Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Heads of Ayr, fort 1050m NNW of Genoch Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Maybole, North Carrick and Coylton, South Ayrshire

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Latitude: 55.432 / 55°25'55"N

Longitude: -4.7119 / 4°42'42"W

OS Eastings: 228510

OS Northings: 618694

OS Grid: NS285186

Mapcode National: GBR 36.ZXK5

Mapcode Global: WH2PV.LQGL

Entry Name: Heads of Ayr, fort 1050m NNW of Genoch Farm

Scheduled Date: 11 February 1993

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5594

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: fort (includes hill and promontory fort)

Location: Maybole

County: South Ayrshire

Electoral Ward: Maybole, North Carrick and Coylton

Traditional County: Ayrshire


Aerial photography has produced cropmarks which reveal the ditches of a fort cutting off the SE approach to the steep-sided promontory that forms the W end of the cliffs known as Heads of Ayr.

The ditches are about 3m broad and are set 20m apart, cutting off an area measuring 80m from NW to SE by 60m transversely. The enclosed area is largely improved pasture and there is no indication of the fort on the ground except the N end of the outer ditch, which is visible on the cliff edge; the NW end of the enclosed area is rocky and cut off by a natural gully.

In 1931 a fragment of dark-coloured pottery (date unknown) from the Heads of Ayr was donated to the NMS. The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan and measures 150m from NW to SE by 115m transversely, to include the fort and an area around in which associated remains may survive, as indicated in red on the attached map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it is a rare example of a coastal fort in Kyle and Carrick, although a similar fort (but with four ditches) also known from aerial photographs, is located 2.75 km to the E at Greenan Castle. The date of both of these forts is unknown, but they can be presumed to date to the first millennium BC, possibly AD. This fort therefore has the potential to provide information about the nature and structure of later prehistoric society, about which little is known in this area of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NS 21 NE 7.


RCAHMS (1985) Inventory for North Kyle, No. 36.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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