in 2007 at a cost of 800,000.

Housing in Larkhall ranges from public sector homes (with houses currently available for let) and private flats to country cottages and family villas. There are many established housing estates dating from the 1960s as well as new builds of private and housing association accommodation in Larkhall and its environs.

Larkhall has a selection of primary schools and once the multi-million pound schools modernisation programme is complete the town will have a brand new purpose-built secondary school on a site adjacent to the existing Larkhall Academy and Leisure Centre.

For walkers, there are stunning pathways that join the Clyde Walkway through the Avon Gorge at Morgan Glen and pleasant strolls down to the park and the Applebank Inn at Millheugh. From there, there are good paths all the way along the river to Chatelherault.

For golfers, Larkhall Golf Course is situated on the edge of town and for the more adventurous there's the Larkhall outdoor kart circuit, Summerlee, where many of today's motor sports greats started their careers, including David Coulthard, Dario Franchitti and Le Mans winner Alan McNish.

The local newspapers are the Hamilton Advertiser, Larkhall Echoes and the Lanarkshire Extra.

Shopping

Larkhall has a selection of traditional and specialist shops along its main street as well as coffee shops and cafes. There are also Co-op and Somerfield supermarkets for food shopping and a number of furniture outlets.

How to get there

By rail, the town's two stations, Larkhall Central and Merryton, have a half-hourly service to Dalmuir via Hamilton, Glasgow and Partick. By car Larkhall is easily reached from the M74 and lies on the B7078 from either Hamilton or Kirkmuirhill. Larkhall has bus services to various towns in the surrounding area as well as to Glasgow.

History

Larkhall's name is thought to originate from the Gaelic "Laverockha" meaning "lark on the hill" and maps from the 15th and 16th centuries show place names with similar spellings in the area. In the early 14th century the area was known as Machanshire and later Dalserf. Larkhall wasn't in common use until the 18th century.

The main industry in Larkhall during the 17th and 18th centuries was weaving and much of the old part of the town consists of weavers' cottages. The Larkhall and Pleasance Building Society opened in 1814, followed by the Larkhall Building Society in 1824, enabling so many weavers to own their homes that Larkhall became known as "the town of bonnet lairds".

Coal mining came to Larkhall around the end of the 18th century as the town lay in the heart of the Lanarkshire coalfields and by the 1920s most of its people were miners. As the coal industry declined, others came in its wake including a brick works, fireclay works, chemical works and several quarries and foundries.

Larkhall's railway was completed as far as Netherburn around 1856 with Larkhall East Station upgraded to serve passengers in 1868. By 1905 the railway was so popular that the new Central Larkhall Station was opened. Unfortunately, both stations were closed under the Beeching cuts of the 1960s. However, in 2005 a new railway line was completed and now links the town's Larkhall Central and Merryton stations to Dalmuir via Hamilton, Glasgow and Partick.

The area surrounding Larkhall includes several small villages such as Netherburn, Ashgill and Dalserf. Dalserf was once a main stopover on the road north and had five inns and a ferry across the Clyde. By the 1820s Garrion Bridge had been built to take the traffic past the village. The Old Parish Church in Dalserf was erected in 1655 and was renovated in the 1970s.

Netherburn is a close knit community outside Larkhall with a lively community hall. Ashgill was originally an area of miners' houses known as Ashgillhead. It was rebuilt in the 1920s and renamed Ashgill.

Millheugh, down the steep Avon Gorge from Larkhall was a popular area for fruit growing with crops such as apples, pears and plums. At one time, the area adjacent to Millheugh, a popular local beauty spot, was known as the bleachfields as it was once the site of a local dye works. The area also boasts its own ghost, the Black Lady who is said to haunt the Applebank Inn.


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