The structures of two areas, one in the Northern Belt and one in the Central Belt of the Southern Uplands are described and compared. The main structural histories are the same, both show a main deformation phase related to SE-directed thrusting with associated fold and cleavage formation. Both areas exhibit late, minor NW-directed thrusting with related refolding and crenulation cleavage development in the case of the Central Belt. Both areas also show evidence of sinistral strike-slip or transpressive deformation which reactivates steepened thrust faults. When these deformation histories are reviewed in the context of geophysical, radiometric and biostratigraphical data from the region a forearc accretionary setting for the whole of the Southern Uplands appears the most likely. The strike-slip deformation has internally disrupted an accretionary prism but has not juxtaposed originally unrelated terranes. The effects of the late Silurian closure of Iapetus and subsequent events are also represented in the Southern Uplands.