New Lanark UNESCO site seeks garden volunteers

As the country celebrates Volunteers’ Week, (1st to 7th June 2018) New Lanark, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of international significance, is searching for Ground & Garden volunteers.  They will join a diverse team of enthusiastic helpers who assist with the regular maintenance and upkeep of two of New Lanark’s most popular attractions, the Roof Garden and Clearburn Natural Picnic and Play Area. 

Volunteers’ Week will see hundreds of events taking place across the country as part of this annual campaign, established in 1984, to recognise the contribution volunteers bring to our communities. For many charities, such as New Lanark, the week will also be a chance to showcase the range of volunteering opportunities on offer.

New Lanark is set in beautiful surroundings on the banks of the River Clyde. The unique 18th century mill village sits alongside the river, near the famous ‘Falls of Clyde’ waterfalls. It has been sympathetically restored and offers visitors a fascinating experience as they tour the recreated millworkers’ houses, historic working machinery and surrounding grounds.

One of my favourite features at New Lanark is the stunning Roof Garden – one of the areas where volunteers are needed. (pictured banner top of page). It is now almost nine years since the roof garden was first planted and some areas need revisiting. Volunteers will be asked to clear out parts that have become overgrown, replace plants which have died out and add some new ones to refresh the planting scheme. Regular weeding, dead-heading and keeping the area tidy will form some of the volunteering tasks. Nurturing the herb planters and photographing and blogging about the garden will also be needed.

Volunteers are also needed to assist with New Lanark’s Clearburn Picnic and Play area, established in 2014, to help with the upkeep of features which were designed and partially constructed by local children and volunteer groups. These include living willow and a sensory path. Again, general weeding and maintenance is needed, stocking logs and bark, regular pruning and tidying of plants etc. This area was awarded a High Commendation Award at the Scottish Civic Trust’s My Place 2015 Awards and has also been awarded ‘Best Picnic Area within a UK Heritage Location’ at the Hudsons Heritage Awards 2016 signifying its special place on the UNESCO site.

Paige Hughes, New Lanark’s World Heritage and Volunteer Officer commented: “Do you have a Green Thumb? Do you enjoy gardening but perhaps don’t have a space of your own? We are currently looking for Garden & Grounds Volunteers to assist us in maintaining our outdoor spaces, including our Rooftop Garden, and Clearburn Natural Play & Picnic Area. This will involve planting and weeding and digging. For this opportunity you will be Volunteering as part of a team and supported by our Maintenance Team. Get in touch if you would like to find out more.”

New Lanark’s ‘Volunteer Friendly’ status was renewed in May 2018. This quality standard was designed by Volunteer Dundee to support, recognise and reward groups who excel at involving volunteers.

You can find out more about garden and ground volunteering opportunities at New Lanark by visiting:

Information on Volunteers’ Week can be found at:

Picture credits: All photographs are ©New Lanark World Heritage Site.