T he Penny Project

Water Features

All dear green places are enhanced by water.
The Moss is traversed by three burns and the central areas of marshy ground retains a fair proportion of the rain fall.  


The North Burn
is the main burn and has two tributaries that meander over "The Moss".
The North Burn rises near Drumshangie Moss and when it reaches Whinhall it is culverted under the Burnie Brae, under the Whinhall and Mosside estates. It rejoins "The Moss" and heads across it, from Airdrie in the south towards Coatbridge in the North. It flows west under Kippspark Bridge, alongside the reclaimed railway land and heads for the Kipps Woods.

Leaend Burn
, the smallest of the three, rises near Roughcraig and flows through Burnfoot, under the Whinhall road near to the old farmworker's cottage. It then flows west, following the line of the old Thrashbush Line for about 400 yards and turns South under Leaend Bridge, through the Leaend Glen, under the old Ballochney Line, turns right through the marshy area and joins up with the North Burn just a few hundred yards before Kippspark Bridge. The route through Leaend Glen was culverted when the railways were active but was opened up in 1984 during a land reclamation process.  

The Virtuewell Burn
(sometimes known as Glenmavis Burn) flows under the road at Glenmavis, down the Virtuewell Glen,before turning west to follow the northern edge of "The Moss".

It passes to the west of Burnfoot Farm and under the bridge on Whinhall Road (at this point local people refer to the burn as Hammy's Burn after Mr Hamilton - the owner of the farm). It then heads south west to The Spout- the culvert that was used to feed water to the cooling towers of the old Northburn Steelworks. It now flows south under Kipps Woods to join up with the North Burn at Waverley Bridge. The North Burn continues north west, past Fallon's auto breakers yard, under Kippsbrig (Kipps Bridge) on the B803, Burnbank Street, past the site of the old pub "The Monkey", under what's left of "The Slaggies", passing near to the site of the old Monks Court and joins up with the Gartsherrie Burn (known locally as Cullen's Burn) then on to the Luggie Burn and to the River Clyde.

Throughout the 18th century the Monklands, especially Airdrie, owed part of its popularity to the existence of Mineral Springs which attracted large numbers of people looking for a cure. They came from all parts of Scotland and much of Northern England. The Virtue Well or Verter Well was located at the foot of the VirtueWell Glen and was a Chalybeate spring i.e. containing iron salts in solution. In it's heyday (around 1750) the area was frequented by the rich but later, as fashion dictated, they deserted the area to head off to the newer well at Harrogate. The well continued to be used by the poor and lame until around 1840.

THE PENNY PONDOne of the main features of "The Moss" is the Penny Pond. (The Penny Project was named after the Pond) This pond is normally fed from a freshwater spring, the Penny Spring, combined with rainfall and seepage from the Dunbeth Moss and the wetland area. Each year the Pond has its fair share of wildlife including frogs, toads, newts, and water voles and is usually well stocked up with perch, pike and trout. It was only recently discovered that the pond was also home to fresh water mussels.

The Penny Pond has been a stopping off place for migratory birds and a nesting site for a pair of mute swans. The pen, named Sally by local people, nested at the Penny Pond in 1996 and had one cygnet. Her cob mysteriously disappeared in late summer of 1996. Sally was moved to the River Clyde for her own safety but returned just a few weeks later.
Sally wintered elsewhere but returned to the pond in the spring of 1997, but before she could start building her nest, she was chased off the pond by a JCB driven by the owners of the farm who "were carrying out local excavation work".

Later she was discovered nesting at the Howes Basin of the Monkland Canal at Summerlee Heritage Centre. She became the proud mother of seven cygnets in the early summer.Sally has only one eye and was first ringed, as a cygnet, at Linlithgow Loch in 1984. Sally has since been seen at the North Burn near Burnbank Street in Coatbridge - possibly on a flying visit to seek out a new nesting site or to check if the Penny Pond was back.   

Local people believe that Sally will return - one day - SOON!.

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