Chatelherault House in Hamilton
Chatelherault House in Hamilton

History comes to life with an impressive exhibition and host of events

An exhibition celebrating the picturesque and sublime Clyde and Avon Valley will open this weekend.

Land, Life, Water: the Clyde and Avon Valley Past and Present, and an exciting accompanying programme of events, will showcase over 70 projects that have taken place since 2011, as part of the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP) – one of many UK based, large scale Landscape Partnership schemes supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Opening on Saturday, 17 February, at Chatelherault Visitor Centre, Hamilton, visitors to the multi-media exhibition will be immersed into the local landscape just south of Glasgow and west of the Central Belt, which has been a favourite for tourists, artists and writers for over 250 years.

Chatelherault House in Hamilton

It’s no wonder that the Wordsworths, J M W Turner and Sir Walter Scott joined other tourists in flocking to the area in the mid 19th century – known today for; New Lanark World Heritage Site; the ancient woodlands in the Clyde Valley National Nature Reserve; the Clyde Walkway; retaining the highest concentration of orchards in Scotland; and stunning gorge landscapes like those found at Falls of the Clyde.

Curated around the themes of land, life and water, visitors will be able to discover the story of the landscape through history to the present day. Visitors will be able to piece together their own story using historical objects, interactive maps, works of art created by local schools and youth groups, and historical paintings on display.

Alongside historical items on display, including Roman Samian ware, a Bronze Age mortar, agricultural implements, jam jars, and recent finds from ‘Castle’ Qua near Lanark and Black Hill near Kirkmuirhill, visitors will be able to get up close and personal with various handling objects, such as an apple and honey press, and horse tacks.

Guided walks will take place as part of the exhibition programme

The achievements of the £5 million CAVLP programme, set up to celebrate and enhance the area’s landscape and cultural heritage with a range of organisations, social cooperatives, community groups, individuals and volunteers, will also be showcased.

Over 70 projects took place under the CAVLP scheme, delivered by key partners South Lanarkshire Council, North Lanarkshire Council, Central Scotland Green Network Trust, Clydesdale Community Initiatives, New Lanark Trust, Northlight Heritage, RSPB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and Scottish Wildlife Trust, and a range of delivery organisations.

It will reveal the results of historical research and archaeological discoveries, highlight new trails and improved access, show the work undertaken to conserve and improve the ecology, and celebrate the training, skills development and volunteering which local people have enjoyed through so many successful projects.
There will also be a series of free hands-on events, workshops, talks and walks during the exhibition.

Click HERE for more information on these.

The exhibition has been curated by CAVLP Heritage, a project delivered by Northlight Heritage and is supported by Historic Environment Scotland, and Heritage Lottery Fund and South Lanarkshire Council LEADER supported CAVLP.

Dr Paul Murtagh, Northlight Heritage Project Officer said: ‘It’s been an amazing experience working on the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership. We are truly privileged to have worked in such a beautiful landscape that has such a rich heritage and with some amazing and hard working volunteers.

Avonholm up river, Stonehouse, by photographer John Melvin, circa 1890 (Photo: Stonehouse Heritage Group)

‘The curation and design of an exhibition is always hard but our task has been made all the harder because of vast amount of activity that has taken place as part of CAVLP over the last five years. We’ve included as much as possible into the exhibition, to make it a real celebration of the partnership as well as making it interesting, revealing and fun for visitors. While this exhibition will highlight the best of CAVLP it is only really a snap shot of all the fantastic work that has been carried out here.’

Lucy Cascot, head of Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland added: ‘Our species and habitats are under constant threat, yet they make a massive contribution to our economy. The enormous pressures upon them mean that we have to approach landscape restoration and conservation on a bigger scale than ever before.

‘Thanks to funding from the National Lottery, the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership is one of ten Landscape Partnerships currently underway in Scotland. It’s bringing real cohesion to the natural and built heritage of the Clyde and Avon Valley with a diverse range of fascinating projects and activities. I would urge everyone to get involved, to uncover, cherish and have fun with the heritage that is yours.’

An online version of the exhibition will be available for those unable to access the exhibition in person, by clicking HERE.

The exhibition is free and will be open daily until Sunday 18 March, 10am-5pm.