Doors Open Days Adventures: Drumpellier Country Park, North Lanarkshire

As much as I’d love to visit all the Doors Open Days venues, with around 1,000 buildings open during the month of September it would be humanly impossible for me to get round them all! So I’ve roped in some of the other staff and volunteers at the Scottish Civic Trust to tell me all about their Doors Open Days adventures so I can then report back to you. Today Pauline McCloy, who’s in charge of the national co-ordination of Doors Open Days, is telling us all about her visit to Drumpellier Country Park in North Lanarkshire. I’ll let her do all the talking, hope you enjoy reading!

Lanarkshire DOD 5 Drumpellier Country Park (c) Pauline McCloy

Image (c) Pauline McCloy

Having grown up in an area but still finding that there are vast amounts of it that you know nothing about is a strange sensation; a mixture of guilt (for probably not making enough effort) mixed with joy (at getting to go discover something new). The difference in scale from the ‘wee me’ and the big country park at Drumpellier would have been astounding enough all those years ago. The difference between the ‘big me’ and the great outdoors is still such that I feel like an adventurer.

Just minutes off of the M8 motorway there’s this huge loch, families sailing and paddling, couples walking around the water feeding ducks and swans and fending off the ever smug and unabashed seagulls that descend every time they hear the rustling plastic. I went as part of a group, consisting of my mum, my granny and my mum’s pal, so it was fairly wholesome afternoon out.

Lanarkshire DOD 2 Drumpellier Country Park (c) Pauline McCloy

Image (c) Pauline McCloy

Our destination wasn’t the loch itself but the nursery. Alec, the supervising horticulturalist for North Lanarkshire Council, was giving a class on gardening, specifically on how to garden in containers. As a tenement dweller I was keen to find out how to get more out of my window-sill gardening, and fancied spending an hour or so in a hot house surrounded by flower and greenery, but I wasn’t fully prepared for the session if I’m honest.
I had forgotten that there are proper Latin names for plants, that plants are living, breathing things who, if the mood really took them, would grow you out of house and home.

Lanarkshire DOD 1 Drumpellier Country Park (c) Pauline McCloy

Image (c) Pauline McCloy

We looked at hanging baskets, pot containers, fence troughs and low, walled containers. We saw the hot house beds, some empty and some full, the grounds a bit barren, even just at the end of summer. The seeds starting to spring and some perennials who were clearly going nowhere. Alec’s stories were thick and fast, you got the feeling he had lived with these plants a long time.

We finished up in the potting shed, which sounds quaint but considering this nursery annually grows all of the plants you see everywhere in North Lanarkshire, bordered more on the industrial. Row after row of terracotta coloured plastic poked out over the edge of each shelf. Piles of trolleys and wheelbarrows, muck everywhere (a weekend window sill gardener like me can forget the messy business of growing en mass).

Lanarkshire DOD 4 Drumpellier Country Park (c) Pauline McCloy

Image (c) Pauline McCloy

At the end of the class we walked back out to the car park, past grapes on the vine and red and green chilli peppers, it was hard to not feel a pinch of nostalgia, for the first time you grew something, some cress in cotton wool or that one strawberry that one summer. It would be a real shame to go home and not take some inspiration from Alec and his team, and we set to discussing the possibility of growing enough for a glass of Rose.


Sounds like a fantastic way to spend an afternoon! The great thing about Doors Open Day is being able to discover hidden gems right on your doorstep that you didn’t even know existed – whether that be a beautiful building or a picturesque country park and nursery!

Remember to subscribe to the blog as later this week I’ll be taking you round a few of the great Doors Open Days buildings I visited in Aberdeen this weekend.


About doorsopendays

Doors Open Days is Scotland’s largest free annual architectural event. It is coordinated nationally by the Scottish Civic Trust.
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