River Devon

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Devon, a river of Perth, Kinross, Clackmannan, and Stirling shires, rising among the Ochils in the N of Alva parish, at an altitude of 1800 feet, and 9 furlongs WNW of the summit of Bencleuch. Thence it winds 14 miles north-eastward, eastward, and south-eastward to the Crook of Devon, and thence again 19¾ west-south-westward, till, after a total course of 33¾ miles, it falls into the Forth at Cambus, 23/8 miles W by N of Alloa, and only 5¼ miles in a straight line SSW of its source. During this course it traverses or bounds the parishes of Alva, Blackford, Tillicoultry, Glendevon, Fossoway, Muckhart, Dollar, Tillicoultry, Alva, Logie, and Alloa. The last song written by Burns, written as he lay dying at Brow (12 July 1796), was, 'Fairest maid on Devon banks, Crystal Devon, winding Devon'-the maid, that Charlotte Hamilton of Mauchline, whom he had seen at Harviestoun nine years before, and then had celebrated in another most exquisite lyric- 'How pleasant the banks of the clear winding Devon, with green spreading bushes, and flowers blooming fair ! But the bonniest flower on the banks of the Devon was once a sweet bud from the banks of the Ayr.' Others than Burns have sung of the beauties of the Devon and its valley, shown at their best in a long reach below the Crook of Devon, where the stream traverses a series of ravines and chasms, and makes the famous falls described in our articles Devil's Mill, Rumbling-Bridge, and Caldron Linn- The cliffs that flank its chasms and ravines are of no great height, nowhere exceeding much 100 feet; but they acquire aspects of sublimity and savageness from the narrowness and gloom of the spaces which they enclose, and aspects of picturesqueness and witchery from copsewood, herbage, and overshadowing woods- The river's aggregate descent, from source to month, is close upon 1800 feet, and its basin is so ramified among nearly all the southern and south-western Ochils as sometimes to send down freshets to the plains, with the suddenness and volume of a waterspout. The river is not navigable, yet, according to a survey made by James Watt in 1760, it could be rendered navigable for several miles at a cost of about £2000. It is a capital trouting stream, everywhere open to the public; its trout average rather less than ½ lb.each- The Stirling and Dunfermline railway crosses it, near the mouth, on a viaduct partly supported by piers, partly suspended on strong timber beams; and the Devon Valley railway follows it from its lower waters upward to Crook of Devon--Ord. Sur., shs. 39,40,1869-67.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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