Clydesdale is a traditional description of the upper reaches of the valley of the River Clyde. It was also a district council area which existed from 1980 to 1996. It was one of 19 district councils that delivered a range of local level services within the wider area of Strathclyde Region, which from 1975 to 1996 was one of the 12 regions into which Scotland was divided. From 1975 to 1980 what became Clydesdale District was known as Lanark District.
Clydesdale was one of the five district council areas within the Lanark sub-region of Strathclyde, and its area had previously formed a small part of the traditional county of Lanarkshire. The result was a large district that included the settlements of Biggar, Lanark and Douglas, as well as the remote upland areas beyond Abington and around Leadhills. Clydesdale was bordered by the districts of Cumnock & Doon Valley, East Kilbride, Hamilton and Motherwell in Strathclyde; plus the West Lothian District of Lothian, the Tweeddale District in Scottish Borders, and the Annandale & Eskdale and the Nithsdale Districts in Dumfries & Galloway.
When regions and districts disappeared from the scene in a major reorganisation of Scottish local government in 1996, the district council area of Clydesdale became a large part of the unitary council area of South Lanarkshire, one of the 32 unitary council areas into which Scotland has since been divided.