UNESCO sites in Lanarkshire

12 January 2023

Scotland is the first country in the world to bring together all the UNESCO World heritage sites into a trail featuring 13 sites, two of which are in Lanarkshire. New Lanark World Heritage Site and Frontiers of the Roman Empire: Antonine Wall.

Antonine Wall

The most ambitious building programme ever seen in Scotland, the Antonine Wall was to be the Northern frontier of the Roman Empire in Britain but lasted only around 20 years. The structure was 60 km long and crossed the whole country from the Firth of Clyde to the Firth of Forth. Construction started around AD 142 under Emperor Antonius Pius. Shortly after he died in the year AD 161 the Antonine Wall was abandoned, and the soldiers moved south, returning to Hadrian's Wall. The wall was mostly made of layers of turf with a deep ditch on the north side. The wall was constructed by three roman legions who were stationed in Scotland, made up of around 7000 men.

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, now it offers a valuable glimpse into ancient times and beautiful views to walk in the footsteps of the Romans. Look out for the impressive sculptural gate featuring two Roman guards at the Castlecary entrance which sets the scene. The popular roman head sculpture called Silvanus (Roman God of the woods) now looks out from Nethercroy at Croy hill, one of the replica distance stones along the route.

Visitors can also see the remains of Roman forts at Barr Hill and Croy Hill, one of the longest continuous stretches of the wall at Tollpark, east of Cumbernauld Airport, and the remains of stone ramparts at Castlecary. Find out more about the history of the wall at

New Lanark

World famous visitor attraction and UNESCO World Heritage Site, this unique 18th-century cotton mill village by the stunning Falls of Clyde, has been carefully restored with a multi-award winning visitor centre. The village was designated an official UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.

The New Lanark cotton mills were founded in 1785 by David Dale. He sold the mills and the village to a partnership, including his son-in-law Robert Owen, who became the mill manager in 1800. Robert Owen shared his father-in-law's philanthropic approach and interest in social reform (Utopian socialism).

New Lanark village first rose to fame when Robert Owen was mill manager from 1800-1825. Owen transformed life in New Lanark with utopian ideas and opportunities at least a hundred years ahead of their time. Child labour and corporal punishment were abolished, and villagers were given decent homes, schools and evening classes, free health care, and affordable food. New Lanark is still a living community, and the village is in the care of an independent charity. Profits from the hotel and visitor attractions help the New Lanark Trust continue to restore and maintain the historic village.

Visitors can enjoy exhibitions of the homes of the millworkers and Robert Owen himself. The cotton mills and classrooms and stunning rooftop garden on top of one of the mill buildings are the largest in Scotland. The scenic woodland walk through the Falls of Clyde Nature reserve gives visitors a chance to see over 100 species of birds, bats, badgers and otters and the falls are widely regarded as one of Scotland's most beautiful waterfalls.

The New Lanark Mill Hotel and Waterhouse cottages offer the chance to stay in the village and enjoy the spa facilities and Mill One restaurant. You can find information about New Lanark, and to book tickets, go to

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