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From Biggar take the A702 south to Coulter, a most attractive village nestling amid well-wooded estates.  It boasts several fine Country Houses.

To the left of the main road is the older mansion in the Parish, the whitewashed Culter House, built in the early 17th Century.  The wings incorporate earlier farm buildings.  Half a mile to the west is the imposing Coulter Mains, built in 1838 by local antiquarian, Adam Sim, who collected many local prehistoric finds which are now I the National Museum of Antiquities, Edinburgh.

Bear left from the main road “to Birthwood”, passing (left) Culter Allers House (1880).  Behind this, a short distance up the road to the left from the school is the Church.

Coulter Church was founded by Kelso Monks in the 12th Century, but the present building dates from 1810.  In the graveyard are several interesting 17th Century carved tombs, and a monyment to Anthony Murray, a Minister in Covenanting times, outlawed for a time to the hills east of Coulter.

COW CASTLE – PREHISTORIC REMAINS.    From the school, continue along the Birthwood Road into the hills, bearing left over a bridge ‘to Nis bet and Snaip’.    Park beside the next bridge, and walk ahead to Nisbet.  Bear left along the old right-of-way, which swings behind Cow Castle (grid r ef 042331).

Climb to the summit, which is capped by a complex Iron Age.  To the NW of here, in the valley, was a Crannog, now possible discernible as a slight mound.

On the hillside ahead, and also behind Nisbet, can be seen cultivation terraces (lynchets).  These were in use as late as the 18th Century.

There are a large number of prehistoric sites in this area, including Snaip Hill (grid ref 024326), west of Nisbet.  This has the remains of house platforms (near the road), and a hill fort on its summit, which has well preserved earthworks, including ditches and house foundations.

Janet Kincaid


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