Great Road through the Commonty
Start location: Broadside (NS 771 833)
End location: Tak ma Doon road, just south of Carron Bridge (NS 741 833)
Geographical area: Campsie Fells, Strathclyde and Lanarkshire, Stirling, Clackmannan and Falkirk
Path Type: Drove Road
Path distance: 3.2km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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Newsflash! The Heritage Paths (Campsie Fells) Project is very pleased to announce that we have a lovely Campsies map leaflet showing this old road and other paths in the area. To get your hands on one, simply send us an SAE c/o ScotWays (see address top-right) and we'll post one out to you.
East to West:
From the cross-roads of tracks and roads at Broadside Water Works, this right of way leads first of all up the tarred Water Works approach road, towards then past the principal building. Beyond the buildings, the route can be seen stretching on ahead as a muddy, rutted tractor-track, rising steadily and leading through an area of rough grass and gorse bushes. After a kilometre or so, the gradient eases off, by which point there is forest on the right / north and grassy rough grazing on the left / south. There are also good views ahead to Meikle Bin and the Carron Reservoir. Just past the highest point, where there is a cattle-feeding area, a right of way track on the right heads down to join the modern Fintry road at 'The Topps'. The way ahead continues west crossing the Faughlin Burn by a substantial stone bridge to meet the Tak ma Doon road just south of Carron Bridge.
West to East:
Starting from the Tak ma Doon road, opposite the entrance to Bentend Farm, a gated track heads west. Beyond the stone bridge over the Faughlin Burn, the path spilts. The left fork looks the major route, but take the right fork - the indistinct path follows the fence, but there is some sign of the old route. Another gate is reached and the route becomes flanked on both sides by the forestry, and although it is overgrown it is obvious as it progresses through the wood. The burn at NT750834 has cut a wide 5ft deep gorge, but this can be crossed to the right (south) where it is narrower and can be stepped over. The path suddenly improves where it obviously used as an access for forestry vehicles. The junction with the right of way on the left leading down to The Topps on the Carron Valley road (B818) is obvious. Further on, another forestry track on the left loops back to meet the Topps track, but keep heading eastwards. On leaving the forestry, the path deteriorates, but the route onwards is obvious. There is a ford shortly before reaching the metalled road, but our surveyor reports that even in spate the water can be crossed on the left (north) by stepping over.
OS Landranger 57 (Stirling & The Trossachs area) or 64 (Glasgow, Motherwell & Airdrie)
The Great Road through the Commonty to Denny by Tarduff appears on the Plan of the Division of Denny Muir (surveyed in 1800). The road is marked as being 30ft wide and at NS758836 it passes Tarduff Gate to reach Tarduff Common. The track which heads down to The Topps is also shown, and is marked as 24ft wide.
As the Road from Fintray to Falkirk and Edinbr, this route is clearly shown on the Roy Military Survey of Scotland (1747-1755), which also indicates its importance. Unlike today's B818, Roy's road doesn't cross the Water of Carron, instead it meets the Tackmedown south of Carron Bridge. Strangely, considering its labelling, the continuation west to Fintry doesn't reappear on Roy's map until west of the Earl's Burn, where a mill is marked.
It is not clear exactly when the Great Road through the Commonty was superseded, but by Grassom's map of 1817 it is a route along the line of the modern road that is marked, not that on the Plan of the Division of Denny Muir. By the beginning of the twentieth century, waterworks plans simply note it as being an old drove road.