Where it all began…
Along the upper reaches of the River Nith in Southern Scotland, the legacy of coal and other mining lies dotted across the landscape.
Crawick is no exception, and was home to an open cast coal mine in decades past. It did not produce enough black gold to continue digging, and so operations ceased in, leaving the site abandoned.
Landowner The Duke of Buccleuch explored options for restoration of the vast 55 acre site and saw huge potential. And so he committed £1 million to an ambitious project to take the derelict site and put it back on the map as a world-class artland and visitor attraction.
In 2005, The Duke of Buccleuch invited the world-renowned landscape artist Charles Jencks to the site and reviewed its potential not only for restoration, but a total transformation. At first glance he saw what he described as ‘dull ground, rocks…the end of nature’, but as he studied the site he saw a wealth of exciting possibilities.
Instead of seeing an industrial wasteland, he saw the bones of a marvellous ecology.
The terrain offered a ready-made meadow, a desert, a gorge and a brook. The dropping of excess slag had even created a ridge which offered panoramic views of the beautiful surrounding valleys. This, coupled with the breathtaking wider landscape, helped Jencks’ vision take shape.
Work commenced in 2012, and as machinery arrived on sire for the first time in many years, tonnes of earth and some 2,000 boulders were excavated, heralding a new phase in the development. These materials were incorporated into the design and make it the distinctive landmark it is today.
Crawick Multiverse is born
In 2015 Crawick Multiverse was ready to open to the public for the first time. The site links the themes of space, astronomy and cosmology with a network of paths navigating features and landforms representing the sun, universes, galaxies, black holes, comets and more. This beautiful and inspiring landscape has something for everyone from art enthusiasts and scientists to the wider community. Today, the site is cared for the Crawick Artland Trust, a charity registered in Scotland. By visiting, you’ll help us maintain the site for future generations to enjoy.
Community and public launches
Crawick launched with a spectacular week of events in June 2015. First came the community preview event, where local schools, pipe bands and choirs all came together to experience the Multiverse. This was followed by a spectacular launch event that saw sculpted costume, dance-theatre, poetry and over 30 performers taking the audience on a truly unique journey through space and time.
To date, Crawick Multiverse has welcomed almost 9,000 paying visitors during the season, with many more enjoying the site over autumn and winter. Whether your interests lie in art, science, cosmology, walking or simply looking for new experiences, there’s so much to be discovered at Crawick.
Crawick Multiverse will continue to evolve in the future. A new installation will come in 2016, as will a spectacular summer solstice celebration from 24th-26th June.