Glen Maye covers 11 1/2 acres. It is three miles south of Peel and it has a spectacular bridged gorge and waterfall. One of the features of this glen is the wheel case of "Mona Erin", a water wheel that once provided power for the lead mine. Access to the glen is by bus or car and a large car park is available for patrons of both the Glen and the renowned Waterfall Public House. This is a very popular place for lunches or evening meals.
The name of Glen Maye (or Glen Meaye) and originally Glion Muigh, means "Yellow Glen," and it earned this name from the river which flows through it, as most glens do. Whenever the river flooded, it brought with it the iron residue, which was washed down, from South Barrule and the surrounding hills, turning the water yellow. Glion Muigh was later popularly translated as Glen Mea meaning "Fat or Luxuriant Glen." The late William Cashen suggested that the glen was in fact divided into two parts during the 1500s, the outer part being known as Glion Mooie and the inner part as Glion Sthie. This was caused by the old road crossing lower down the river and dividing the area into two.
The glen was purchased by the Forestry Board in 1960 from the proprietor of the Waterfall Hotel, Agnes Welstead, who had previously acquired it from two men who owned the separate areas of the glen, Richard Edward Hughes in 1950 and Thomas Samuel Caleb Sidney Counsell (who owned the lower section) in early 1960. The trees in the glen were valued for the Forestry Board at £124.6s.6d, firewood value only, due to the difficulty in extracting it.
Public House & Cafe
Entrance to Glen Maye is by the Waterfall Public House. The car park at one time had a large sign instructing drivers to, Park Prettily". The car park belongs to the public house but a deed grants anyone visiting the glen to right to use it.
There was a turnstile as you entered the glen which had the same entrance fee of 3d for over 50 years right up to 1960 when the takings for the year were £150. This is one of the examples of why the private owners of glens could no longer afford their upkeep, and we must be grateful that the Forestry Board started to buy them as they came onto the market.
In 1980, the bridge above the waterfall was replaced at a cost of £14,000. This would have been almost impossible with private ownership. The lower bridge was replaced in 2001.
After enjoying the walk down through the glen, visitors emerging onto the sea shore could visit a little grotto in a small artificial cave, or chat with the resident hermit who happened to be an elderly Manx man paid by the owner of the glen to sit in a cave and read his Bible.
A hermit was also seen by the visitors to Bishopscourt Glen, sitting and reading his bible in the cave there.
There was a small mine, known as "The Mona Erin", at the bottom end of the glen and the wheel case can still be seen.
Quite a few glens had mines in them, although, because of the quantity or the quality of the ore, they were usually short lived. In the early 1980s, the Forestry Board cleared all the bushes and trees from around the site of the wheel case and then had the problem of trying to protect the walls from erosion etc. Dr Larch Garrad of the Manx Museum was contacted and was asked how to preserve it from the weather. Her reply was "SOD IT", so this was duly done and the tops of the walls were covered in sods of earth, which have been very effective.
At one time it was possible to drive down the road at the side of the glen almost onto the sea shore itself, but in the late 1800s it was said that access to the shore via the road was so narrow that there were passing places for one horse only.
To hire a horse and carriage for the day, to take you from Douglas to Glen Maye, at the end of the 19th century would have cost 12s 6d.
In 1928 a tragedy occurred in the glen. A young American visitor to the island decided to dive into the pool at the base of the waterfall and drowned.
[Source: Manx Glens - A stroll through history]
[Acknowledgement: Suzanne Cubbon]