But now a plan to extend a nearby quarry towards the much-loved Falls of Clyde in Lanarkshire has brought community groups and environmental campaigners into conflict with a powerful multinational.
In late November, global cement company Cemex lodged a long- anticipated planning application with South Lanarkshire Council. If approved, this would see its existing Hyndford Quarry extended and a further 3.6 million tonnes of sand and gravel mined over a six year period.
However, the mooted extension would cut into both the Falls Of Clyde Designed Landscape and the buffer zone to the New Lanark World Heritage Site. These are official designations of national and international importance respectively, and in theory carry planning protections to match.
In response to the planning application, pressure group Save Our Landscapes (SOL) has amassed a 7000-signature petition and gathered 1000 letters of objection covering every postcode in the council area. The closing date for submissions is Friday, with a decision expected in the spring.
"It is essential that this area is protected from a predatory multinational company," said group chairman Professor Mark Stephens. "The protective designations that the area enjoys must be honoured and enforced."
SOL dismisses the economic case for the quarry extension as "weak" and rejects Cemex's claim the restoration plan for the project will eventually enhance the area. Moreover, it fears Scotland's reputation for safeguarding its own heritage will be harmed if the project is allowed, as will the long-term prospects for tourism. Professor Stephens said: "We believe it'll be deeply damaging to the economy because of the damage that will be done to the reputation of New Lanark and the Falls of Clyde. That's a reputation built up over a long period and it's capable of being lost so quickly."
The Falls Of Clyde are a series of four spectacular "linns" or waterfalls, which run down the Clyde Valley to New Lanark, the celebrated model village built in the 18th century and now one of Scotland's five Unesco World Heritage sites.
About 400,000 people visit New Lanark every year, while the Falls Of Clyde attract 70,000.
Wordsworth praised the "astounding flood" of the "beneficent" Clyde in a verse included in his 1803 collection Memorials Of A Tour In Scotland.
Turner visited in 1834 and sketched several views of the Falls, one of which became the spectacular 1840 oil painting The Falls Of Clyde, now held in Liverpool's Lady Lever Art Gallery. In the late 1960s, artist and author Alasdair Gray was commissioned by the owner of a pub near new Lanark to paint a mural of the Falls. The 25ft-long work was eventually painted over but was subsequently rediscovered, and in 2009 Gray returned to the pub to embark on a 10-day restoration project.
In his 2010 autobiography, A Life In Pictures, he recalled the day he first visited the area to paint the work.
"It was," he wrote, "one of the rare weekends when the dam serving Bonnington power station is raised. This lets the the whole river plunge over Bonnington Linn ... Thus I had seen these as they had been when famous in history before the power station came in the 1920s."
He added: "I had seen them as Coleridge, the Wordsworths, Turner and most Scottish landscape painters saw them. I wanted to put all this good scenery into my mural."
Cemex UK did not respond to a request for comment.