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Bowshiel (originally Bowschiell) Dean
bow, Scots, noun, 'Cattle' + schiell, shiel, or sheill, Scots, noun, 'Shelter'. Dean, Scots (Borders), noun, 'valley or Glen'.
A Valley for Sheltering Cattle
The Concise Scots Dictionary defines a shieling or shiel as: ‘A hut or rude shelter, a temporary house of stones, sods, etc., esp. one built for the accommodation of shepherds and dairy maids in the higher or more remote areas used as summer grazing ground for sheep and cattle.
Today's Bowshiel first appears as 'Bowsheel' on Joan Blaue's 1645 map of 'the Merse or Shirreffdome of Berwick'. Later maps, such as Sharp, Greenwood and Fowler's 1826 survey, show 'Bowshiel Wood', 'Haddie's Cleugh' and the unnamed Stackyard as oak woodland at various parts of the Dean. The first Ordnance Survey of 1854 shows the same afforested areas along the Dean and Bowshiel is mentioned in other historical sources of the time as an oak charcoal woodland.
The 20th Century saw the decimation of the site, with areas cleared for grazing and spruce and fir planted for commercial profit.
The Woodland has been family owned since 2003. During this time, over 22,000 Oak, Birch, Aspen, Holly, Hawthorne, Rowan, Wild Cherry, Hazel and Blackthorn trees have been planted and the site has also benefitted from significant regeneration as the soil and flora have readapted to their more natural state.
Bowshiel is beginning to look a little more like it would have in 1645..
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