Newbyres Castle – Recording the archaeology

Last Wednesday I organised the latest community workshop at Newbyres castle – a 16th century ruin in the heart of Gorebridge. The day was lead by Piers Dixon, an archaeologist from Historic Environment Scotland, who was ably helped by two colleagues – Eva Boyle and Adam Welfare. The day started with a tour of the castle and the land around. Piers speculated about what buildings might have surrounded the castle. By looking at the flat areas and man-made banks, some of which were only just discernible to the layman’s eye, we slowly built up a picture of what might have stood here once, including workshops, barns and kitchen gardens.  We then took a more detailed look at the ruins themselves …

Newbyres castle conservation

Despite the bitter cold over 20 volunteers and archaeologists turned up this week to spend a day clearing vegetation around the little-known ruin of Newbryres castle in Gorebridge town centre. Newbryres castle was ‘adopted’ by the Adopt-a-Monument Scheme run by Archaeology Scotland last Summer. Last week saw the first community volunteering day, led by myself on behalf of Gorebridge Community Development Trust  and Rebecca Barclay of Archaeology Scotland, to start conserving the remains of castle. The sun shone and we had a very enjoyable day, including a delicious home-made lunch served up by more volunteers in GCDT’s office down the road. Newbryres castle is 16th century L-plan, thee-storey tower house built by Michael Borthwick of Glengelt. He acquired the land …

Community Hub – works start

Work has started on the new £2m Community Hub in Gorebridge, Midlothian! After six years of brain storming, planning, consultations and negotiations with all the stakeholders we have finally arrived. There have been many set backs along the way mainly due to timing. We embarked on our, possibly over ambitious, project early in 2008 when funders were queuing up at the door, and we all know what happened in Autumn 2008. Gorebridge is a fairly deprived ex-mining town in the heart of Midlothian. At its centre is an attractive Georgian high street that is being eroded by the steady conversion of non-profitable shops into housing and neglect. The impetus for Gorebridge Community Development Trust, of which I am now the …

Spring in Scotland – Wooploft

Wooploft

It is Spring, or so we are told. I have had the best skiing in Scotland for a long time. Who needs the Alps. I have just returned from visiting Wooploft with two of my children to see how it fared in the Winter. Wooploft is the ‘den’ that we made with my son’s primary school class, cantilevered over the banks of Allan Water at Wooplaw Wood. It is overdue a blog. Pupils from Tynewater Primary School’s P7 class designed and built the structure last year under the auspices of International Year of the Forest, and with a grant from the Forestry Commission. The aims included to teach the children about the properties of wood, its use in buildings and …