There's plenty of wildlife in the woods around Kirroughtree, especially if you sit quietly and see what comes to see you. And you don't have to go far to see it - scamper along to the Wild Watch Hide to spot red squirrels, and watch out for roe deer amongst the trees along the way. Look out for chaffinches, coal tits, great tits and blue tits on the bird feeders at the hide. If you're lucky, you might see a great spotted woodpecker. At dusk, look for bats swooping overhead.
A thriving industry: lead mining at Kirroughtree
Looking at the peaceful forest here, it's hard to imagine this was once a busy centre for lead mining. But if you look carefully, you can still find evidence in the landscape.
Lead ore was found here by chance in 1763 when a road was being built. Miners went in search of the veins of ore by digging 'adits' or entrances into the hillside by hand. They were successful and, by 1780, there were 44 men working here in two mines called Blackcraig.
Water was essential to the mining process, to power crushing machinery and to wash the ore, so the mining company dammed Bruntis Burn to create Bruntis Loch. They then built a lade (an open channel) to carry water from the loch to the mill where the ores were washed. As you explore Kirroughtree, visit Bruntis Loch and look out for the lade and one of the old adits disappearing into the hillside. Find out more about Kirroughtree Lade.