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  • History and Archaeology at Balloch Wood Community Project,Creetown, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
    sandpit Hill top forts mark a time c 300BC when Celtic warriors invaded the area More recently the area was a hotbed of Covenanting activity in the 17th century and caves on the nearby coast are reputed to have been used for smuggling in the 18th and 19th as related in Sir Walter Scott s tale of Dirk Hatterick in his novel Guy Mannering In Creetown and the surrounding area a range of industries were developed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries which are central to the area s history and the growth of the local population who found work in these industries Especially important was the quarrying and shipping of high quality local granite Many of these and other tales can be further explored in Creetown Heritage Museum on the high street of Creetown village Balloch Wood itself or Ballochanamour as it is called on some historical maps also has a wide range of interesting historic and archaeological features for the visitor to explore since the wood has long played an important role in the parish of Kirkmabreck While the exact age of the forest is hard to precisely determine it has certainly existed since the mid eighteenth century if not before and there are several very old trees notably a Beech Tree on the pond trail and a rowan near the ponds From the mid 18th century onwards a range of industries were also located in the woodland The Balloch Burn was central to many of these including a waulk mill and a sawmill but there was also a lead and shot business and a gravel and sand quarries within the boundaries of the wood Remains of these industries a farm steading and also some unidentified remains can still be found today Moving further back in time local

    Original URL path: http://www.creetown-walks.co.uk/history-archaeology-creetown.asp (2016-02-10)
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  • The Chalybeate Well at Balloch Wood,Creetown, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
    Walk there is a Chalybeate or Red Well Chalybeate refers to any water that contains iron salts while the name Red Well refers to the red water that seeps from the well due to the high iron or rust contents Early in the 17th century chalybeate water was said to have health giving properties and many people have promoted its qualities At one point it is reputed that this was

    Original URL path: http://www.creetown-walks.co.uk/history-chalybeate-well.asp (2016-02-10)
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  • The Old Curling Ponds at Balloch Wood Community Project,Creetown, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
    local community to be made into curling ponds by the late James Caird owner of Cassencarie estate until his death in 1892 Digging of the pond and the surrounding designed landscape was done by voluntary labour with the retaining bank made from the dug out material Since winters were more severe then than they are now two months of severe frost would not be uncommon causing all work to come to a halt A large wooden hut was also built on the side of the pond to hold the curling stones many of which were from stone quarried on Ailsa Craig The high bank was planted with rhododendrons in order to provide shelter to the pond Every summer the pond would be drained in order to cut weeds and other growth and at other times it was an ideal spawning ground for tadpoles and frogs Curling was popular with both men and women and the people of Creetown played curling here and at Cassencarie loch during winter when the water froze over Although outdoor curling was a popular activity due to the vagaries of the weather the Curling Club decided in 1945 to play on an indoor rink in Ayr

    Original URL path: http://www.creetown-walks.co.uk/history-curling-ponds.asp (2016-02-10)
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  • Balloch Wood Community Project & The Forestry Commission Scotland
    tree planting undertaken during the 1960s predominantly of conifers including Sitka Spruce Douglas Firs Larch and Norwegian Spruce to the east of the wood is likely to be the first time grazed land had been planted for hundreds of years At this time the woodland consisted of 4 acres of bare plantable land 38 acres of high forest 24 acres of scrub 171 acres of felled and devastated land and 1 acre of unplantable land However timber production has never been a major consideration of forestry commission activity in the woodland largely due to practical difficulties with extracting wood timber from the forest The current design plan identifies Balloch Wood as a Natural Reserve that employs low impact forest management regimes with greater emphasis placed on recreation wildlife and landscape considerations The primary objectives of the current forestry management plan include restoring sections of Balloch Wood to broadleaf woodland and improving public access and formal recreation in Balloch Wood from Creetown with secondary aims of maintaining views from main and minor public roads and producing timber Clear felling is not proposed and the working forest will retain permanent tree canopy cover in most places The re stocking plans include areas

    Original URL path: http://www.creetown-walks.co.uk/history-forestry-commission.asp (2016-02-10)
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  • How Old is Balloch Wood? ,Creetown, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
    that by the mid 18th century this area was almost certainly wooded After the Jacobite rising of 1745 the Roy Map was put together to identify new locations for military roads The area south of Ferrytown of Cree on the lower slopes of the surrounding hills and adjacent to an unnamed burn the Balloch Burn is shown as woodland before opening out higher up the slopes into unenclosed cultivation and open moorland By 1763 the military road known locally as the Corse of Slakes plain of the extensive moorland was built east of Creetown following the line of the Balloch Burn This road still exists and cuts through the top and bottom parts of Balloch Wood at the location of the wildlife ponds Later in the 18th century there is a range of evidence suggesting this area was wooded The Old Statistical Account of 1794 notes this stretch of coastline as a pleasant stage in Scotland the whole being diversified with woods gentlemen s seats and beautiful inclosures hills rising on the one hand the bay on the other Heron wrote during his journey through the West of Scotland in the 1790s that along the skirts of the hills on the east side of the Cree and Wigton Bay there is much natural wood and that hills are fringed in many places with underwood hazels furze and rising oaks and birches The Ainslie map 1797 corroborates this showing woodlands on the lower coastal slopes south of Creetown and spanning both sides of an unnamed burn the Balloch Burn south of the Old Military Road By the middle of the 19th century the New Statistical Account for Scotland says that there are considerable forests of natural wood in this parish especially upon the banks of Kirkdale and Cassencarie These forests extend

    Original URL path: http://www.creetown-walks.co.uk/history-how-old.asp (2016-02-10)
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  • Woodland walks and wildlife ponds at Balloch Wood Community Project,Creetown, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
    a carpet mill was located on the edges of the wood and Creetown village and a grain mill in Creetown village was fed by water running down a lade from the Balloch Burn A lead mine was located on the steep sides of the burn in Balloch Wood between 1862 and 1864 yielding 11 tons of lead ore and the area where the wildlife ponds are now and where the curling ponds were previously was a sand and gravel pit Timber from the wood was used for local buildings furniture and many other uses although there is evidence from the late 18th century that peat provided the principle source of fuel The early editions of Ordnance Survey maps in the mid 19th century show some evidence of settlement in Balloch Wood although the potential for this was naturally limited by the steeply wooded valleys Archaeological remains are confined to the less steep formerly unwooded parts of Balloch Wood Just north of the ford not far from the location of the also by now ruined waulk mill there are ruins marked of what were presumably farm buildings The main steading is called Ballochanamour the same name as is given to the woodland at this time meaning pass of the trough or hollow place and another smaller one higher up the hillside surrounded by a curvilinear dyke was presumably a pre improvement farmstead By the turn of the century the former farmsteads appear to have been converted into small enclosures Both the waulk mill and the remains of Ballochamour have been identified as places or archaeological interest The bridge where the Old Military Road crosses the Balloch Burn near the current wildlife ponds was marked Billy s Bridge on eighteenth century maps after Billy Marshall who had a camp near the bridge Marshall was known as the Galloway Tinker renowned for both leading Bonnie Prince Charlie across the sands for making a living from holding up travellers through the area and for living until age 120 during which time local legend has it that he married 17 times By the end of the century the bridge had been modernised and simply renamed the Balloch Bridge although it is not known exactly when The Corse of Slakes or Old Military Road itself was built in the mid eighteenth century following a time of general unrest and Jacobite rebellion in various parts of the country in the earlier 18th century The Government felt as though they required better communications with all parts of the country including Galloway which they felt was impenetrable and they also wanted easier access for troops travelling to Ireland via Portpatrick The potential for a road was surveyed in 1757 and built by the military in 1763 4 The men were closely supervised and were expected to build 1 2 yards per day depending on the type of ground on which they were working They started work at 3am and finished at 1pm and it appears that some worked for

    Original URL path: http://www.creetown-walks.co.uk/history-industry-settlements.asp (2016-02-10)
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  • Woodland Sawmills - Balloch Wood Community Project,Creetown, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
    There is anecdotal evidence that there was a sawmill located adjacent to Balloch Bridge and near the ponds in the 1930s and 40s Local man Willie John Farrell tells what he remembers of this time Tree felling started around 1940 by James Davidson and his family who lived on site with other workers the horsemen and families in wooden huts Work would start at 7am with half an hour for lunch and finished at 5pm noon on a Saturday with Sundays free Tea was brewed in syrup tins over the fire where there was no danger of fire spreading There were a great number of squirrels in the wood at this time and they used to steal the bread from lunch bags Unfortunately this was a risky business and many squirrel drays were killed when the trees were felled Axes and cut saws were used to fell the trees since chain saws were not yet invented with two men pulling the saws backwards and forwards at the base of the tree The sawmill used a 10 HP engine wood burner and drove three saws Trees were brought in to the sawmill by two horses using pole wagons with the horses also stabled near the ponds A horse was drowned on one occasion in Balloch Burn when a part of the bank gave way and the wagon and horse fell into a deep pool On another occasion a spark from the sawmill chimney set fire to dry bracken and destroyed a number of wooden huts A section of sawn wood was used to lay down a tram way for the extraction of the wood from the forest Two wooden bridges also had to be built across the Balloch Burn simply by laying down heavy strong trees and covering them with sod

    Original URL path: http://www.creetown-walks.co.uk/history-sawmills.asp (2016-02-10)
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  • The Waulk Mill - Creetown Woodland walks Balloch Wood Community Project,Creetown, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
    Squirrels Climate Landscape Geology Climate Geology Landscape Poetry Stone Circle The Poetry Project The Final Haiku The Poetry Class The Wooden Roundhouse Activity Sheets How to Get Involved Contact Maps Directions Balloch Wood Videos A waulk mill powered by water from the Balloch Burn was used in the cloth making process in Creetown Weaving was a cottage industry before the industrial revolution and many waulk mills were built in the countryside Waulking or fulling is a process of making cloth thick and felted by a process of soaking beating and shrinking Cloth straight from the mill was too greasy and loose to use and had to be washed and pounded by water driven hammers to make it suitable for suits replacing the previous means of washing with soap urine and beating by hand After pounding and rinsing the cloths were stretched on racks of horizontal oak bars to dry Both rails were studded with tenterhooks L shaped nails that hooked into the cloth to keep it stretched hence the popular expression to be on tenterhooks There is also a reference to this building having been used as the dye house Early mechanised waulk mills often became the nuclei of later

    Original URL path: http://www.creetown-walks.co.uk/history-waulk-mill.asp (2016-02-10)
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web-archive-uk.com, 2016-10-25