In a clearing at Castlemaddy Woods, you can explore the remains of Polmaddy, a traditional Galloway ferm-toun, (farming village). Changes in farming during the 18th and 19th centuries led to the abandonment of many such small farm villages in this area.
By the 19th century, the 1st edition Ordnance Survey 6-inch map (published in 1853) records Polmaddy as in ruins.
The earliest known records date Polmaddy to the 16th century. In 1505, William McClelland, Laird of Bomby, owned it. King James IV gave Polmaddy to James Hepburn in 1511. By 1541, however, it had returned to the McClelland family; recorded in the will of Thomas McClelland, William's grandson.
In the 1700s, landlords began to make changes to the way they used the land. They were looking to modernise and so introduced new agricultural machinery and farming practices. Called improvements, these changes aimed to increase productivity and make more profit.
The General Inclosure Act of 1801 allowed landlords to join the land of the small tenant farmers to make larger cattle or sheep farms. This was another element of the improvements. It meant often evicting the small scale tenant farmers, such as those living at Polmaddy.
The situation leading to Polmaddy's abandonment in the early 1800s is unknown. It is more than likely, however, that it was a victim of the improvements.
Storyteller Tony Bonning shares three local tales.
- Bruce and Carlinne's Cairn (mp3)
- Bruce and Carlinne's Cairn transcript (pdf 329k)
- Boiled pins (mp3)
- Boiled pins transcript (pdf 330k)
- Adam Forrester and the Circle of Steel (mp3)
- Adam Forrester and the Circle of Steel transcript (pdf 335k)
The exact location of Polmaddy is grid reference NX 588 878.
For details of how to access the site see the Polmaddy web page. The site is immediately accessible from the car park and the trail around the village is clearly signed from there.
All sites managed by Forestry Commission Scotland are open for you to explore. However, not all sites have paths or signage and some are a considerable distance from car parking. We recommend that visitors consult a detailed map and wear appropriate clothing.
Please follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and remember that historic sites should be treated with care and respect.