Earlier this month, staff from GUARD Archaeology Ltd carried out a watching brief during work undertaken by Scottish Water at Glasgow Road, Waterfoot. Monitoring was required by East Renfrewshire Council, under advice from the West of Scotland Archaeology Service (WoSAS), because work to upgrade a combined sewer outfall and construct a new headwall on the White Cart Water had the potential to encounter elements of the water management system associated with Dripps Mill. Although the mill itself, which is a category B-listed building, is located around 200m north of the area of ground affected by the proposed development, the weir associated with it lies in the White Cart immediately to the south of the site of the proposed new outfall. This appears to have fed into a sluice on the eastern bank of the river, from which water would then have flowed to the mill by way of the still-extant mill lade.
The lade was located on the opposite bank of the river to the proposed outfall structure, and appeared unlikely to be directly affected by the works. However, the 1st edition also showed a channel running from the Earn Water into the White Cart at a point around 35m to the south of the weir. Evidence for this feature was identified by members of the Association of Certificated Field Archaeologists (ACFA) during their survey of the various farms of Eaglesham Parish (Hunter, S. & Hunter, R., 'Holehouse, Kirkland, Mid Borland & High Borland Farms, the farmlands of Low Borland, Comrigs, Kirkton, Waterfoot Park & enclosures of land surrounding Eaglesham Village: An Archaeological Survey', ACFA Occasional Paper 107, 2010). In their survey report, this was described as lying behind a wall on the eastern side of the B767 Glasgow to Eaglesham Road. It was described as measuring approximately 2m wide x 1m high. According to information supplied by Dr Stuart Nisbet, the Earn Water was diverted through this channel during dry weather so that it could feed into the Dripps Mill dam when there was a shortage of water.
The line of this secondary channel ran through the area that would be affected by installation of the new pipeline, and its presence was confirmed during monitoring work conducted by GUARD. It was not visible at ground level, though this is likely to be because much of the ground in the area was relatively disturbed due to fly tipping and removal of trees. However, removal of this topsoil revealed that the infilled channel did survive below ground, with a maximum width of 3.2 m extending to a maximum depth of 0.58 m, minus the original topsoil of 0.3 m. The lower deposit contained within the cut of the lade comprised a loose grey deposit of well sorted gravel and silt. This deposit was contained within the base of the lade and extended to a maximum depth of 0.15 m. Directly above this a highly compacted dark grey/brown clay loam was present extending to a depth of 0.5 m. This compacted layer comprised of significant quantities of modern refuse, including plastic bags containing refuse, suggesting that infilling of the channel took place in the relatively recent past.