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22nd June 2024

Cumnock Engagement Week – Join Us to find out more about the GSA Biosphere!

The GSAB Partnership is coming to Cumnock to host two all-day events exploring the value of the Biosphere and our UNESCO designation for locals, communities and businesses. Join us! On Wednesday 26th June 9.30am to 5pm, we’ll be at The Way Forward 2045, 38-42 Ayr Road for drop-in day for local people, community groups and business owners looking to find out a bit more about the Biosphere and our programme of support. We’ll also be hosting two info sessions at midday and 3pm explaining a bit more about what the GSAB Partnership can do to help local sustainable enterprises develop and share their offer locally and further afield.

We’ll be back on Saturday 29th June 10am – 3pm to host a family-fun day alongside The Way Forward 2045 at the same venue. With demonstrations, activities and a chance to have a chat with the GSA Biosphere team, make sure to come along and say hi!

To give everyone a wee preview of why we love Cumnock, we’re highlighting some of the best places to explore in and around the town. This historic part of East Ayrshire is steeped in culture, heritage, and natural beauty. From stately homes to its nature reserves, there is something here for everyone to discover and enjoy. 

The Covenanters of Cumnock 

Cumnock is linked to a key part of Scottish history due to its association with the Covenanters, a group of 17th-century Scottish Presbyterians who resisted religious persecution. The Covenanters’ Memorial in the old cemetery is a poignant reminder of those who fought and died for their faith. As you wander through the town and further afield, you’ll find various plaques and markers that tell the story of the people who were involved in this historic movement. For history enthusiasts, these sites provide a fascinating glimpse into Scotland’s past, and those looking to find out more can read this article from the Cumnock History Group.

The Barony A-Frame 

One of the most striking landmarks in the region is the Barony A-Frame. This towering structure is all that remains of the Barony Colliery, which was a crucial part of nearby town Auchinleck’s coal mining industry until its closure in the 1980s. The A-Frame has been preserved as a monument to the area’s industrial heritage and visitors can learn about the lives of the miners and the impact of the coal industry on the local community through the visitor displays on site. The surrounding area offers scenic walks and we’ve produced two leaflets detailing some of these walks (pictured, left) that you can pick up from tourist information points or view electronically on our website here and here.

Dumfries House and Auchinleck House 

Just a short distance from Cumnock you’ll also home to two stately homes that offer a chance to see and experience Scotland’s aristocratic past: 

Dumfries House is an 18th-century Palladian house now owned by the King’s Foundation, and renowned for its gardens, architecture and Chippendale furniture collection. The house and its extensive grounds are open to the public, offering guided tours and the perfect family day out. The estate also hosts training schools for all ages in farming, horticulture, arts and more, helping people gain confidence and practical life skills.

Auchinleck House (pictured, right) was the ancestral home of James Boswell, the famous biographer of Samuel Johnson. This elegant Georgian mansion is now maintained by the Landmark Trust and can be rented for stays, providing a unique opportunity to experience life in a grand property. For those who would rather just have a short visit to the property, the property will be open free of charge to visitor on August 31st and September 1st, with tickets available here.

Knockshinnoch Lagoons

For nature lovers, the Knockshinnoch Lagoons is a must-visit. This nature reserve was created on a former coal mining site and has since become a haven for wildlife. The site is home to a variety of bird species, making it a popular spot for birdwatching and the trails allow visitors to explore the wetlands and enjoy the sounds of nature. Plant and insect enthusiasts will particularly enjoy the partially vegetated coal-spoil heap, where rare plants and bugs can be seen.

The Baird Institute

A visit to Cumnock isn’t complete without a trip to the Baird Institute. This local museum run by East Ayrshire Leisure offers an in-depth look at the town’s rich history and cultural heritage. Exhibits cover a wide range of topics, from archaeology and local industry to art and the wider Doon Valley region. The museum is open Thursday to Saturday, with free admission.

The GSA Biosphere Partnership in Cumnock

Don’t forget: all are warmly invited to join the GSAB Partnership in Cumnock this week at one or both of two all-day events. We’ll be sharing some of the projects and initiatives led by the GSA Biosphere team, and exploring the value of the UNESCO Biosphere designation for local people, community groups, and business and social enterprise.

For more info or any questions about these events, get in contact with us at

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