Lower Nethan Gorge

Lower Nethan Gorge reserve is one of the best examples of semi-natural woodland still surviving in the Clyde Valley. Rich ash and elm woodland grows on the steep slopes, supporting a wide variety of plants and animals, including green woodpeckers, otters and badgers.

A path, which is steep in places and has steps, runs through the reserve.

This reserve is part of the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership and the Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve.

Common hawthorn © Catherine Lee

Why visit?

  • Woodland walks
  • Gorge views
  • Birdwatching

Best time to visit?

  • Apr to Jun for woodland flowers
  • Autumn for spectacular colours

Visit for:

  • Mammals
  • Scenery
  • Geology
  • Wildflowers
  • Woodlands
  • Birdwatching


The reserve follows the River Nethan from the A72 in the small village of Crossford, approximately four miles west north west of Lanark. Park in the public car park in Crossford.

Getting onto the reserve

From the car park, walk north along the A72 to the reserve entrance, which is located beside Nethan Bridge. The reserve path runs between Crossford (by the bridge) and Craignethan Castle, Tillietudlem.

Getting round this reserve

An unsurfaced linear path is maintained between the Crossford entrance and Craignethan Castle. The path is steep in places, with long flights of steps at both ends. Beware steep cliffs and old mine workings close to the path; please stay on the path and keep dogs on a lead.


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