Heritage & Culture

The landscape of the Biosphere is steeped in a rich built and cultural heritage. From archaeological evidence of early settlers to the impact of emigration as people from the uplands went in search of new lives across the globe, and from memorials to those caught up in religious turmoil to the remains of heavy industry, the countryside has been shaped by events from the past. There is so much to explore and many places have links to famous people or ordinary folk whose influence has been felt across Scotland and beyond.

The cultural significance of a land inhabited for thousands of years has many layers which can be revealed to help people feel a connection to the area. Every place has an interesting story to tell even if it has not played a pivotal role in national events.

Across south west Scotland ancient stone circles, burial cairns and mysterious carved cup and ring marks can be found. Remains of these tombs and temples at places like Cairn Holy give us a glimpse of prehistoric life and death; (www.historic-scotland.gov.uk).

Our Christian heritage is marked by many monuments such as ruins of abbeys or graveyards providing a direct link to those who lived on the land in the past. Perhaps the most poignant are those erected in desolate hills to Covenantors who were killed for their deep beliefs. www.covenanter.org.uk.

The stunning 18th century grounds and country houses show the splendour achieved by landed gentry and their great influence in shaping the surrounding countryside.

The Scottish Industrial Railway Centre is living museum at Dunaskin which celebrates the role taken by steam and diesel locomotives from our industrial past. The museum is a work in progress with restoration undertaken by a team of dedicated volunteers demonstrating the passions that our heritage can capture. The regular Steam Days allow visitors to experience rides pulled by a steam engine in an authentic setting, find out more here.