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History of Glen Sherup

The name of the local village of Muckhart comes from the Gaelic “Muc Airde”, meaning ‘pig height’ –a reference to the wild boar which would have roamed this area around 600 years ago.

Originally it is likely that the Ochils had considerable woodland cover, and there are historical references to a forest between the 12th and 16th centuries. This would probably have been a forest in the traditional sense of the word, comprising significant areas of open ground within a mosaic of woodland cover.

The main glens of Glen Devon and Glen Quey have a long history as important through-routes for moving livestock and other traded goods such as coal and lime – the Glen Quey drove road forming part of one of these longer routes. There is also a restored bee-bole of unknown age in the dyke just south of Glenquey farm house. Bee-boles are a recess in the dyke which were used to shelter beehives.

Detailed archaeological survey

There is evidence from a detailed archaeological survey of the area carried out in 1988 by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), as well as from more recent WTS commissioned surveys, of the existence of a number of earthbanks from different historical periods, buildings and former field systems on the lower slopes which indicate past cropping and more intensive agriculture. The majority of these are sited in Geordie’s Wood where the remains of a former small farmstead is sited at the northern end of the Holloway at Upper Auchlinsky. Here the Auchlinsky Burn forms the boundary between the local authority areas of Perth & Kinross and Clackmannan.

The land was largely under extensive sheep grazing for 250 years until its acquisition by the Woodland Trust Scotland in 2,000. This long-term grazing resulted in a loss of habitat diversity and associated wildlife. Tree planting was completed in 2008, covering approximately 850 hectares, equivalent to 70 per cent of the site.

Scottish Forest Alliance project

The three woodland creation projects that comprise Glen Devon Woodlands arose directly as a result of the BP-funded Scottish Forest Alliance project, the prime objective of which was the regeneration and expansion of native woodlands in Scotland. The partners in this project are BP, Forestry Commission Scotland, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Woodland Trust Scotland.

Ben Shee, standing above Glen Sherup, derives from the Gaelic word ‘sith’ which means a conical hill associated with fairies.