We began our fieldwork at Newmills, walking down Ladygill Burn to the Clyde and working South. We looked only briefly for obvious features related to milling, noting instead a series of relatively recent dumps where a tributary meets the river 120m to the WSW of Newmills called Clydeholm on the most detailed Ordnance Survey (OS) maps. The West bank is relatively steep here, with no need for embankment. On the opposite bank, disturbed ground at the apex of the meander appears to be natural.
Walking down the West bank towards Moat, we spotted only the regeneration of natural woodland on the East bank, which is marked on OS maps, in an area regularly flooded, and, nearer the farmstead, a pronounced bank on the outside of the meander. This feature is on current OS maps and may be of two phases. A stone gatepost (with pintel) has been reset by the river. We looked only briefly at the farmstead and motte (a steep-sided artificial mound on which the tower of a castle was set), seeing little evidence for the millpond (the farmstead merits a historic map based description). This site is the highest point on the banks for 100s of metres, and has an excellent view. It is noticeable that the motte (see: http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/47374/details/roberton/) was already severely damaged as depicted on the OS 1st edition 25 inch. The upper river terrace runs South from the motte, with a few grass-grow, clearance cairns dumped along its edge.
At Clyde’s Bridge there is a clearance cairn on the E bank just before the road bridge which itself has been liberally daubed with ‘shugy’s got tits’. There are lots of buildings shown around here on OS 1st edition map.
The river runs fast through the narrows here and much bedrock is exposed, while the pool 175m to the SW (Ram’s Horn Pool) is an unusual feature for this part of the river. It is a recognised feature with a specific name and is a calm pool unlike much of this stretch of the river. Immediately to its North, a large scoop is shown on the OS 2nd edition map and may be some form of borrow pit (quarry) while an access track to the lower fields is shown on OS 1st edition map.
The river’s edge shown on OS 1st edtion map just North of Duneatonfoot Bridge appears to be natural, although the confluence of the rivers here has been modified during the construction of the modern bridge. The E edge of the river is embanked here as shown on OS 1st edition map and modern maps. We had only the briefest look at Nether Abington Motte, which looks to me to have two phases – the mote ditch cutting the ‘bailey’ bank (see: http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/47438/details/nether+abington/).
The second section of our day took us from Lamington Bridge upstream to Roberton. Lamington road bridge is rather fine, dating to 1836, but with evidence that the parapets have been rebuilt (see: http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/47565/details/lamington+bridge/). The embankment immediately to its SW (on the W bank) has a different character for the nearest 20m, possibly since it is a related feature. Further S, this embankment is very substantial and, although it initially seems to be related to the construction of the railway, the continuous character of the feature for more than a 1km suggests that it is in fact related to Hardington House; it is planted with beech trees. The bank returns NW away from the river before Clydeside farm (see OS 1st edition map, 25-inch scale for details).
The channel depicted on OS 1st edition map at Meadowhead (now only a sheepfold) may have been some form of lade. It is filled in now, and the current river course is different to that shown on OS 1st to 3rd edition maps. There is lot of recent clearance (including building rubble) along the N bank here.
We walked further south, passing the high field with cropmark ring-ditch houses (see: http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/47348/details/roberton/) and overlooking the Bower of Wandel (http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/47354/details/bower+of+wandel/). The Townfoot burn is a little awkward to cross, but there are no features along the bank S of it until the Ladygill Burn, which is marked on it’s NE bank by a embankment depicted on OS 2nd and current edition maps.