This Picturesque site is of national importance, incorporating New Lanark, and the estates of Corehouse, Bonnington, Braxfield and Castlebank Park. Whilst the name Falls of Clyde is a collective for the above sites it must be remembered that the designed landscapes of each estate are important in their own right.Bonnington Estate has the remains of an 18th century landscaped park and picturesque walks along the Clyde. Castlebank incorporates all the elements of a small estate, with a mansion house and a small park. The site is now a public park, Castlebank Park, but all the elements are retained. Braxfield is a small parkland landscape with an overgrown picturesque walk overlooking the River Clyde.
The 1708 date on the Bonnington pavilion, overlooking Corra Linn, suggests that by this time the Falls were already appreciated for their picturesque qualities. Many writers, artists and tourists to the site recorded their experiences and thus influenced the development of picturesque landscape design in the UK and Europe. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries drives, paths, viewpoints and other incidents were constructed in the surrounding estate landscapes to enhance the experience. Trees and shrubs were planted to create vistas or to mark and beautify viewpoints.
Detailed DescriptionThe 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
Picturesque site of national importance, incorporating New Lanark, and the estates of Corehouse, Bonnington, Braxfield and Castlebank Park. Whilst the name Falls of Clyde is a collective for the above sites it must be remembered that the designed landscapes of each estate are important in their own right.
Bonnington Estate has the remains of an 18th century landscaped park and picturesque walks along the Clyde. Castlebank incorporates all the elements of a small estate, with a mansion house and a small park. The site is now a public park, Castlebank Park, but all the elements are retained. Braxfield is a small parkland landscape with an overgrown picturesque walk overlooking the River Clyde.
Location and Setting
The site lies along a section of the Clyde valley west of Lanark and approximately 35 km south of Glasgow. The northern boundary lies at the point where the A72 road crosses the Clyde beside the old Clydesholme Bridge at Kirkfieldbank. The intake weir for Bonnington and Stonebyres power stations lies close to the site's southern boundary. The Braxfield Road to Robiesland generally marks the eastern side boundary, and the Byretown Road marks the west. The Corehouse estate lies on the west bank of the Clyde opposite Castlebank, Braxfield and Bonnington estates which lie on the east side of the river. New Lanark, built on land formerly part of the Braxfield estate is situated on the southern side of what is now known as Braxfield Park. The natural topography of the area is undulating, but the landscape character changes dramatically as the Clyde carves its way through a deeply incised river gorge. The main views are mostly inward-looking towards and across the falls and the river. The early historical development of the estates around Falls of Clyde is complex. The estate boundaries of Corehouse, Castlebank, Braxfield and Bonnington seem to have changed little since the 1st edition OS map of 1857.
Corehouse is an inward-looking and heavily wooded landscape. The main views are from the north drive across the River Clyde to New Lanark and the Braxfield estate, although views of Braxfield are now obscured by mature trees. There are also views of Bonnington and Corra Linns along the riverside path where viewpoints or 'stations' have been deliberately formed.
The Bonnington estate is adjacent to New Lanark on the east bank of the River Clyde, off the A73 out of Lanark. The core of the estate is hidden from the main road but the beech avenue approach provides some interest. The policies are set below the road on undulating ground above the cliffline of the River Clyde. The parkland is degraded but views from the approach give a good idea of how it must have been. The landscape is bounded by the River Clyde to the west, and the Ponclair Burn to the north. An estate wall runs south from the Ponclair Burn right down to the Tulliford Ferry site on the Clyde. The beech avenue from the main road to Bonnington in also included. There are no known surviving estate plans.
Castlebank Park is situated on the south side of Lanark. The River Clyde forms its southern boundary whilst the Gullie Tudlem Glen bounds the site to the east, and the grounds of Braxfield House lie beyond. Castlebank Park is now situated within residential housing of Lanark. The landscape is compact and well defined. The estate is bounded by a quiet residential road to the north and the River Clyde to the south. The land of another property bounds the property to the west whilst the Gullie Tudlem Glen bounds the property to the east. The landscape does not appear to have contracted or expanded over the years since the 19th century.
Braxfield lies to the south of the town of Lanark, and just south of Lanark Castle, on a promontory on the River Clyde. There are views to Braxfield from the Corehouse estate on the other side of the River Clyde, and bits of it are visible from Gullie Tudlem which forms the boundary to the north. Braxfield has an urban setting in the southern part of Lanark. The Braxfield estate is bounded by the Braxfield Burn to the north and the River Clyde to the west, Castle Hill lies to the east and New Lanark to the south. The first Braxfield house was late 18th century and was probably built at around the time work started on New Lanark. It is probable that the boundaries have remained the same since it was built.
Corehouse was built by George Cranstoun, Lord Cranstoun 1824-27 and designed by Edward Blore who had done some work for Sir Walter Scott at Abbotsford. The house is built in the Elizabethan Cotswold style. There is a stone balustraded terrace all the way around the house. Corra Castle, now a ruin, lies to the south of the mansion of Corehouse. It is sited on an isolated promontory overlooking the Falls of Clyde with perpendicular cliffs on three sides. The partly-collapsed Walled Garden is sited to the north of the house, on sloping ground above the River Clyde. It is rubble-built and roughly oval in shape. There is a derelict range of glasshouses on the north side of the walled garden, and potting sheds. The Walled Garden lies beyond the remains of the former Flower Garden and Conservatory, of which only a small part of the ballustrading is left. The dovecot is 17th century and of rectangular layout. The Cranstoun Mausoleum is sited in the woods to the north-west of the house and is a small rectangular stone building.
