Crossford waggon way geophysics

The picture to the left relates to the old Crossford, Fife geophys survey results showing the possible winding engine site at the top of the incline.
The picture to the left relates to the old Crossford, Fife geophys survey results showing the possible winding engine site at the top of the incline.

Archaeology Scotland invited EAFS to participate in an Adopt-a-Monument project at Crossford, Fife. The project was also part of a Crossford Primary School, Young Archaeologist Club (YAC) undertaking which commenced in 2015.

The object of the research was to determine what, if anything, remained of the Waggon way which ran from the coast at Limekilns up to the coal mines situated to the west of Dunfermline and in particular in the vicinity of Berry Law. The line was built shortly after the proposed route was sketched out in 1772 and as later shown on the Ainslie map of 1775. A full discussion on the construction of the line may be found in the book ‘Early Railways of West Fife’ by Brotchie and Jack.

Crossford, Fife geophys survey results showing the old waggon way road
Crossford, Fife geophys survey results showing the old waggon way road

The mission of EAFS was to see if there were any detectible traces of the winding mechanism that stood at the top of the incline behind Crossford village. According to Brotchie and Jack, the incline was 175 yards long at a gradient of 1 in 6, with a 16ft diameter wheel at the top with 3ft diameter pulleys. Also, to see if the route across what is today farm fields, could be verified to still exist over a short distance and to be in general agreement with that proposed by Brotchie and Jack.

Almost certainly the second part of the task was verified conclusively using geophysics, the track still showing up as a narrow, very dark band, in an unploughed field. The geophysical results to determine the possible location of the winding wheel were much less clear, but would serve as a guide as to where to put a trench or two.

The results were all submitted to Archaeology Scotland and it remains for them to decide to take the project forward or to call it a day.