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The policies of Allanton are split between several owners and the house is derelict. A few trees survive from original late-18th-century plantings. The traces of various buildings and the walled garden remain. A lake that was part of the original design has been incorporated into a modern garden.

The following is from the Historic Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. The site was removed from the Inventory on 11/11/2015.

Type of Site

A landscape park, typical of its time, with parkland, lake, woodland in groups, clumps, plantations and single specimens and walled garden.

Location and Setting

Allanton is situated on the A71 between the villages of Allanton and Bonkle, some 2 miles (3km) north-east of Wishaw and some 5 miles (8km) east of Motherwell. It lies on the rolling hillside along the south bank of the South Calder Water. Above the policies and to the south, the ground rises to the moorland of Black Law 1020' (311m) and King's Law 1000' (305m) in the Lanarkshire Hills. Both the nearby towns of Wishaw and Motherwell have spread almost to the village of Bonkle and to the north the village of Allanton has also expanded. The remaining undeveloped land around the site is in agricultural use but most of the holdings appear to be in poor condition. Former views west along the South Calder Water have now been obscured by buildings. There are good views into the remnants of the site from the improved A71 road, which now divides Allanton almost in half.

The house used to lie on the south side of the policies overlooking the lake and the South Calder Water but it has been demolished. The designed landscape was originally encircled by roads. The A71 ran along the western side, before it was realigned through the site, and a minor road runs along the eastern side.

Documentary evidence relies on a survey by John Leslie in 1808, descriptions by contemporary commentators, illustrations by W.Turner and others, and the 1st & 2nd edition OS maps of about 1850 and about 1900. These plans indicate that the policies were oval in shape and stretched between the two roads.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Allanton House and Stables were built to designs by J. Gillespie Graham between 1808-1826. They have been demolished but their foundations can still be clearly traced in the undergrowth. The Eastern Lodge at Crosshill still exists and was illustrated as Plate V in "The Planter's Guide". It is now in poor condition and is surrounded by a scrap metal yard. The Bridge over the lake which was designed by Steuart, with help from Graham, still exists. It has been incorporated into a newly designed garden around a modern house. The Walls of the Kitchen Garden, probably built at the same time as the house, are now crumbling.


Thomas White Snr prepared designs for the park between 1788 and 1808. Most of the designs were implemented. Sir Henry Steuart continued to improve the park by transplanting large trees on his special machine built by his gardener, Mr Nisbet. These trees were planted in a combination of groups, clumps, plantations and single specimens. Steuart also removed the road which went through the middle of the park almost on the same line as that now taken by the A71 trunk road improvements. He made the large lake and built the bridge across it giving the illusion that the lake was a river. The drive from the south was designed to show the full magnificence of the layout. It curled through woodland before opening out onto the lake, crossed the hump-backed bridge and rose gently to the house. W.H. Turner's sketch illustrates this view. Today only one or two of the original trees have survived in the open field to the south of the demolished house. The lake has been redesigned as part of the garden for a modern house sited on the edge of the woodlands.


The woodland stretches between the banks of the South Calder Water and the lake. It was extended at the end of the 19th century. Some of Steuarts trees still remain, towering over the conifers, most of which were planted about 50 years ago.

Walled Garden

A few shrubs, a tall yew and one cut-leafed beech are all that remain of the garden between the house and the walled garden. The walls of the kitchen garden are slowly falling apart and the ground is abandoned, although occasionally grazed by marauding sheep which have escaped from the nearby fields. All the buildings, glasshouses etc have gone, but some of the foundations remain.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

The following is from the Historic Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. The site was removed from the Inventory on 11/11/2015.

Reason for Inclusion

Sir Henry Steuart's artistic layout of the park, woodland and policies at Allanton led to his writing the influential book 'The Planters' Guide', and the landscape provides variety in the surrounding scenery.

Main Phases of Landscape Development

Late 18th and early 19th century (1780-1830)

Site History

Little is known about the designed landscape before Sir Henry Steuart rebuilt the house and redesigned the policies between 1780-1830.

The park was created between 1816 and 1822 by Sir Henry Steuart, Baronet. Steuart had left the army in 1787 and rebuilt and extended his family home in 1788. Between 1788-1808, he employed Thomas White Snr to design the first park and this layout is shown on John Leslie's survey of 1808.

In 1809 Sir Henry asked James Gillespie Graham to enlarge the original castellated building and Graham probably assisted Steuart in the construction of the lodges and bridge in the 1820s. Sir Henry also built Bonkle village for his workmen.

Sir Henry himself redesigned the park using the ideas of the current landscape movement. He became particularly skilled at moving mature trees on a special transplanting machine which he had modified from original designs by "Capability" Brown. In 1828, he published his experiences in a book called "The Planter's Guide" which ran to two editions. His claims were greeted by many of the commentators with some doubt, but when William A. Nesfield visited Allanton in 1838, he wrote "that he who is inclined to be sceptical as to the results of the practical, as well as the theoretical, knowledge of the late Sir Henry, should .... go and witness his success; and it is impossible that he can return otherwise than full of admiration and enthusiasm". William Cobbett also extolled the virtues of the park and wrote in his book "Rural Rides" in 1832 "anything in greater perfection than this, as far as at any rate, relates to trees, it is impossible to conceive. The trees are not only of the proper sort but in their proper places".

In 1882 the estate was owned by one of Sir Henry's descendants and the property was sold sometime before World War II. Today it is broken up into many separate land- holdings. In the mid-1950s the A71 (T) was constructed through the middle of the park.


  • 18th Century
  • Late 18th Century
Associated People
Features & Designations


  • Historic Environment Scotland An Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland


  • House (featured building)
  • Description: The house was built between 1808 and 1826 and is now demolished.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: Traces of the walled garden remain.
  • Lake
  • Description: A lake that was part of the original design has been incorporated into a modern garden.
Key Information






18th Century


Part: standing remains






  • Historic Scotland