Well Shelterd and Watered: Menstrie Glen, a Farming Landscape Near Stirling

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Hidden behind the dramatic Ochils to the north-east of Stirling, Menstrie Glen is now largely the preserve of sheep and the occasional hillwalker. The apparent tranquillity belies its history for a thriving population occupied these hills and worked the land prior to the agricultural improvements of the 1700s. The architect of change, James Wright, lived at Luss in the heart of the glen and his record of the farming cycle as the plough gave way to sheep details aspects of earlier farming life that are rarely even glimpsed elsewhere. More than this the abandoned farms and fields that he wrote about can still be seen throughout the glen. These two strands are brought together here in an account that is not simply of local interest, for the transformation of Menstrie Glen into a sparsely populated sheepwalk reflects the momentous changes that were afoot throughout Scotland in the 18th century.