Strathaven Heritage Trail 1

Aim for the Top!

This heritage trail was developed by Gordon McAllan and Margot McDonald. They are both trustees on the Strathaven John Hastie Museum Trust. The Trust was established following the closure of the John Hastie Museum a number of years ago with the primary objective of establishing a permanent museum in and for Strathaven.

The heritage trail also appears on its website at http://www.discoverstrathaven.org. The Discover Strathaven website holds all the information you will need about events, festivals, activities and businesses in Strathaven.

A shortened version of this trail appears on the new Strathaven InsideOut app. For more details on the App and to find out how to download it, go to https://www.insideoutapp.co.uk. The App was developed by the Stand Agency in conjunction with the Strathaven John Hastie Museum Trust using funds from the 2019 Scottish Government Town Centre Fund.

All contemporary images in this heritage trail were taken by Les Hoggan and are copyright to Les Hoggan Photography. For more images go to www.leshogganphotography.com

This heritage trail follows a route taking in many of the historic features of central Strathaven.

Start at the entrance to the Main Car Park (3 Hour maximum stay – or Long Stay at Station Road) in The Common Green. 

From Bridge Street looking back to the car par entrance where this walk starts

Face the Strathaven Tea Room, across The Common Green.

Strathaven Tearoom

Cross carefully, using the traffic island, to that far side of The Common Green.

Tudor Coffee House

Turn and walk along the pavement towards The Tudor Coffee House, then turn left into Bridge Street. 

Bridge Street

Follow Bridge Street, crossing the end of Waterside Street at the Boo Backit Bridge (but don’t cross it) and walk up to the major road junction, opposite Strathaven Castle. Turn left uphill on Castle Street.  As the road bends left round the car park, you are walking through one of the oldest parts of Strathaven, named Sandknowe.  

Strathaven Castle

You will see big iron gates, the former entrance to the oldest of Strathaven’s graveyards, adjacent to the site of St Mary’s Chapel, the earliest-known church, believed to have been established in the year 1001. Castle Street used to have old cottages on both sides, a gaol (the building was also used as a school) and the Claverhouse Inn.  Most were originally thatched.  Many buildings were demolished during last century. 

Old entrance to Strathaven Cemetery

Just as Castle Street begins to curve right, there’s a recess in the graveyard’s high stone wall.  This was the site, marked by a monument, of the home of James “Purlie” Wilson, a much-respected Strathaven man who was executed in Glasgow in 1820 for his political opinions.  You can read about him in a feature in this App. (level 1 link)

The James ‘Purlie’ Wilson memorial

Now take care and cross to the other side of the road, just past where Castle Street becomes North Street.  You have reached Pathfoot and you will now climb the steep path which will take you to the entrance to Strathaven’s graveyards.

Take a deep breath and climb the stairway to Strathaven’s War Memorial

Towards Kirk Street from Kirkhill

You are now standing on the summit of Kirkhill, Strathaven’s finest viewpoint.

To the east lies that other great Lanarkshire viewpoint, Tinto Hill, some 20 miles away in Upper Clydesdale.

Tinto from the Duck Pond in Strathaven

Below you, you are looking down upon The Strathaven Town Mill Arts & Heritage Centre and Strathaven Castle. 

Strathaven Castle
Strathaven Town Mill Art and Heritage Centre

Most of modern Strathaven lies around the south, the west and the north of the Hill, which was built up over many centuries.  There was a story that it was a military development to enable troops to bombard the Castle, but reliable evidence for that is hard to find.  It’s clear, however, that the shape of the Hill was altered long ago.

Kirkhill and the War Memorial

You will easily spot the spires of Avendale Parish Church, of the former East Church just below you and Trinity Church, with Strathaven Academy just beyond.

From the War Memorial

To the far west, there is the dramatic outline of Loudon Hill, a volcanic plug formed in an eruption some 500 million years ago.

Loudoun Hill and the War Memorial

The War Memorial was founded just after the First World War and later had further names added to commemorate also those who fell during World War 2.

Time to move on, now.

