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Duntrune Castle


Set on the shores of Loch Crinan, the designed landscape at Duntrune Castle features a walled garden whose walls were restored in the mid-19th century. The mid-20th century gardens within it are divided into several compartments linked by paths, and contain a wide variety of plants set off by statuary and urns. In one corner a temple on a raised mound overlooks the garden. The wider estate currently provides self-catering accommodation.

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:

Type of Site

No information available.

Location and Setting

Duntrune Castle is situated on a rocky promontory above the north shore of Loch Crinan about 12 miles (19.5km) due west of Lochgilphead. It lies about 2 miles (3km) west of the Bellanoch to Kilmartin road, the B8025. The garden is set back from the rocky seashore and lies in the slightly deeper acid soil. The conifer windbreak provides protection from the prevailing south-westerly winds and the Gulf Stream ensures a mild damp climate. The surrounding landscape is poor upland moorland. The garden itself has only filtered views out to the east across Moine Mhor. The small tree belt can be seen from the surrounding area.

Duntrune Castle stands to the south of the garden which lies in a slight depression protected from the winds by a small woodland. Surrounded on three sides by the sea, the designed landscape is confined to the narrow strip of land along the promontory. It extends to some 18 acres (7ha). There are extensive views from the Castle across Loch Crinan and along Crinan Moss.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Duntrune Castle, listed category A, was rebuilt in the 17th century and incorporated some 13th century walls. It was renovated in the early 19th century and an addition, almost doubling the size of the house, was built along the west and north sides of the courtyard in c.1850. It was modernised in 1954.

The Stables and row of Cottages are stone, built probably in the mid-19th century. The gate piers surmounted by stags were brought here from the forecourt of Poltalloch House. A Gardener's Cottage adjacent to the walled garden is 20th century. The low garden Walls were probably constructed in the mid-19th century. In the garden there is a selection of ornamentation: statues, urns, and a sundial. Several of these were moved from Poltalloch House when it became disused in c.1957, including two magnificent eagles, stone balustrades from the terraced garden and several columns from the hall. An imposing Tempietta was made from columns acquired from Burlington House; its ironwork was executed by the estate blacksmith, Peter Campbell.

The Gardens

The garden is approached by a small gate in the low stone east wall. Basically rectangular in shape, it is now divided into a series of small gardens joined together by a network of winding paths; some are made from crazy paving, others are set like stepping stones, and several are laid with grass. Before Mrs Malcolm created the garden, the ground sloped gently towards the south. This slope has been terraced and on the top one, a croquet lawn was made in the north-east corner, edged on two sides with the balustrade. The terrace is protected by the shelter tree planting behind. This planting is mainly hardwood consisting of beech, sycamore and oak with occasional conifers such as larch and Scots pine. In the woodland glades alongside the garden, several ornamental small trees and large shrubs were planted including several white- stemmed birches.

At the eastern end of the garden, vegetables and fruit are still grown in a garden protected by a wooden cage covered with wire netting. Towards the south-west corner, the elegant Tempietta has been erected on a slightly raised mound overlooking the garden.

Between these various features and linking them together are the small paths and intimate gardens, some framed by low hedges. In one of these gardens, a small spring has been harnessed to provide a small water feature, and the adjacent damp area provides perfect conditions for a wide range of Primulas. Ornamentation, including statues, urns and a stone lantern has been placed within each of the gardens to provide a focus for each area. A wide variety of herbaceous, tender sub-shrubs and smaller shrubs have been planted for their texture or colour and these combine to form an attractive garden.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

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:

Reason for Inclusion

Duntrune Castle designed landscape makes a striking scenic feature when viewed from the shore of Loch Crinan. It forms an impressive setting for the category A listed castle, hosts and interesting plant collection and provides valuable wildlife habitats.

Main Phases of Landscape Development

No information available.

Site History

The designed landscape around the Castle was created in the mid-19th century and the garden within the walled garden was developed from the late 1950s.

Duntrune Castle was the ancient seat of the Campbells of Duntroon and of Oib and it is claimed to be the oldest continually inhabited Castle in Britain. After the Campbell of Duntrune had lost his money in the collapse of the Bank of Ayr, Duntrune was acquired from a consortium by the Malcolms of Poltalloch in c.1792. Neill Malcolm of Kilmartin House completely repaired it in the early 19th century and probably restored the walled kitchen garden at the same time. It is likely that he also planted the first shelterbelt between the Castle and the garden as well as renovating the stone cottages. After the completion of Poltalloch House in 1854 (then called Callton Mhor), Duntrune Castle continued to be lived in as a holiday cottage and residence for the cleric. The Castle was modernished by Colonel and Mrs Malcolm in the 1950s. It was at this time that the present garden was created.


Victorian (1837-1901)

Features & Designations


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


  • Temple
  • Statue
  • Urn
Key Information





Principal Building



Victorian (1837-1901)








  • Historic Scotland