Castle Semple Estate
The Semple Trail Heritage Project resulted in several of the historic structures within the Castle Semple Estate being restored and being made accessible. These include the impressive cascade complex and its adjacent ice house and cave. View the octagonal Temple from the foot of Kenmure Hill and discover the grotto which rests within Parkhill’s woodland.
See the downloads page for historical information sheets on the Sempill family, their Estate and subsequent owners the MacDowalls, as well as the Semple Trail publications listed below.
- Semple Trail Leaflet – for details of the route and a map
- Semple Trail Brochure – for comprehensive details of the history and heritage of the Estate
- Kids Passport – a fun way for children to discover the Semple Trail
The nearby Category A listed Collegiate Church dates back to the early 16th century. It is a late gothic church, built in 1504 by John, 1st Lord Sempill. Although there is no roof, the church is well maintained by Historic Environment Scotland.
The church can be visited at any time and is located 2km from Castle Semple Visitor Centre, at the east end of Parkhill Wood not far from the cycle track. More information is available onsite or online in the link above.
The Semple Stories Lochwinnoch’s Glories project collected and compiled oral histories from local Lochwinnoch people before they are lost and interpetted them in a variety of ways. For more information please see the Projects’ homepage.
A Scheduled Monument, the Cut was built under the supervision of civil engineer Robert Thom in the 1820s to supply water from Loch Thom to Greenock. This supplied the growing number of mills and waterwheel powered factories, fuelling the industrial revolution in Greenock. A by-product of its construction was a source of clean drinking water for the local townsfolk which it continued to be until 1971.
Heritage Lottery Funding restored and upgraded the footpath in 2007. The Cut as a 8km walk is rated as one of the top 50 walks in Scotland. Inside the Greenock Cut Visitor Centre there is an informative exhibition on the history and culture.
Scotland’s Rural Past website has some good information on the history of local farms here.
Was once an impressive grouse shooting estate, frequented by Winston Churchill. The current Visitor Centre is located on the site of the original mansion house. Not far from Muirshiel are the remains of the old grouse railway and the site of the Muirshiel Barytes Mine. Muirshiel, was the first local authority designated Country Park in Scotland, designated in 1971.
Muirshiel also provides a good access point to some of the aircraft crash sites (1938-58) in the Regional Park.
The Park downloads page has factsheets on:
- History of Muirshiel House & Shooting Estate
- History of Muirshiel Barytes Mine
- Aircraft Crashes in and around CMRP
There is a fantastic film of ‘Renfrewshire Regional Park‘ covering Castle Semple and Muirshiel Country Parks in 1972 on the National Library for Scotland’s Moving Image Archive.