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‘Rocking’ new landscape exhibition launches

Ancient coal swamps, vast ice sheets and powerful rivers

  • Filed under
  • Date posted
    22 February 2018

Explore how ancient coal swamps, vast ice sheets and powerful rivers shaped life and livelihoods in the Clyde and Avon Valleys through a new exhibition at New Lanark World Heritage site, open now and free for local residents. The ‘Shaping the Landscape’ exhibition was launched on Thursday 22 February, by British Geological Survey’s Chief Geologist, Diarmad Campbell and tells the area’s unique geological story and how it influenced the development, history and nature of this special part of the world.  

The exhibition follows a geological audit of the Clyde and Avon Valleys by British Geological Survey Scotland in 2016 , and explores the 12 key sites (see related links at bottom of page) which tell the region’s geological story including New Lanark World Heritage Site, The Falls of Clyde and Chatelherault Country Park. 

Shaping the Landscape Exhibition, New Lanark

Watch the video below for a sneak preview of exhibition, and find out more in the Virtual Museum too.


Ewan Bachell, CAVLP Development Officer says, “CAVLP are really excited to be involved in the creation of the exhibition with great input from the Falls of Clyde Heritage Group, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Hamilton Natural History Society. It celebrates the area’s rich geology and its diverse links with the region’s economic, ecological and cultural heritage. The underlying geology defines our landscape, and has impacted on every aspect of life in the Clyde and Avon Valleys, from biodiversity and watercourses, to industry and transport.”

Multimedia and interactive exhibits are available with a chance to explore the 400 million years of the Clyde and Avon Valley’s geological story, from Devonian times to the present day. In particular, visitors can investigate how the retreating glaciers and the changing rivers sculpted the landscape of the Clyde and Avon Valley that we see today.

The exhibition is supported by SSE Sustainable Development Fund, and Heritage Lottery Fund & South Lanarkshire LEADER supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP). It was developed by Abound Design and Interpretation Ltd, in collaboration with digital media specialists CMC Associates Ltd.

Lindsay Dougan, SSE Community Investment Manager says, “SSE and Clyde Wind Farm Ltd are delighted to have supported the development of the ‘Shaping the Landscape’ exhibition. The fantastic exhibition demonstrates the unique assets of the Clyde and Avon Valley and is a boost to tourism in the area.”  

Mike Spearman of CMC Associates says, “The landscape we live in is so often taken for granted – but even today it has a profound effect on how we go about our lives. For thousands of years it has provided not only our food but also our building materials and fuel. We are keen to learn how people today ‘read’ and understand their geology, landscape, soil and habitat.”

The exhibition is designed to be family friendly and covers different themes, including how the landscape was formed, how it was tamed for agriculture and industry, where gorges still teem with nature and how the landscape as a whole has inspired generations of artists and local people to this day. Information on display includes stunning photography and drone footage accompanied by background music and atmospheric lighting.  It will also appeal to children with plenty of ‘hands on’ activities.

The exhibition is free to local residents (ML8, ML9 and ML11 postcodes), just bring along some identification with a local address and postcode.

Visitors from further afield may view the exhibition as part of the New Lanark World Heritage Site upon purchasing of a regular Day Admission ticket, available here or on the day from the Visitor Centre.  New Lanark Visitor Centre is open:  April – October: 10am – 5pm and November – March: 10am – 4pm

Please note this exhibition is ongoing at New Lanark with no end date.

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