Tales from the forest

Inspiration, stories and an insider's glimpse into the world of Scotland's forests

Postcards from a travelling archaeologist: Achnamara

To celebrate the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, we asked our archaeologist ‘Travelling’ Matt to send us postcards from his fieldwork around the country.

Over the course of the year, Matt has promised to send us a postcard from some of the amazing places he finds himself in, describing the archaeology and talking to the Forestry Rangers who care for it.

Last time Matt was playing the Timeline Tournament in Culbokie on the Black Isle – but a new postcard has just arrived!

travelling matt clapper bridge text

"Hi guys,

This week I’m down in Knapdale in Argyll, where an amazing ‘clapper’ bridge needs a bit of TLC.

The foot bridge crosses the Barnagad Burn at Achnamara. It’s pretty basic – just two long slabs (known as ‘clappers’) resting on three drystone piers. But it’s also pretty old – it was probably built over 300 years ago – and some important stones are missing.

For a simple bridge it has some complex challenges, so I’ve been discussing the repairs with local foresters John, Jo and Andrew. It’s their job to make sure it all goes to plan – no pressure guys!

Matt"

clapper bridge in knapdale

Try it yourself

To get a good idea of how the bridge was built, why not download Matt’s Very Archaeological Cut Out (PDF 2.1MB) to build at home, in your classroom or at your youth group.

clapper bridge paper cutout model

 
Need a helping hand putting it together? Watch our short video on creating your very own cut out bridge below.

Where is Matt heading next?

We're looking forward to hearing from Matt on his next trip, as he heads to the Borders to climb a very special hill fort.

 

Find out about other archaeological sites to visit in and around Scotland's forests or let us know your favourite historical site to explore!


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