Todholes, Fintry Hills, Stirlingshire

Cairn:  OS Grid Reference – NS 67761 87011

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 45284

Getting Here

Todholes Cairn one wintry evening

Todholes Cairn one wintry eve

Along the B818 road that runs between Fintry and Denny, get to the western end of the Loch Carron reservoir and park up at the entrance to the forest.  Across the road, walk up the track towards the (planned) wind farm.  Nearly a mile along watch out for the walling of derelict buildings on the slope above the track—but instead of walking up to them (west), walk up the slope on the other side of the track (east), over the annoying fence, then another one barely 50 yards away.  The large fairy mound on the moorland plain barely 100 yards ahead is the site in question.

Archaeology & History

Todholes Cairn looking north

Todholes Cairn looking north

On the day that Paul Hornby, Nina Harris and I visited this site, Nature had been watering Her ground excessively and the moorland was becoming an immense bog.  The daylight was fading fast too, so we didn’t get much time to sit and play and take in the colourful panorama that unfolds its vision as She normally would—and it would be a magnificent view on a clear bright day!  Instead, Her grey carpets and skies darkened quickly, leaving only a bare meander around this old prehistoric tomb before us.  It’s quite a big thing too…

Records of it are scant, both in archaeology accounts and popular culture.  In 1952 the Royal Commission (1963) lads visited the site and subsequently wrote that:

“This cairn…consists of a grass-covered mound of stones which stands to a height of 8ft and measures about 55ft in diameter. Two large boulders which lie at the foot of the mound to the south may represent the remains of a peristalith.  Three small holes caused by quarrying or by excavation appear on the surface of the cairn.”

Another cairn can be found a short distance northwest and what seems to be the remains of a prehistoric hut circle was visible on the moorland plain a few hundred yards south.  The word ‘todholes’ derives from ‘the abode of foxes’—and I saw two dead foxes recently shot by local land-owners hereby, showing that the place-name is valid.


  1. Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments Scotland, Stirlingshire – volume 1, HMSO: Edinburgh 1963.
  2. Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Stirling District, Central Region, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 1979.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

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