The name of this stretch of road is a reference to an old tradition. People would arm themselves with a Rowan tree rung – a stick from a Rowan tree, and two pieces of red thread. These were supposed to ward off witches who would lie in wait in this place.
Witches were often thought to be able to transform into animals or have animals that they could talk to as familiars. One of the most common animals associated with witches are hares. There are species of hare found in Southern Scotland, the Brown Hare and the Mountain Hare.