According to Perth and Kinross Council, plans for 312 hectares of film studio and housing have now been withdrawn. That's good news for the Belhie stone and anything else that may lay hidden in the surrounding countryside!
Plans for a massive film studio and housing development at Aberuthven in Perthshire, Scotland, have placed under threat an area rich in ancient sites. Qullico 100 has submitted plans for the huge complex which will not only impact on local archaeology, but will also dwarf the existing village... continues...
On the fertile flood plain of the River Earn, between the farms of Belhie and Haugh of Aberuthven, a complex series of crop marks were spotted on aerial photos. Excavations led to the discovery of several enclosures, a round barrow and a henge, to join the standing stone that is visible above ground.
This stone stands on its own in a field close to Belhie farm on the haughs of Aberuthven. First appearances suggest that it's an isolated site, but in fact the surrounding area features a complex of ritual monuments, mostly only showing up as crop-marks. (see main Belhie grouping)
As can be seen from the photos above, the stone enjoys great views in all directions to the surrounding hills. This open aspect will be changed forever if the plans for a film studio come to fruition, with a hotel and golf clubhouse planned for either side of the standing stone, which would stand at the end of a car park.
Directions - head S from Perth on the A9, and after approximately 10.0km take the turn-off to the right for Aberuthven. The village is small and doesn't have a car park, but there is space to park on the street. To save yourself a walk, park as close as possible to the bridge across the river at the S edge of the village. Cross the bridge on foot, and take the first road on the right, and then immediately the next turn to the right, up a rough farm track, past some cottages on your right. Walk up the track, and after a couple of hundred metres you will pass Loanhead farm on your right. Continue up the track, and you will see Belhie farm straight ahead of you. Keep walking towards Belhie for another couple of hundred metres, until you see a track off to your right heading along the field boundary to a gate at the edge of some trees. Walk along to this gate, which will take you into the field that the stone is in. After climbing over the gate, follow the edge of the field round to your right to get closer to the stone. If there are crops in the field, it's still possible to get decent photographs from the far edge of the field.