Duntreath Castle 1188

Blanefield, Scotland

Brief Description

There is late-19th-century parkland at Duntreath Castle and a water and woodland garden of the same period that was restored in the 20th century. The remainder of the gardens have been developed from the mid-20th century and comprise a lake, parterre and formal terrace gardens.

History

Duntreath Castle has been in the hands of the Edmonstone family since the 15th century. The designed landscape was laid out in the mid-19th century and improved in the 20th century.

Detailed Description

The following is from the Historic Environment Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. For the most up-to-date Inventory entry, please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website:

http://portal.historic-scotland.gov.uk/hes/web/f?p=PORTAL:DESIGNATIONS:0

Type of Site

No information available.

Location and Setting

Duntreath Castle is set in the broad valley of the Blane Water some 2.5 miles (4km) north of Strathblane. The river flows through the west side of the policies, and the A81, the main road through the glen, forms the eastern boundary. A former railway line running parallel with the road to the west of the policies now carries the West Highland Way. The Strathblane Hills rise steeply up above the glen to the north and east of the Castle, rising to 1,640' (500m). They are significant in the views from the Castle, as is the wooded mount of Dumgoyach to the north-west. A ridge-line rising to 590' (180m) encloses the policies on the south-west side. There are extensive views along the valley and from higher ground to the hills beyond. The policies, particularly the woodlands, are visible from the A81 to the east.

The designed landscape was laid out after the remodelling of the house in the mid- 19th century. It is bounded by the main road to the east and by the policy walls to the south-west. Parks were laid out to the north and south of the Castle and were planted with many individual parkland trees, particularly in the south park, as shown in the 1st edition OS map of 1858. By 1900 the 2nd edition OS map shows that a west drive and lodge had been added, the offices and walled garden had been built and roundels had been planted in the parks. Since the early 1900s, the woodland garden has been developed and an East Lodge built, but the parkland roundels have gone. There are 200 acres (81ha) in the designed landscape today.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Duntreath Castle, listed B, has a restored, late 14th century tower and a courtyard complex with gatehouse added in 1857. The late 19th century work was by Sydney Mitchell, much of whose work on the surviving part of the Castle still remains. The chapel building remains near the north end of the mansion. The East Gates have swans' heads above the gatepiers, and wrought-iron gates, and are situated at the south-east end of the courtyard. The East Lodge dates from the early 1900s, and the West Lodge, Stables and offices date from the latter half of the 19th century. There is also a Game Larder within the gatehouse, near the castle. There is also some ornamentation within the grounds including the small bridges in the waterfall garden, and an oval stone 'boat' with mill-stone centre, adjacent to the main lawn. within an alcove decorated with urns to the north-west of the Castle.

Parkland

The parklands were laid out in c.1857 and planted up with individual parkland trees, mainly elms and beech. By 1900 several roundels had been added to the parks, but these have since been lost. The beech hedges along the east side of the policies by the main road are attractive and new beech hedges have been planted along the drive.

Woodland

The woodlands are managed on a commercial basis and are a mix of hard and softwoods. Most of the policy woods are a mix of beech, ash and oak with ornamental conifers added in the early 1900s. There are several different fir species which together with the Wellingtonias, are prominent along the skyline. At present, the woodlands contain some pockets of coniferous blocks; however, the future policy is to ensure that all the woodlands visible from the house are planted for amenity.

Woodland Garden

This garden was planted up by Sir Archibald's grandfather and great-aunt in the area to the north-east of the house. A path leads up the hill to the east from the Castle forecourt, through the specimen conifers to the walled garden. A small tributary of the Blane Water has been dammed in places south of the offices to form pools and cascades, and the sides have been extensively planted by the present owner. This top section of the water garden was in the process of being cleared of silt in 1986. The burn passes under the main drive and enters a canalised section through the west side of the woodland garden. Here it flows under a canopy of beech and conifers with varieties of rhododendrons planted at intervals along the banks. Several cascades have been formed along the canal and there are small decorative bridges carrying the paths across it. The paths lead down to the former west drive and back to the Castle and are lined with Victorian Rhododendrons (Pink Pearl) and daffodils in season.

The Gardens

The Castle was built on a terrace above the river and divided from the field below by a ha-ha. Victorian photographs show a large area laid out as lawn with island beds filled with bedding plants. At one time the garden was very formal with topiary and a formal pattern of beds. The terrace to the west of the house with its broad stone staircase leading to the lawn and the lake was added by the present owner in 1990. The forecourt area is in gravel with areas of neatly trimmed lawns leading to two sets of steps to the lower terrace, the central flight having been added in 1985. The sunken garden is now laid out with roses.

Walled Garden

The large walled garden was used as a kitchen garden up to World War II. Since then the derelict glasshouses have been demolished and the garden has been let as a market garden.

Features
  • Castle (featured building)
  • Description: A late-19th-century remodelling of a 14th-century castle keep.
  • Parterre
  • Description: Rose parterre.
  • Walk
  • Description: Woodland walk.
Lake, Fountain, Herbaceous Border
Access & Directions

Directions

http://www.duntreathcastle.co.uk/contact/
History

Detailed History

The following is from the Historic Environment Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. For the most up-to-date Inventory entry, please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website:

http://portal.historic-scotland.gov.uk/hes/web/f?p=PORTAL:DESIGNATIONS:0

Reason for Inclusion

A mid 19th century designed landscape with 20th century improvements, most notable for the architectural value of the castle, terraces and ornamentation. Duntreath has been held by the Edmonstone family since the 15th century.

Main Phases of Landscape Development

No information available.

Site History

There are no plans of the design for the parks or gardens, but the parks were laid out around 1857 and the woodland garden was added c.1900. During the 1980s and 1990s the waterfall garden was unearthed and restored by the current owners, originally created by Alice Keppel. The loch and assoc planting was created in 1970 at the far end of the main lawn by the present owner and wife Juliet following 1968 gale. In 1968 several trees were blown down in the south-west side of the garden and it was decided to develop the craters left behind into a lake with an island crossed to by decorative Japanese-style bridges

Duntreath was granted to a branch of the Lothian-based Edmonstone family as long ago as 1425 after the forfeiture of the estate by the Earl of Lennox. It was granted by James I to William Edmonstone of Culloden who had married Lady Mary Stewart, daughter of Robert III. Duntreath has remained with the Edmonstone family since then. The tower house built in the 14th century was added to an earlier building to its south-east completing a quadrangular arrangement of buildings with gate-houses and barmkin walls. Additions replacing some of the older buildings were made in the 17th century by James Edmonstone, 6th of Duntreath, whose coat of arms and initials have been found on a panel dating from that period.

After the end of the 17th century, Red Hall in County Antrim became the principal seat of the family, and Duntreath was left unoccupied until 1857 when Sir Archibald Edmonstone, 13th of Duntreath and 3rd Baronet, moved back to Scotland. The Castle went through another phase of remodelling but retained the basic plan and many of its features. The parks were laid out at this time and the offices added to the north-east of the Castle. The 4th Baronet, Sir William, succeeded in 1871 and acted as ADC to Queen Victoria. The 5th Baronet, Sir Archibald, was a Groom-in-waiting to Edward VII; Sir Archibald succeeded in 1888 and carried out many improvements to the grounds, including the avenue, which was planted for a visit by the King, and the woodland garden. He was helped in the design of the woodland and water garden by his sister Alice, who had married the Hon. George Keppel in 1891. Further additions were also made to the house at this time, but were later demolished in the 1950s by the present laird, also Sir Archibald, who succeeded in 1954.

Period

  • Mid 19th Century
Contact
References

References