Population 3717. Figures
taken from 2001 Census.
Although two separate villages, Kirkmuirhill
and Blackwood have grown and merged over the years to form a small town,
although the two parts retain their own names.
Lying in the valley of the River Nethan, the
town is set in a sleepy, rural landscape, although easy access to the
M74 makes it perfect for commuters to Hamilton, Glasgow and East
Kilbride keen to escape big town and city living.
Kirkmuirhill has a small stretch of shops
with a selection of convenience stores.
Blackwood expanded quickly in the late '70s
and was one of the first villages to experience large estate building by
private companies. There is also affordable housing available within
Kirkmuirhill. The village lies close to Craignethan Castle, a listed
monument managed by Historic Scotland.
With many young families living in the area,
there's a hectic social life concentrated around the Leisuredome and the
area's two primary schools. Secondary school pupils travel to Lesmahagow
High which will be completely refurbished in South Lanarkshire Council's
multi-million pound schools modernisation programme. The Blackwood and
Kirkmuirhill Gala Day is held in June.
Kirkmuirhill and Blackwood are served by the
Hamilton Advertiser, the Lanark and Carluke Advertiser, the Lanark
Gazette and the Lanarkshire Extra.
Like many villages in the area, there is
evidence of early settlements going back more than 2000 years.
Kirkmuirhill's location made it a perfect
coach stop for travellers on the main road from Scotland to England and
its residents would have been mainly weavers, blacksmiths and saddlers.
Craignethan Castle was built on a nearby
bluff in 1532 and was the last great defensive castle to be built in the
country. It was constructed by Sir James Hamilton who was later executed
for treason. It passed to the Crown before falling into the hands of
James Hamilton who was Regent of Scotland, 2nd Earl of Arran and
half-brother of the builder. Mary, Queen of Scots stayed the night in
Craignethan Castle before the tragic Battle of Langside. Both the
Hamiltons and the castle had many years of unrest before James VI
indicted them for the murders of two of his regents. Craignethan Castle
was given up without a fight and the main defences were demolished. The
tower house was replaced as the main residence by a more modern house in
1665 by the new owner Andrew Hay. Interest in the castle was rekindled
in the 1800s when it became associated with Tillietudlum Castle in
Walter Scott's novel Old Mortality, especially when the new railway
station was named Tillietudlum Station. Repairs began on the castle in
the late 1800s and today it is looked after by Historic Scotland.
With the Industrial Revolution came the
discovery of coal seams and the main employers in the area became the
coal companies. Miners cottages were built and the villages' populations
swelled, until the coal ran out and people moved on in the search for