FREE GUIDED HERITAGE TOUR around our community on Sunday 12 March

ckcastleChris Kane is the Chair of both Braehead & Broomridge Community Development Trust and Braehead Community Council.  In 2017, he’ll be publishing a regular series of blogs on what both organisations are doing within our community.  

How much do you know about the history of Braehead and Broomridge?  One of the problems of living near to the Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle is that our city’s national and internationally important heritage can often overshadow the fascinating stories found all around us.  I”m hopefully going to remedy a little of that on Sunday with a free guided history walk around the area.   I’ll be joined by Stirling Council’s Archaeologist Dr Murray Cook to talk about the different elements of our community heritage that make up the Braehead & Broomridge Heritage Trail.

I was part of the team that researched and wrote much of the content for the Stirling Heritage Trails;  a series of eight walking trails around different Stirling communities that you can access at www.stirlingheritagetrails.co.uk

We’ll start by crossing the railway, a feature that has divided our community since it first cut through the landscape in 1848.  We’ll find out how Stirling changed because of the people and the industry that came with the trains.

the Millhall Bing in the early 1950s
the Millhall Bing in the early 1950s

We’ll find out more about the many mineshafts that criscross the ground 160 metres under your feet.   In 1902 Archibald Russell Ltd began to sink shafts into the ground, the first deep mine shafts in the area.  They had a licence to dig on the grounds of “Polmaise and Tochadam Estate”, which is why the mines around here were known as the Polmaise Pits.  Polmaise 1 & 2 opened at Millhall in 1904 and closed in 1958.  The village of Fallin grew up around Polmaise 3 & 4, which didn’t close until 1987. On our tour we’ll see the all that remains of the pit buildings and bing at Millhall.

While the Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre is the best place to learn about the events of 1314, walking around Braehead and Broomridge is the place to be to walk the land where the armies of Edward and Bruce clashed.  On 23rd June as the English army approached Bannockburn, there were a few skirmishes at the Borestone before the forces of Edward II made camp for the night.  Their camp is most likely to have been near to what remains of the Millhall bing.  The decisive battle on the 24th June is likely to have taken place either on the land now occupied by the houses of Wallace Park, or on the area now filled by Bannockburn High School and Firs Crescent.  Next time you walk to the Co-Op, just think that 702 years ago you would have been surrounded by clashing swords, thundering horses hooves and men screaming in pain or screaming with adrenaline as they fought for their lives.

We’ll talk about the Balquihidderock Wood, all that remains locally of the great Caledonian Forest that once covered much of the country.  And we’ll talk about farming and the house building that has created the communities of Braehead and Broomridge in the last forty years.

Our walk starts at 11am and should be finished by 1pm-ish.  Meet at Braehead Community Garden.  The walk is free and open to everybody (including children).  If you’ve time at the end, you’ll also be able to have a wander around the Community Garden and see its many facilities.  It would be remiss of me to not mention that memberships are available for 2017!  If its raining on Sunday, Murray and I will give a short talk on the heritage trail in the Community Garden’s Events Polytunnel.

If you can’t make it, you can find out more about the Braehead & Broomridge Heritage Trail and download a leaflet to help you walk it on your own, by clicking on the “heritage section” here on the Braehead & Broomridge website.