IF the Mauldslie Bridge could talk, this charming crossing over the River Clyde would no doubt have some cracking yarns to tell.

Built in 1861, the A-listed structure – a blonde sandstone, segmental-arched bridge just off the A72 Lanark Road at Dalserf, South Lanarkshire – provided access to the now-demolished Mauldslie Castle which, in its day, was frequented by royalty and prominent public figures.

Mauldslie Castle hosted King George V and Queen Mary in July 1914, some three weeks before the outbreak of the First World War.

Sir Winston Churchill's wife Clementine had family connections to the area. Her father was Colonel Sir Henry Hozier, a brother of the first Lord Newlands of Mauldslie Castle, and the Churchills were occasional visitors.

Believed to be the work of David Bryce, one of Scotland’s leading 19th-century architects renowned for his country houses and churches, Mauldslie Bridge has undergone a recent £1.3m restoration by owners Scottish Water.

HeraldScotland: The Mauldslie Bridge at Dalserf, Clyde Valley, Lanarkshire. Picture: Gordon Terris/The HeraldThe Mauldslie Bridge at Dalserf, Clyde Valley, Lanarkshire. Picture: Gordon Terris/The Herald

Today it is used by walkers, anglers and cyclists to access the Mauldslie Estate and nearby Mauldslie Woods, historic woodland that was once a royal hunting forest.

A pretty riverside path – part of the meandering Clyde Walkway stretching from Glasgow city centre to New Lanark – leads to the woods. It is ideal for a gentle stroll as the surface is mainly flat and even, although there are some steeper sections up through the trees.

Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife spotting opportunities, such as roe deer and badger tracks, or a glimpse of nimble treecreepers and great spotted woodpeckers spiralling up the gnarled trunks of oak, ash and elm.

HeraldScotland: The Mauldslie Bridge at Dalserf, Clyde Valley, Lanarkshire. Picture: Gordon Terris/The HeraldThe Mauldslie Bridge at Dalserf, Clyde Valley, Lanarkshire. Picture: Gordon Terris/The Herald

Around this time of year, the bluebells are bursting into life and creating a scented carpet across the floor of the shaded woods. Nothing beats a spring day when the distinctive, sweet smell of these bell-shaped flowers fills the air.

The area forms part of the Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve, a six-strong clutch of beauty spots that also includes Cartland Craigs at Lanark, Cleghorn Glen, the Falls of Clyde, Hamilton High Parks at Chatelherault and Nethan Gorge.

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Swing by Mauldslie Bridge and most days you will see anglers dotted along the Clyde, casting their lines for trout and salmon (depending on the season).

It would be remiss to write about the Clyde Valley and not mention garden centres and farm shops, many of which have top notch cafes to enjoy a post-stroll lunch or coffee and cake. There is also a handful of excellent antiques shops that are fun to rummage in.