Stretching from Lochwinnoch and the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park in the north, to ‘Three Towns’, Ardrossan, Stevenston and Irvine in the south, the Garnock Connections landscape boasts spectacular natural scenery with the River Garnock at its heart, a rich cultural heritage and a wealth of archaeology in between.
The history in this area dates all the way back to the Neolithic, the remains of prehistoric dwellings being visible in the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park and cup and ring mark stones also recorded in the valley. Since the Neolithic, the area has continued to be a place for people to thrive, and many of the region’s towns became firmly established as the early medieval period took hold. At least one town, Beith, likely got its name from Ogham, the alphabet used by Irish scholars from the 4th century. In the 18th and 19th century, industrialisation helped many towns to expand and flourish, with mills fuelled by the river and its tributaries to manufacture wool and grain. The furniture that was manufactured in this region was of such high-quality that it was commissioned for a number of ocean liners, including the ill-fated Titanic.
Throughout the centuries, the tapestry of history for the area has been embroidered with myths, legends and folklore, which further enhances the richness of the culture in this area, tales of witches, dealings with the devil, galavanting with giants and other larger than life characters making appearances throughout the centuries.