December 19, 2010

David Livingstone Centre Landscape Masterplan

South Lanarkshire
Greenspace for Learning & Play, Integrated Habitat Network, Landscape Action, Recreation & Active Travel, Woodland Creation
CSGN Development Fund
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Lead Partners:
David Livingstone Trust
Forestry Commission Scotland, National Trust for Scotland, South Lanarkshire Council
Download Case Study


The David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire celebrates the life and legacy of one of Scotland's most celebrated historical figures. The heart of the centre is a museum created in the house where Livingstone was born. It sits in 11ha of formal lawns, meadow and woodland on the edge of the River Clyde.

Project background

Working in partnership with South Lanarkshire Council and the National Trust for Scotland, the David Livingstone Trust is seeking to reinvigorate the estate landscape with the core goal of encouraging more visitors to visit the museum.

Landscape Architects ERZ were commissioned to develop a masterplan for the project. Its main objective was to 'unpack the museum' into the landscape, creating a centre for exploration and education.

How the project was delivered

The masterplan recommends the use of existing pathways to form a framework for new access into the grounds of the David Livingstone Centre. It suggests that access into the neighbouring Plantation Woods should also be developed to create a new three mile long 'Zambezi Trail'. New woodland planting will support this new path network and will enhance the biodiversity of this site of scientific interest. Unique landscape features, such as old quarries, burn crossings and ruins will also be carefully opened up and brought back to life to create a unique visitor destination.

The Masterplan recommends the development of a natural play area that can be used by locals and by museum visitors as an outdoor play and learning resource. The designs for the play area draw on the industrial scale and geometry of the cotton mills, as well as the the aesthetic of the wider landscape of the river valley. They are also inspired by building techniques used in Malawian vernacular architecture, as a reference to Livingstone's travels in Africa.

Project outcomes

The recommendations made in the Masterplan will contribute toward:

Improved Access to Greenspace: By opening up traditional routes and creating new ones, local people and visitors to the area will benefit from better access to greenspace.

Healthier Children: The play area will be an ideal environment for children to improve physical strength. It also encourages the development of risk perception and encourages them to engage with and explore the natural environment.

Increased Tourism: The realisation of the master plan will enhance the visitor experience and improve a landscape of international importance, increasing visitor numbers and providing a boost to the local economy.


The David Livingstone Centre Landscape Masterplan was nominated in the Place Making / Master Planning category of the 2013 Scottish Design Awards.

CSGN Support and Learning

The CSGN Development Fund directly contributed towards the development of The David Livingstone Centre Landscape Masterplan.

The Masterplan provides a holistic approach which will help realise the vision of creating a flagship project of historical, cultural and environmental importance within the area. This will help drive the development forward in a sustainable and integrated manner.

As well as the natural play area, the Master Plan includes designs for new planting and path networks. It is anticipated that this investment will help to create a dynamic new visitor hub for the Clyde Valley, strategically located to benefit the entire area.

Future development of project

Following the publication of the Masterplan, the David Livingstone Trust secured CSGN funding for the development of the natural play area (CSGN223). CSGN funding will also help build improved connections to the train station, the Clyde Walkway, Redlees Quarry, Bothwell, Blantyre and other Clyde Valley attractions (CSGN430).

 The project partners are also working with Liber8 to engage a group of local teenagers in the development of a garden as part of the John Muir Awards Programme.

 Further site developments will include the creation of key spaces for events, orientation, shelter and viewpoints along the riverside. Art works, such as life-size elephant sculptures, will create landmarks and a new arboretum will be established to celebrate the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Funding Details:

Year Fund Value
2010 CSGN Development Fund 10,800
2011 CSGN Development Fund 132,820
2012 CSGN Development Fund 200,798

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