Scottish Wildlife Trust Lower Nethan Gorge

Stunning woodland clinging to the steep Nethan Gorge

Filed under Nature Reserves

One of the best examples of semi-natural woodland surviving in the Clyde and Avon valley can be found clinging to the steep sides of Scottish Wildlife Trust Lower Nethan Gorge Wildlife Reserve, part of the Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve (NNR).

A steep path running through the woodland in parallel with the River Nethan which joins the River Clyde at Crossford, links the village to Craignethan Castle - a fortification built in the 16th century and cared for by Historic Environment Scotland. Be amazed by the breath-taking views over the gorge as you follow the path. You can continue further west to Upper Nethan Gorge from here too.

  • Huge Boletus Toadstool at Lower Nethan Gorge

    Huge Boletus Toadstool at Lower Nethan Gorge

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  • Beneath the craigs at Lower Nethan Gorge

    Beneath the craigs at Lower Nethan Gorge

  • Common Frog at Lower Nethan Gorge

    Common Frog at Lower Nethan Gorge

  • Entering Lower Nethan Gorge from Craignethan Castle

    Entering Lower Nethan Gorge from Craignethan Castle

  • Descending through the gorge from Craignethan Castle

    Descending through the gorge from Craignethan Castle

  • View over Lower Nethan Gorge and the River Mouse, tributary to the River Clyde

    View over Lower Nethan Gorge and the River Mouse, tributary to the River Clyde

  • Improved access through Lower Nethan Gorge

    Improved access through Lower Nethan Gorge

  • Huge Boletus Toadstool at Lower Nethan Gorge
  • Beneath the craigs at Lower Nethan Gorge
  • Common Frog at Lower Nethan Gorge
  • Entering Lower Nethan Gorge from Craignethan Castle
  • Descending through the gorge from Craignethan Castle
  • View over Lower Nethan Gorge and the River Mouse, tributary to the River Clyde
  • Improved access through Lower Nethan Gorge

People managed these woodlands sustainably for a long time through coppicing. In the 19th century, this industry was replaced by coal mining, which has since disappeared. If you look closely, evidence for mining remains but nature has reclaimed the gorge.

The woodlands burst into colour with woodland flowers such as wood anemone and common hawthorn in late spring and early summer, and look spectacular in their autumn colours. The woodlands are also home to ravens, woodpeckers and a variety of insects and plants. See if you can spot a red squirrel!

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South Lanarkshire Council TV Walkways: Nethan Gorge