Historic Environment Scotland designates Crawick Multiverse

It’s an incredible example of early 21st century land art, constructed on the site of a former open-cast coal mine.

But now Crawick Multiverse, near Sanquhar in Dumfries and Galloway, has been recognised as nationally important by Historic Environment Scotland.

Designed by renowned landscape architect Charles Jencks between 2011 and 2017, the site is now run by The Crawick Multiverse Trust, who operate the site as a visitor attraction.

Jencks was an internationally renowned land artist, cultural theorist and architectural historian.

Crawick Multiverse was his final land art project and his largest completed work in the UK, though his work can be found across the globe from India to South Korea.

He designed Crawick Multiverse to explore cosmology, prehistory, and connections to the past through the theory of the ‘multiverse’.

Features in the landscape convey a sense of the universe and its rhythms, from the standing stone avenue through the North-South Line, which evokes prehistoric stone monuments like the Neolithic Calanais (or Callanish) Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis, to the Omphalos, which signifies both the geological and mythical interior of the Earth.

The site covers an area of 22.5 hectares of land – more than 36 football pitches.

It was nominated to be considered for designation by a member of the public as part of HES’s ‘Designed Landscapes of the Recent Past’ project, an initiative to identify and champion Scotland’s remarkable modern gardens and designed landscapes.

‘Crawick Multiverse is an excellent addition to the inventory,’ Philip Robertson, Deputy Head of Designations at HES said.

‘Many of the ideas Charles Jencks explored throughout his illustrious career culminate at a massive scale here, and the site has artistic, cultural and historical significance.

‘Gardens and designed landscapes of the recent past such as Crawick Multiverse are an important element of Scotland’s historic environment and landscape. However, they are not always valued as much as older sites.

‘It’s important to record, recognise and promote awareness of these sites through our work.’

Patrick Lorimer, Trustee at The Crawick Multiverse Trust said: ‘It is a rare and special accolade to be recognised in this way and a fitting tribute to Charles Jencks and his significant contribution to land art in the UK and across the world.’

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