There is so much to like about this walk from Torwood Castle, through Torwood Forest, and up to Tappoch Broch. An impressive castle ruin, a mysterious bright blue pool and an Iron Age broch make this Falkirk walk one you don’t want to miss.
As we walked down a small muddy path towards Torwood Castle Ruins, we came to a sign which read ‘Torwood castle- enter at your risk’. While the message was slightly unsettling, the ominous warning didn’t deter us from continuing onward.
After half a mile of walking from the main road, the Torwood Castle Ruin soon came into view. A roofless L shaped shell stood before us. Torwood Castle has been estimated as being built around 1566 for Sir Alexander Forrester. It passed to Clan Baillie in the early 16th century. It is clear that even in its ruined condition it would once have been a significant building.
There were some man-made ladders leading up to one of the windows. It was tempting to climb up and have a look inside, but they did not look the most stable. There were remains of a courtyard, fireplaces in some of the rooms and apparently a dungeon lay somewhere beneath the walls, but we couldn’t get inside to explore that.
The 16th century Torwood Castle Ruins are only a small part of what this area has to offer. There is also the very mysterious Torwood Blue Pool and the remains of a 2500 year old Iron Age Pictish Broch.
Torwood Blue Pool
We followed a path from the castle towards Torwood Blue Pool. It is not signposted so we had to use GPS to help us locate it along with some online instructions. We walked along a path with the castle and wind farm in the distanc. The path continues for 15 minutes or so until we reached a huge pylon in the trees. We knew that this was close to Torwood Blue Pool. We cut off the path and soon found, nestled in a wood clearing between the lines of trees, the mysterious man made pool.
The Torwood Blue Pool is circular, lined with bricks and is 6metres in length and around 4.5 metres deep. The water was incredibly blue just like the pictures I had seen. I could see right down to the bottom. It looked very inviting to jump in and with a little encouragement from my friend Claire, that’s exactly what I did!
I later found out a local man, the late Nigel Turnbull, ran a website trying to ascertain the origin of Torwood Blue Pool. He dedicated years of his live conducting interviews of locals and reading through archive’s. There were lots of theories, but it most likely it would have been used as an open air shaft leading to a mine that had been covered.
We retraced our steps and soon came to a sign post for the Tappoch Broch (also known as Torwood Broch). The path here is waymarked so the Broch is much easier to locate than the pool.
Tappoch broch is an iron age roundhouse that sits at the top of a hill within Tor Wood. It was excavated in 1864. These were once quite common in Scotland in pre-historic times.
Inside Tappoch Broch, the remains of walls have several small chambers built into them. It is thought that these originally stood at 10 metres high and 7 metres thick with an intra-mural stairway leading up through the interior of the wall.
I would allow 3 hours in all for the walk. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon as you get to visit the castle, the blue pool and the broch all in one go. If you decide it sounds like a day out you would enjoy its best to park on Glen Road and start the walk from there.
Happy hunting guys! We can’t wait to hear what you think of the blue pool.
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