Walking around Kilmartin Glen


One of the most dramatic prehistoric landscapes in Britain lies in Kilmartin Glen. Sharon Webb’s In the Footsteps of Kings (Kilmartin Museum, red. ed. 2013) provides some 25 walks to explore the glen’s heritage. This includes the burial mounds, standing stones, rock art as well as Carnassarie Castle and the Crinan Canal. And those looking for beavers in nearby Knapdale also have a suggested route. This is a beautifully produced book with clear maps and colour photographs. It is an essential purchase for getting the most out of this part of Scotland.

For other prehistoric landscape walks in Britain see Stonehenge and Avebury.

Happy Birthday to West Stow!

Originally posted on The Heritage Journal:

As reported on several heritage and archaeology mailing lists recently, West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village (which we visited last year) is celebrating its 50th anniversary this coming weekend, on 25 and 26 July.

To mark the occasion, members of the public are invited to visit the site throughout the weekend free of charge – giving them the opportunity to re-engage with the unique site or to experience the site for the first time and visit the reconstructed buildings.

West Stow house 'The Workshop'

The West Stow Anglo-Saxon Trust would love to welcome anyone involved with the archaeological site during the past 50 years to join in the celebrations – original archaeological diggers, reconstructors and anyone else who helped bring the village to life. However, the Trust doesn’t have contact details for everyone involved, so please spread the word through your networks. The main event will be on Saturday 25 July, from 11am until 4pm. BBC Radio…

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Caution at Kilmartin

Kilmartin Glen, Scotland © David Gill

Kilmartin Glen, Scotland © David Gill

Kilmartin must be among the top prehistoric landscapes in Britain. Visitors are encouraged to walk between the monuments. This old ministry sign warns visitors when they are about to cross the main road from Oban to Lochgilphead.

Are there other examples of this type of Ministry sign?

Bonawe Historic Iron Furnace



The industrial complex at Bonawe on Loch Etive has a series of Ministry signs. However they incorporate the lettering from the original foundry. Are these some of the latest examples of Ministry signs? The site is now managed by Historic Scotland.

Skipness Castle

Skipness Castle

Skipness Castle © David Gill

Skipness Castle is a stunning Historic Scotland property on the north east side of Kintyre facing the island of Arran. The castle dates to the 13th century and the later tower provides wonderful views over the sea. This is one of the original signs providing directions through the grounds.

MPBW Guide to Dover Castle

Dover Castle


I have noted a series of MPBW guide books that departed from the ‘traditional’ blue guide format (see Deal and Walmer Castles). A later addition to the series was R. Allen Brown’s 1967 guide to Dover Castle (price 2 s). The opening paragraph sets the tone: ‘Few if any fortified sites in England are more impressive than Dover Castle, and few even in Wales, the land of castles’.

R. Allen Brown also wrote a number of ‘blue guides’ including Orford Castle (1964), Rochester Castle (1969), and Castle Rising (1978).

Deal and Walmer Castles

Deal and Walmer Castles


Deal, Walmer and Sandown Castles were constructed by Henry VIII to protect The Downs off the coast of Kent. The guidebook to Deal and Walmer Castles was prepared by A.D. Saunders in 1963 for the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works. (See earlier post on Deal Castle.) This guide has a section discussing the castles, and then separate descriptions of the two.

This is one of the new types of illustrated guidebooks emerging from the late 1950s to replace the older ‘blue’ guides. Other examples include: Stonehenge and Avebury (1959), Beaumaris Castle (1961), Monasteries in North Yorkshire (1962), Caernarfon Castle (1963), Grimes Graves (1963), Lullingstone Roman Villa (1963).

The Department of the Environment later produced an illustrated guidebook on Henry’s forts.