Our responsibilities, Catrine Cotton Works power system

Our Scheduled Ancient Monument

Catrine Community Trust owns and has care of the Scheduled Ancient Monument that is the water power system which used to power the huge Catrine Cotton Works. Much of it has been lost, the huge 50ft diameter, twin Fairbairn water wheels that were a wonder of their time, were sadly demolished in 1947 but the tunnel through the Radical Brae, the artificial lakes known as 'The Voes' (now a designated Nature Reserve), the sluice gates, lade and weir were able to be saved and in time we hope to created a facsimile of the giant wheels to complete the picture..

The Voes

Now, 'The Voes' is a designated Local Nature Reserve but when these artificial lakes were first created they formed an essential part of the control system for the water power for Catrine Cotton Works. Now they are enjoyed by wildlife, tourists and locals alike.

The Weir

Catrine almost lost the weir as it was in a very poor state at the turn of the 21st century but  grants from HLF and from SRDP enabled remediation to take place and the ancient structure was saved.

Our current projects

Connecting Generations

In 2016 hard work by two of our managers obtained a grant for us from Big Lottery for a project we call 'Connecting Generations'. We strive to bring together old and young from the village to share skills and experiences bridging the generational divide with common experiences.

Catrine Games Hall

When the village Games Hall was declared 'surplus to requirements' by East Ayrshire Council a group of villagers got a petition together to try to save it. As the only registered charity in the village, the Trust agreed to help out. The team of enthusiastic volunteers has increased income and foot fall and we're hoping to build a viable business there. Click the image for more or look us up on Facebook.

The Turbines

Using water turbines to make use of the power of the Ayr River is not a 'new' project but it has taken almost 10 years and a lot of hard work and problem solving to finally get this project up and running. That the turbines are now running smoothly and generating income for the village is no small victory. In the future they will also be an educational tool and a tourist attraction.

Future projects and possibilities

The A.M. Brown Institute

The A. M. Brown

Like the Games Hall, the A. M. Brown Institute was at risk of closure. It is a lovely Victorian building but as such, it has special problems associated with listed heritage buildings which need careful handling. The building is an integral part of village life so the Trust is currently undertaking some specialist surveys, a feasibility study and business plan exploring several options for it's future restoration and sustainability as community centre.

The Tunnel

Catrine Community Trust was formed to care for the Scheduled Ancient Monument that is the Catrine Cotton Works unique water power system. As part of that system, to bring water to the 50' diameter Fairbairn Wheels, which powered the mill until 1947, a huge,450 foot long tunnel was dug through the Chapel Brae and the Radical Brae. We are exploring the possibility of restoring it and opening it as a tourist attraction.


From the complex infrastructure of the Cotton Works to the early Christian site reputed to be nearby to the early 20th century water control and drainage system, parts of which still protrude from the hillsides, Catrine has so much archaeology that it's hard to know where to begin. We are discussing the possibilities surrounding a community archaeology project which would also serve as an educational tool for local youngsters. As with everything, funding is required!

What we'd like to do!

The Catrine Wheels

The major items missing from our scheduled ancient monument are the two famous 50 foot diameter 'Fairbairn' water wheels which powered the 5-storey mill until 1947. Railway companies used to run special buses to the village carrying tourists to see them in action and marvel at the rainbows they created as they turned. Recreating the 'Lions of Catrine' would be a major accomplishment.

Woodland on Nimmo's Brae

The Trust owns an area of woodland above the river Ayr known locally as Nimmo's Brae. We hope to find funding to put a proper maintenance schedule into operation and make the woods part of the pathways network of nature walks and educational opportunities which surround our village. We have the bare bones of a maintenance plan which was given to us by the Woodlands Trust but to date have not had the funds or the manpower to implement it.

The fish hatchery

The Trust built a fish hatchery some years ago but changes in river policy and environmental management meant that it was unable to continue. The building and all the equipment is still there and some decisions must be made soon as to how to make it productive once more.