Ancient Monuments

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Mill Knowe to Setter, "meal" road, Papa Stour

A Scheduled Monument in Shetland West, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 60.3278 / 60°19'40"N

Longitude: -1.6988 / 1°41'55"W

OS Eastings: 416731

OS Northings: 1160457

OS Grid: HU167604

Mapcode National: GBR Q15F.SCM

Mapcode Global: XHBVG.8N5W

Entry Name: Mill Knowe to Setter, "meal" road, Papa Stour

Scheduled Date: 17 September 1996

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6442

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: road

Location: Walls and Sandness

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: Shetland West

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument consists of a stretch of "meal" road, a track built as part of a 19th-century famine relief scheme. Flour or "meal" was given as payment for the construction of these roads, which were often not strictly necessary, to avoid the stigma of charity.

There were many stretches of road and track built in various famine relief schemes throughout the Highlands and Islands in the mid to late 19th Century, but very few survive in good condition without modern resurfacing. The survival of the Papa Stour examples can probably be attributed to their narrow gauge (designed for small carts and pack ponies rather than larger waggons) which prevented their being easily made up to motor roads, and simply the scarcity of motor transport on the small island into recent years.

This stretch is one of the two best-preserved. It runs for almost 850m, and gave improved access from Hamnavoe and the mills at Dutch Loch to Setter and the main settlement area of the island. It is formed of small stones carefully laid between two edging kerbs of larger blocks, and is flanked where necessary with shallow surface drainage ditches. It crosses a number of small water courses, two of which are bridged by culverts formed by large lintel stones. The width of the track is approximately 3m, but is slightly variable.

The area to be scheduled is a strip 25m wide and approximately 850m long, to include the track, its flanking ditches where present and all associated ditches and culverts. This is shown in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a very rare survival of an unmodernised stretch of road built as a famine relief labour project. It throws light upon social conditions in 19th-century Shetland, and in particular the lack of sources of income and instability of the economic basis which led to large scale emigration.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland


No Bibliography entries for this designation

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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