Ferry Wood is located on the Ardpatrick Estate, part of Ardpatrick township. In former days it was connected by sea: the name “Ferry Wood” is given to it by dint of it being at one end of a ferry route that existed until the 1950’s across the West Loch. This included intercepting the Islay ferry, meaning that folk could easily travel north-east up the loch to Tarbert, the nearest major settlement. They were self-sufficient in all but coal, and that, too, came by boat.
Today the wee township is only fragilely connected to Tarbert by road, a single track with passing places. To get to the track it is a mile and half’s walk. There is one bus a day, which only operates during school term time.
A few folk still live there. All have cars.
A couple of days ago I walked from Ferry Wood to the road end and waited for the bus. While waiting I took the photos which are included here. They speak to the changing fortunes of a once-thriving village. The local primary school and village hall have long gone, but so has the need for the phone box, for everyone now uses the internet or the smartphone. Likewise I imagine the post box gets very little use.
The quietness of the single track road, which meanders for around 30 miles across the remote western side of South Knapdale, means that it has become part of our National cycle track network.
Ardpatrick is part of the West Coast bioregion, one of many rural bioregions dotted across Scotland. They are destined to be an important part of the global effort to tackle Climate Change. Contemplating this whilst waiting for the bus (which did come – me being the only passenger) – I wondered whether, in 30 years’ time, Ardpatrick would be thriving once more.
Trends and sudden shifts work in varying directions…maybe there is good news out there for our remote rural communities?
Some positive thoughts there, Ed. There are scores of these wee places where the soils haven’t been depleted by the terrible agricultural practices of the last few decades, places that could be brought back if enough folk can decide to inhabit them and the way we organise our land use enables them to do so. Onward and upward!