Loudoun is a relatively small and rural parish in the east of the county,north of Galston. It lies the north side of the upper valley of the River Irvine. In the Middle Ages, the centre of the parish was at Newmilns, but it later shifted to Loudoun. The village of Loudoun amounts to little more than the parish church on the north bank of the river.
To the north of the parish, on the modern A714 road, lies the small village of Moscow beside the Volga Burn. It includes a row of weaver's cottages dating from around 1800.
Newmilns is located in the Irvine Valley, east of Loudoun. Newmilns was once the centre of one of Ayrshire's most prosperous weaving and lacing making industries. There are many interesting buildings in the town, some of which can be easily missed such as the 16th century Newmilns Tower behind the Loudoun Arms. During the American Civil War, the weavers of Newmilns sent a message of support to Abraham Lincoln, who, in turn, sent them a 'Stars and Stripes' flag. The flag was lost over the years, but in 1949, the American Embassy presented the town with a replacement flag which is now located in the Parish Church.
An 1837 description of Newmilns and Darvel, including a listing of the key personalities of the burgh and village, is given in this extract from Pigot's Directory for Ayrshire. The transcript was provided by Keith Muirhead from Queensland.