Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

Due to scheduled maintenance work by our external provider, background aerial imagery on Canmore may be unavailable

between 12:00 Friday 15th December and 12:00 Monday 18th December


White Isle

Earthwork (Period Unassigned), Structure(S) (Period Unassigned), Quern

Site Name White Isle

Classification Earthwork (Period Unassigned), Structure(S) (Period Unassigned), Quern

Canmore ID 64780

Site Number NX78SE 1

NGR NX 7586 8419

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2023.

Toggle Aerial | View on large map

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Dumfries And Galloway
  • Parish Dunscore
  • Former Region Dumfries And Galloway
  • Former District Nithsdale
  • Former County Dumfries-shire

Archaeology Notes

NX78SE 1 7586 8419.

(NX 7586 8419) The neck of the peninsula named White Isle is crossed by a well-defined rampart and ditch some 500 ft long. At the W end, where best preserved, the rampart is 11-12 ft above the ditch and 4 ft high at the rear. There is a gap, 80-90 ft wide, in the centre of the earthwork. Two sections were cut by Corrie who showed that the rampart, of clay and rough gravel, stood 6 ft 6 ins above the natural ground level, while the ditch was silted up to a depth of 5 ft 10 ins. A rough stone pavement, 10 ft wide, was found running in the rear of the rampart; it is traceable as a change in vegetation.

Part of an upper quern stone found on the peninsula in 1971 is in Dumfries Museum (Acc No: 1971/37).

J Corrie 1906; RCAHMS 1920, visited 1912; A E Truckell 1972; Dumfries Museum 1972

The univallate earthwork, generally as described, encloses 3.0 hectares of undulating grassland. The 15.0m wide ditch is up to 1.5m deep at its NW end but elsewhere it is heavily silted and it is now only a vague depression at the south end. There is no trace of causeway.

The earthen rampart is substantial at its W end being 3.0m high externally and 1.0m high internally. The central gap is now too wide for an entrance but it may have been exaggerated by later use. The rampart continues along the SE edge of the peninsula; it has been mutilated so that there is now little trace of an internal scarp. There is no evidence of the stone pavement and no significant change in vegetation was noted.

The remains of a rectangular building, which almost certainly post-date the rampart, lie on the north side of the island. The turf covered footings are 10.0m by 5.0m and there is a spread of cleared stones nearby.

The age of this defensive work is obscure but it is probably prehistoric, perhaps an IA settlement on the shore of Loch Urr. The name White Isle was not confirmed.

Surveyed at 1:10 000.

Visited by OS (BS) 21 February 1978

A survey of the White Isle earthwork incorporated two rectangular structures and other features lying on the tip of the promontory. Sponsor: Historic Scotland

CFA 1991.


Note (20 December 2013 - 9 August 2016)

Access to a low-lying promontory which projects into Loch Urr from the SW shore is cut off by a substantial earthwork. Measuring some 140m from NW to SE at the neck, by 140m transversely, the interior is an irregular hexagon of about 2.4ha on plan. The bank is best preserved at the NW end, where it stands 1m high internally and 3m above the bottom of the external ditch, which is up to 15m in breadth and at least 1.5m in depth. About 1906 John Corrie cut two sections across the defences, revealing that the core of the rampart was a bank of clay and gravel up to 2m high and that the sediment had filled the ditch to a depth of about 1.7m; a rough stone pavement 3m broad was found to the rear of the rampart. A broad gap in the centre may indicate the position of the entrance, although it may have been broadened by later traffic. The only features visible in the interior are two rectangular buildings lying at the N tip of the promontory, but in 1971 the upper stone of a rotary quern was found on the promontory (Truckell 1972).

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 09 August 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC0302


MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions