AN archaeological dig will be part of a £30,000 development of Selkirk’s battlefield as a visitor attraction.
The site on Philiphaugh Estate is of national importance, according to local historian Walter Elliot, but it remains unmarked on maps.
The manager at the developers Philiphaugh Community Project’s (PCP), Julie Nock, said: “We’ve been planning this for over a year. It’s quite a significant battle site, the outcome changed the way we live today.”
The development cash – £29,500 – has come from Philiphaugh Estate, Scottish Borders Leader Programme and Scottish Borders Council.
PCP plans a small battlefield survey, an archaeological dig and a geophysical survey to try to interpret troop movements, starting in April.
And the project hopes local metal detecting enthusiasts will help in the battlefield research which will be run by Centre for Battlefield Archaeology experts.
Miss Nock said: “Philiphaugh has been a popular site with metal detectorists looking for artefacts and it is hoped that anyone who has found anything will help us to piece together the troop movements by bringing these items along to the dig.”
The 17th century fight was a pivotal one, says Mr Elliot.
“The battle, fought on 13 September 1645, is a key event in the Civil War in Scotland as it represents the decisive defeat of Montrose and his hitherto seemingly unbeatable Royalist forces by a Covenanting army commanded by Leslie. This was the end of Royalist hopes in Scotland and eventually led to a Commonwealth of England,, Scotland and Ireland under Cromwell.”
Miss Nock said: “Putting the Battle of Philiphaugh on the map is a fantastic addition to the Borders’ many tourist attractions and will undoubtedly help us all to sustain our local economy.
“We hope that the interpreted battle site will be as successful as Bosworth Field in England, drawing visitors from across the UK and the rest of the world.”
She said the battle site has never been included on maps and is not signposted, though plans are under way to include it in Historic Scotland’s Inventory of Historic Battlefields.
The walkway at the side of the Selkirk-Moffat A708 road will be upgraded to form better links with the Selkirk town trail and the country tracks to Tibbie Tamson’s and the Southern Upland Way.
And the archaeological data will go on interpretation panels and to produce leaflets and a small booklet.
Schools are invited to visit to allow pupils to see archaeologists at work and anyone interested in those visits, metal detecting or showing artefacts should contact Julie Nock at firstname.lastname@example.org