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Ballure Glen

Ballure Glen and walk on the outskirts of Ramsey in the Isle of Man was opened to the public in 1959

Ballure Glen and walk, on the southern outskirts of Ramsey, runs from the seashore in the south east corner of Ramsey Bay and travels up between Slieau Lewaigue and Lhergy Frizzell.  The stream adjoining the walk flows down from North Barrule, the second highest peak on the Island.  Access is by car, bus or electric tram. Car parking is not provided.  One of the entrances to this glen is from the coast road into Ramsey via Ballure Walk, but it can also be accessed from the beach.  Ballure Walk consists of an area of grassland with scattered trees, fuchsia bushes and buddleia, which attracts butterflies and insects.  One of the paths in this walk leads to a magnificent viewpoint, looking left, over Queen's Pier in Ramsey and looking right to Gob ny Rona (headland of the seals). In springtime as you walk through Ballure Glen you are met by the wonderful aroma of wild garlic or ramsons.  If you follow the stream all the way, you arrive at the beach.  If you take the stone steps upwards, leaving the river, and follow the path between two stone walls, you will find yourself on the main Ballure Road again.

History
The name Ballure may originate from a Gaelic word Ball-y-ure meaning "the place of the yew".  The glen was created by the Ramsey Water Company after their waterworks were opened in 1885.  In 1945, it was sold by Annie Christian, widow of John Edward Christian from Derby, to Joseph Henry Murray, a manufacturer, formerly of Lea Grange, Blackley, Manchester.

Mr Murray thought it only right that the Manx people should be allowed to enjoy the glen and its beauty, so he in turn then offered the glen in 1959 to the Isle of Man Forestry, Mines & Lands Board, for the princely sum of 5 shillings.  When this glen was first acquired, it was described, in a report to the Forestry, Mines & Lands Board, that the land at Dunluce, which had been donated by Mr Murray, was situated on the south eastern boundary of Ramsey and was of an eastern aspect.  By nature it consisted of a long strip of land, some ten acres, rising from sea level by steep vegetation-covered cliffs to form an undulating strip bordered on the south west by the Manx Electric Railway.  A small portion also lay beyond the railway and adjoined the main Ramsey to Douglas Road at Ballure Bridge.  The main stretch of land was covered by a dense mat of briars, bracken and gorse, making walking through it a very difficult task.  However, thriving in the midst of it all were some excellent ornamental shrubs.  Because of the position of this glen and its exposure to the sea air, only the hardiest and salt resistant species of plants survive, although areas near the bridge support a wider variety.

In 1963 the Local Government Board gave permission for a bridge to be erected across the river to connect Ballure Walk with the public footpath down to the beach.

Baby Found
On Sunday April 14th 1946 children playing in the glen found a brown paper parcel lying in the undergrowth beneath the Manx Electric Railway bridge.  At first they thought it was a cat but they returned later with an older boy of thirteen who untied the parcel and discovered a baby girl.  She was taken to the police who then transferred her to Ramsey Cottage Hospital where she was diagnosed as suffering from exposure.  It was estimated that she was six days old and had probably been in the glen for about twelve hours.  Her parents were never found and she was adopted by a family off the Island.

Boy Rescued
Ballure has had a history of cliff erosion and in 1974 a boy trapped on the banks had to be rescued by the combined efforts of the Coast Guard and the Police with walkie-talkies.  It was also in this year that the footpath at the top of the cliffs had to be diverted.

In 1978 warning boards were erected at the foot of the cliffs along with a further two boards elsewhere.  The footpath was again diverted in 2000.

Smuggling
The glen has an interesting link with smuggling, as the Carras-dhoo men, who were well known smugglers, were said to have had their headquarters near the foot of the glen.

Railway Bridge
The Manx Electric Railway bridge, which spans the glen, was built in 1899 by Francis Morton & Co of Garston, Liverpool, and erected by William Knowles CE.  Presumably he was not alone on this job.  It was refurbished in 1991.  It totals 180 feet in length and is 50 feet above the river.

Originally the trams terminated at Ballure Station where there were tram sheds to accommodate six trams.  When it was decided to extend the line into Ramsey, the bridge over the glen was required to be built and the tram sheds were dismantled and re-erected at the new terminus.  The bridge slopes 23 inches to accommodate the gradient.

[Source: Manx Glens - A stroll through history]

[Acknowledgement: Suzanne Cubbon]

map of Ballure Glen