An archaeological survey

In 2009, Rathmell Archaeology undertook an archaeological survey of two farmsteads in Limerigg Forest. This informed Forestry Commission Scotland's interpretation and future conservation of the buildings.

The remains of a doorway that was blocked up.

limerigg archaelogical survey

The survey identified both buildings as 19th century, suggesting they were rebuilt because map evidence dates the farms as older.The survey produced plans for each farmstead.


At Blackrigg, the remains do not survive to a significant height but the survey identified the layout of the farmstead, including a round feature thought to be a horse-gang. This horse-powered drive mechanism usually powered a mill or threshing machine for crops.

However, the 1864 Ordnance Survey map labelled a similar feature nearby as a churning machine presumably used in the production of butter or cheese. Dairy farming was a major source of income in the parish, so it may be that the horse gang at Blackrigg is also a churning machine.


At Drumclair, the survey also produced elevation drawings of the upstanding walls. Close examination of a building can identify and date changes made over the life of a building. For example, the survey identified that the barn was once larger than it stands today.

Evidence for mining was also found, including large slag heaps (waste from the mining process), and traces of the old mineral railways, which transported coal from pits to the collieries.