Walk down the stairway and take the broad road downhill from the gate to join North Street again, heading over the rise and curving down to meet Commercial Road, keeping the grassy hill and trees to your right..

Opposite is Overton Road and on the corner there’s a very handsome stone house.  It wasn’t always there – in fact, it was moved, stone by stone, from another part of Strathaven, a part you already know.  Find out where!  

The former bank building at the junction with Overton Road

Walk on up Commercial Road.  It is joined by Hamilton Road on your left, but you keep straight on, into Glassford Road, which leads to the village of Glassford, 2 miles away.  Don’t worry!  You need to walk just a few metres more to find yourself in the former weaving village of Flemington.

Old weavers cottages at Flemington

Cross over to the other pavement and admire the old weavers’ cottages, little changed externally since they were built in the late 18th Century.  Long before Strathaven became a very busy weaving town with industrial weaving factories, weavers worked their looms in their own homes.

Old weavers cottages at Flemington

Flemington has another claim to fame.  It was the site of the terminus of the first railway to Strathaven.  The Station with its passenger and goods facilities lay behind the weavers’ cottages.

(Pic Levels 1 + 3).

Now, let’s turn back towards Strathaven itself, choosing the left hand side of Glassford Road and Commercial Road.  Follow Commercial Road all the way to the traffic lights at the junction with Barn Street and Glasgow Road.  Cross safely and turn right on Glasgow Road, glancing along the front gardens of the Weavers’ cottages ahead, where the mill lade used to flow, then turn left into Chapel Road. 

Chapel Road

Chapel Road leads a short distance downhill, enabling you to see that Strathaven weaving grew into a full industry in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries.  Weavers became employees of the mill companies and worked together in industrial premises, using much larger looms than before.  Kilwuddie Mill, built in 1888, was just one of Strathaven’s major factories, on your right.  Some parts of the factory (closed in 1974) survive, though its big chimney has gone. (Pics + Level 3)

Walk back up to Glasgow Road and turning right opposite the East Church House, consecrated as a “Relief Church) in 1777 to enable worship by members of Avendale Parish Church, where the congregation was overflowing.  Worship here ended only recently.

East Church House

Make your way towards the Town Centre, crossing the Powmillon on Walker’s Bridge and heading up Green Street.  At The Weaver’s Inn, built on the site of the old Crown Hotel, use the traffic lights to cross Lethame Road and Townhead Street safely.

The Weavers at the junction with Lethame Road

Walk up the left hand side of Townhead Street until you reach Thomson Street.  Facing you is the West Church, built in 1835 (now The Epicentre  level 2).

Against the churchyard wall there is a large wooden bench.  At the height of the weaving industry in Strathaven, this was the location for discussion and debate among the weavers, who gathered there during their lunch hours.  These meetings became known as The Weavers’ Parliament

The Weavers Parliament

Walk up Thomson Street until you come to Dunlop Street, on your right.  The open space adjacent to the corner of these streets was the site of the knitwear factory of John Frew and Sons, opened in 1891.  Major developments often took place in the UK’s weaving industry and overseas. It was hard to keep up with the frequent need for more modern and costly machinery.  Frew’s factory closed in 1961.

Dunlop Street and the old factory

Thomson Street ends at its junction with Kirk Street.  Turn left, downhill, passing the old Sun Inn on the other side, until you reach Main Street, at the Old Cross, Even as late as the middle of the 18thCentury, many streets in Strathaven were as narrow as this one.  It was known as Wide Close!

The former Sun Inn.
Main Street, Strathaven

Thomson Street ends at its junction with Kirk Street.  Turn left, downhill, passing the old Sun Inn on the other side, until you reach Main Street, at the Old Cross, Even as late as the middle of the 18thCentury, many streets in Strathaven were as narrow as this one.  It was known as Wide Close!

At the foot of Main Street, you will find yourself back in The Common Green, where you began this walk.

The Common Green, Strathaven

We hope that you have enjoyed it!

If you’d like to know more about Strathaven and its heritage, please contact The Strathaven John Hastie Museum Trust by leaving a message at http://www.strathavenmuseum.org, email us at strathsavenmuseum@gmail.com or look us up on our Facebook page.