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Shaping the Landscape: RSPB Scotland Baron's Haugh

Created by mining subsidence, now a haven for wildlife

Ancient river systems, with origins in the Devonian (416 – 359 million years ago) and Carboniferous ages (359 – 299 million years ago), were responsible for the area’s sandstone and coal reserves, of historic importance for the economic wealth of Central Scotland.

Extensive coal mining in the area caused ground subsidence, leading to the creation of wetlands along the floodplain of the Clyde at Baron’s Haugh. The ponds, now part of the RSPB Scotland Nature Reserve, are said to be kept relatively warm in winter by inflow of water from old mine workings, making them even more attractive to visiting wildlife. In winter, resident wildfowl are joined by flocks of wintering ducks such as wigeons and whooper swans.

The ponds at Baron's Haugh are kept warm in winter by the flow of water from old mine workings, making the Nature Reserve an attractive home to wintering birds

This is just one example of how subsidence through mining impacted on the landscape of the Clyde and Avon Valley, the most notable example being the demolition of Hamilton Palace and damage to its grand Hunting Lodge.

The geological sites and features of the Clyde and Avon Valley tell a dramatic story of the development of the landscape over 400 million years, from ancient sandy streams, river deltas, swampy forests and glaciers. The rocks and rivers of this story shaped the heritage, and remain a source of power, havens for woodland and wildlife, and places of recreation and creative inspiration today.

Travel through time to reveal the hidden history in the rocks and landforms by exploring the other ‘Shaping the Landscape’ museum items below, and visiting the Shaping the Landscape Exhibition at New Lanark. Read the full report by clicking on the ‘Shaping our Landscape Trail Report’ link under ‘Find Out More’, or below. Whilst many ‘Shaping the Landscape’ sites are accessible to walkers, some sites are inaccessible, but featured as museum pieces to help demonstrate the development of the Clyde and Avon Valley.


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