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The mid- to late-18th-century parkland at Dalmahoy was converted into a golf course in 1927 but still retains a number of 18th- and 19th-century plantings. A lake was also made in the mid-18th century and trees from this period grow on its north shore. Ornamental tree planting from the late-18th and 19th century survives from the original pleasure grounds.

The following is from the Historic Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. The site was removed from the Inventory on 07/09/2015.

Type of Site

No information available.

Location and Setting

Dalmahoy is situated on the north edge of the Pentland Hills, some 10 miles (16km) west of Edinburgh city centre and some 3.5 miles (6km) east of the new town of Livingstone. The A71 forms the northern boundary of the site. The policies are largely situated on a very slight northerly incline although the gradient increases along the northern edge down to the valley of the Gogar Burn which flows almost parallel with the A71. Dalmahoy Crags, on the northern edge of Dalmahoy Hill 807' (246m), are situated beyond the south-west edge of the policies and are a significant feature in the surrounding landscape seen from within the policies, and contrast with the otherwise flat agricultural nature of the immediate surroundings. The parkland and woodlands are of moderate significance in the local landscape but views to the policies are limited by the surrounding wall. There are extensive views in all directions from Dalmahoy House, and the obelisk at Aberdour House in Fife was built in 1744 by the 13th Earl of Morton to be viewed from Dalmahoy.

Dalmahoy House is situated within 1,038 acres (420ha) of designed landscape which extends to the A71 in the north and to minor access roads which run along the south, west and east boundaries. Historical evidence of the extent of the designed landscape is confined to three maps: General Roy's map of c.1750, the 1st edition OS map of c.1850, and the 2nd edition OS map of c.1900. Comparison of these maps indicates that the designed landscape originally associated with the present Dalmahoy House was extended after 1750 to the form shown on the 1st edition OS and has remained consistent in extent since then.

Also included within the former policies are the gardens associated with Addistoun House which lie between the Gogar Burn and the A71 and which are the subject of a separate report (q.v.).

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Dalmahoy House, listed category B, was built in 1725 to the design of William Adam. Reference to the elevation of the house in Vitruvius Scoticus would indicate that two flanking wings proposed for the north and south sides were never built. An office wing was added to the north front in 1787 to the design of Alexander Laing. Additions were made to the house by the Douglas family in 1830 by William Burn and alterations by Wardrop & Reid were carried out in 1851. The Home Farm, listed category C, incorporated the Stable-block and is thought to date from the mid-18th century but has been altered since 1964. Dalmahoy Bridge, listed category B, spans the Gogar Burn and dates from the late 19th century; it is thought to be to the design of Alexander Laing (ref. Pevsner). St. Mary's Episcopal Church, listed category B, stands on the west side of the north drive, built in 1850 to the design of John Henderson. The North Entrance to the policies, listed category B, dates from the early 18th century. Two Gatepiers stand on the east side of the north drive at the entrance to what is indicated on the 1st edition OS map as a footpath through the park. The South Lodge has been lost. The Doocot, listed category B, stands in the park on the west side of the Addistoun drive. A Sundial stands in a rose bed adjacent to Dalmahoy House. Dalmahoy Grange is a modern house built on the northern edge of the policies on the east side of the north drive.


The parkland was laid out by the 14th Earl of Morton between 1750-68 and was established by 1793 according to the Statistical Account of that year as the dominant feature of the designed landscape. The Deer Park lay to the east and south of the house while the fields to the west were enclosed by shelterbelts, and described by J.C. Loudon in 1824 as being 'subdivided into less commodious inclosures by strips of plantation'.

The main feature of the original formal layout of 1725 was the avenue to the east. This was swept away by the Earl of Morton and replaced by a loch to the east of the house and south of the stables, around which ornamental trees were established. Walks meandered past the loch through the parkland to the woodland beyond. Keirshill pond is sited on the edge of the park to the east of Addistoun House. The south drive indicated on both the 1st & 2nd editions OS maps has now gone. Access to the stables and house is via the north drive and over the Dalmahoy Bridge. A number of ornamental conifers were planted in the valley of the Gogar Burn in the Victorian period.

The East Golf Course was laid out in the parkland adjacent to the house in 1927 to the design of James Braid (6,664 yards, Par 72). The West Golf Course was a later addition (shorter at 5,212 yards and Par 67) and is sited to the west of the house. The development of this latter course resulted in the removal of the shelter strips nearest the house and the south drive. Some existing 18th & 19th century lime and other mixed deciduous trees were incorporated in the course design but other additional ornamental trees have since been planted.

The outlying parklands on the south-west and eastern edges of the policies are now farmed. An area to the east of Keirshill Pond is used for polo between May - September. In these areas, the groups of trees shown on the 1st edition OS have gone and only a few individual specimens remain.


Crow Wood lies along the banks of the Gogar Burn and extends along the eastern boundary. It is a mix of deciduous and coniferous species. Footpaths are shown through it on the 1st edition OS map linking Dalmahoy House to Addistoun House, the former Dower House of the estate. The paths crossed the Gogar Burn at various points and a summerhouse was situated on the edge of the wood at Keirshill Pond.

Merrydean, or Muir o' Dean, Plantation was established along the southern boundary and it, too, incorporated various paths through it. Since 1910, the central area of the wood has been removed and reclaimed as farmland leaving two wings of the former wood projecting into the park.

To the west of the house are Loudon's 'lesser commodious shelter inclosures' established in the 18th century by Lord Morton. The trees here now date from the late 19th century and include beech and other, younger, mixed deciduous species. The shelter strips nearest the house were removed as part of the development of the West Golf Course.

The Gardens

There is little evidence of a designed garden at Dalmahoy but ornamental planting remains in three areas. To the south of the house, separated from the park by a ha-ha, are remnants of ornamental planting of yew and sweet chestnut dating from c.1750 with later Victorian additions of yew, holly and Rhododendron. To the north of the house, a car park has been made within the canopy of yew and birch; new ornamental conifers have been planted on the north drive. Along the north edge of the loch are lime trees dating from the mid-18th century and some yew. This area, which appears to have been an ornamental wood extending from the loch to the walled garden, is now overgrown, with naturally regenerating birch, hawthorn and sycamore.

Walled Garden

The walled garden was situated on the east side of the stable-block. Its outline is shown on the 1st & 2nd edition OS maps but there appears to be no record of the original layout. The south wall and part of the east wall remain but farm sheds now stand in the interior of the garden and the remainder of the area is used for farm storage.

A nursery was sited to the north-west of the house on the edge of the A71 at Hatton Mains.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

The following is from the Historic Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. The site was removed from the Inventory on 07/09/2015.

Reason for Inclusion

The parkland and woodland within the designed landscape at Damahoy make an important contribution to the local scenery and provide the setting for some interesting architectural features.

Main Phases of Landscape Development

No information available.

Site History

A formal designed landscape was laid out between 1725-1750 after which time it was informalised to its present structure although the designer is uncertain. Since the development of the Golf Club in 1927, some alterations have been made in the parks to accord with the layout of the courses. The East Golf Course was laid out by James Braid.

The estate of Dalmahoy belonged to the Dalmahoys of that Ilk. The first known member of the family was Henry de Dalmahoy who lived in the 13th century during the reign of Alexander III. The estate is thought to have remained in their ownership until it passed to the Stair family. The exact date of the transaction is uncertain but, by 1720, it was the property of George Dalrymple, youngest son of the 1st Earl of Stair, who was one of the Barons of the Exchequer in Scotland. The location and form of the house and any designed landscape which existed by this time is uncertain.

William Adam was commissioned to build a new house which was completed in 1725. The formal designed landscape which was subsequently laid out is indicated on General Roy's map. One of the main features of this landscape was the long avenue to the east of the house. Geometric plantations of woodland were laid out around the house following the east/west and north/south formal pattern.

James Douglas, 14th Earl of Morton, purchased the estate c.1750. The Morton family dates from 1174; the Earldom was created in 1458 and the 4th Earl was made Regent of Scotland in 1572. His descendant, the 14th Earl, was responsible for informalising the original layout of the house and extending it to the form shown on the 1st edition OS map to include the estate of Addistoun, which became the Dower House of Dalmahoy. The Statistical Account of 1793 describes the house as being 'finely situated in the middle of a great park containing 400-500 acres, inclosed by one of the best walls in Scotland and subdivided into commodious inclosures by sunk fences and belts of plantation forming altogether a very beautiful and extensive scene which was laid out by the grandfather of the present Earl.'

The 18th Earl succeeded in 1858 and his son, the 19th Earl, inherited his father's estates in 1884. During their ownership, minor changes were made in the policies which can be seen by comparison of the 1st & 2nd edition OS maps. These changes included the loss of the woodland which flanked the south drive, and the drive which spurred off it to approach the house from the south side. The golf course was established in 1927 and, at that time, the house was converted for use as a small private hotel. Addistoun House was sold to private owners in 1937. The 21st Earl succeeded his cousin in 1976 and has continued to farm the policies. The 50-year lease held by the hotel expired in 1977 and the estate subsequently established the Country Club in the building.

Associated People
Features & Designations


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


  • Lake
  • Doocot
  • Description: Doocot situated near Addistoun House
  • House (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Key Information





Principal Building






Open to the public





  • Historic Scotland