This section gives an overview of roads and tracks
in Scotland covering the first tracks of prehistoric
man, Roman roads, the Dark Ages and a brief "golden
age" in early mediaeval times. It also covers
the post-mediaeval period and the statute labour
system that developed at that time and then the
turnpike system which lasted to the late 1800ís
when roads became the responsibility of local
authorities, a situation that has continued to
the present time.
and Tracks of Ayrshire
study of roads and tracks in Ayrshire from prehistoric
times up to the present. It covers prehistory,
Roman times, the Dark Ages and the mediaeval and
post medieval periods. Details of the pre-turnpike
system shown on the Military Survey maps of c.1750
are given followed by details of the turnpikes
and local parish roads. It concludes with an account
of the work undertaken by the County Road Board
and Ayr County Council.
of Resources on Old Scottish Roads
section lists a large number of resources which
will be found useful in studying old Scottish
roads, whether in a particular part of the country,
a specific historical period or a type of road
such as military or drove roads.
in the 1600's: The Maps of Timothy Pont
from showing a number of roads, these maps, first
published in 1654 in Blaeu's Atlas but surveyed
in the 1590's show river crossings and placenames
that help to reconstitute the road network of
Military Survey of Scotland
Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 made the authorities
aware of the need for accurate maps if they were
to control the Highlands. In 1747 a survey
of the whole country was started under the direction
of William Roy.
The resulting maps at a scale of 1 inch to 1000
a wealth of information about Scotland at that
time, including roads.
Statistical Accounts of Scotland
Old and New Statistical Accounts of Scotland,
written respectively in the 1790's and 1830's,
give a description of each parish in the
country. These accounts contain many details of
roads and transport that would otherwise
have been lost.
In this section, details are given for each parish
with links to the original text.
1859, the Commissioners for Inquiring into the
state of Public Roads in Scotland published a
comprehensive review of Scotland's roads. They
recommended far reaching changes that eventually
resulted in the end of the turnpike system and
statute labour roads.
For those interested in roads in a particular
county, this section provides links to parts of
this website dealing with specific counties as
well as useful external links. It also has summaries
of roads entries from the county volumes of the
Cambridge County Geographies published in the
Short articles on various topics. Currently
contains notes on the road between Newbattle Abbey
and the Monklands, an old road between Ayr and
Kirkcudbright, some roads referred to in mediaeval
charters, references to roads in Chalmers' Caledonia
and MacFarlane's Geographical Collections, the
toll points of Ayr and Rutherglen, Wade's Military
Roads and Roman roads.
The newsletter Rambles on Old Roads can be accessed
About the author:
This site has been developed by Gerald Cummins
who worked as a road safety officer in several
local authorities in the west of Scotland. His
most recent post was with East Ayrshire Council
where he developed an interest in the old roads
of Ayrshire. Since retirement he has been working
on roads in the south of Scotland.
Acknowledgements: I should like to thank former
colleagues in East Ayrshire Council for their
interest and support in this work. In particular
I have to thank Jim Kane, Head of Roads and Transportation
for his support and Tom Allan both for his interest
and for information about the 1878 List of Roads
and Bridges in Ayrshire.
A number of excerpts from Ordnance Survey maps
dating from 1945 or before are included to make
the text easier to follow. My thanks to the OS
for advising me on the use of these maps. My thanks
also to the National Library of Scotland for permission
to use images from the Blaeu Atlas and Pont originals
and to library and archive staff in Ayr, Dumfries
and other locations.
Copyright: Although the site is copyright
©, links are welcome. Please contact me if
you wish to use any other material on your own
2007 oldroadsofscotland.com. All Rights Reserved.