Carse of Stirling

An extensive area of agricultural land which lies to the west of Stirling, and forms the upper part of the flood-plain of the River Forth, the Carse of Stirling is 14 miles (23 km) in length and 4 miles (6.5 km) in width, bounded by the Touch and Gargunnock Hills to the south and the Braes of Doune to the north. The area as once an impassable bogland, inhabited only by wildfowl and a few outlaws. The blanket peat, which varied in thickness between 1m (3 feet) and 6m (20 feet), was stripped off as part of a land improvement scheme instituted by local landowners such as Henry Home (Lord Kames) of Blair Drummond and Hugh Seton of Touch from the 1760s. Families were attracted to move from the S Highlands, including areas around Callander and Balquhidder, with the offer of land at much-reduced rents provided they clear the peat and expose the rich clay soil beneath. Tenants were provided with wood to build houses and food for a year.

The scheme came to an end in 1865 because the work had silted up the Forth at Stirling and effectively prevented access to the town by sea-going ships. However, more than 10,000 acres of fertile agricultural land had been created, stretching 8 miles (13 km) west from Stirling. The Carse has subsequently become associated with the cultivation of Timothy Hay, widely regarded as being the very best in Britain. The largest area of peatland remaining is at Flanders Moss, with isolated areas of at Blairdrummond Moss and Drip Moss.

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