Several Stone Bridges cross the Corehouse burn. These may be contemporary with the walls and railings forming the Viewing Stations built into the river bank above the Clyde. A walled sunken path traverses the parkland south of the house, linking the Arboretum with the South Drive. The North Lodge is single-storey and sits alongside a pair of wrought-iron gates and ashlar gatepiers. Corehouse Farmhouse, West Lodge and Damhill Lodge lie adjacent to the west drive. An Ice-house is built into an earthen mound by the west drive. The Stable Courtyard (in separate ownership) lies near the West Lodge. West Lodge Cistern, by Corehouse Farmhouse, is a brick vaulted structure with a turf roof. Tulliford Lodge which stood at the end of the south drive was recently demolished after being vandalised. Lake Cottage is no longer extant. There are no visible remains of Corra Linn Mill, a small cornmill which once stood below the cliffs near Corra Castle. There are other estate buildings beyond the core landscape.
Bonnington House was demolished in the 1950s. It was designed by Gillespie Graham who also carried out work for Sir Charles and Lady Ross at Balnagowan. The pavilion at Corra Linn has a complex history. A datestone proclaims its existence from 1708, but it has been much altered. The interior is described in the Ordnance Name Book as being fitted with mirrors. The direction from which the building is approached has also been changed. Fountain Bowl and pipe, described in Dorothy Wordsworth's 'A Tour in Scotland', can be seen on a walk overlooking the River Clyde. The metal pipe drips into a round stone bowl. The walled garden is built of stone and is falling down in parts. There is the foundations of a Fog House/Summer House also described in Dorothy Wordsworth's book which is linked to the cliff walks by an iron bridge. There is a good stone estate wall running from the New Lanark end of the estate, south to Robiesland and down towards the River Clyde. The Lodge is single-storey with date stone. The Falls of Clyde Hydro-electric station - part of the Stonebyres and Bonnington scheme - still has original Francis type turbines.
Castlebank House is an 18th century mansion with mid-19th century additions. The 18th century garden terraces lie to the south of the house and consists of terraces with rubble retaining walls and in some places brick buttresses. Castlebank House stables of squared rubble with ashlar dressings. There is a single-storey lodge. It has a slate roof with stone finials, and curved brick entrance walls with four stone piers. Wrought iron hand-gates with wrought iron overthrow ornament this entrance with the lettering of Castlebank Park. A stone wall divides the grounds from the public road to the north. There are late 19th century glasshouses.
The ruins of the mid-18th century mansion of Braxfield House lie in the northern part of the policies. A crow stepped wing at the rear suggests there may be an earlier core. The later house is mid-18th century. The stables sited to the north of the house are late 18th century and rubble built. The walled garden lies to the south of the house on sloping ground positioned to take full advantage of the aspect. The walled garden is built on sloping ground to the south of the house. The walls are curved following the contours of the ground.
Drives and Approaches
The main approach to Corehouse is from the north at Kirkfield bank, a crossing point over the Clyde. The curving drive follows the banks of the river and there are views to the landscape on the opposite side, although these have been much obscured by trees. These views include the estate of Braxfield and the town of New Lanark, parts of Lanark including Castlebank public park, previously a private house and garden. Included in these views is planting which survives on the crests of the hills such as mature beech behind Braxfield Terrace and the planting above New Lanark. From the opposite side, the planting at Corehouse became an important backdrop for New Lanark. This point is illustrated in a watercolour by John Winning, 1818.
The grounds are said to be laid out by Charles Landseer, the younger brother of Edwin. The approach is recorded as being one of his best designs. In the survey of 1841 by George Buchanan, this whole approach to the Corehouse is called the Pleasure Grounds. According to the plan by Buchanan there were unplanted areas of bank which afforded views across the river. These were followed by contrasting patches of densely planted trees, with open areas to the west with views into the hilly grounds with planted knolls. Some of these knolls survive, with species including Scots pine, Douglas fir, Norway spruce, Sitka and grand fir. The areas of dense woodland along the drive are conifer plantations today.
Sir Walter Scott was a great friend of Lord Corehouse and was known to have commented favourably on the landscape. As the drive draws away from the river there were open glades above and below the drive, but these are largely planted with conifer plantations so much of the drama and contrast provided by going from light to dark has been lost.
There are also two other approaches, from the west and from the south. The first western approach has been altered at a later date, continuing the drive through the wooded grounds and joining up with the north approach. There is another drive with lodges, also to the west which goes through the farmyard. The southern drive came at a later date following the wide slow course of the river from this end, and is in marked contrast to the rushing falls.
There are two main drives to the Bonnington estate. The main drive is from the A73 and is lined with beech trees. There is no lodge until well into the estate, probably because the walled estate track that runs from New Lanark to the ferry crossing was the main road until the building of the A73. The drive gives a good approach to the estate running from high ground with views over the park at Bonnington below, and to Corehouse beyond. The other drive comes from New Lanark and runs parallel with the River Clyde. The drive splits nearer the house with another branch going in the direction of the pavilion overlooking the Clyde. This drive was also the entrance for the public visiting the Falls. Entry money was paid at the lodge, which no longer exists.
The drive to the estate is now shared with the power station.
There are two drives to Castlebank, one has been made into the main entrance to the park and a car park built a little way into the park. The drive curves around a small area of parkland to the front of the house and then continues to another gate on the same road.
The south lodge and drive lie close to the village of New Lanark. The drive curves around the contour of the hill before arriving at the house. There is also a north entrance from Castle Hill which approaches the house from the back.
Paths and Walks
Like Corehouse and Bonnington the owners of Braxfield responded to the picturesque views over the Clyde by making paths along the edge of the landscape overlooking the River Clyde. These have been obscured by later commercial planting.
There is scant evidence of the parkland today that is visible on the 1841 survey. The ground to the east of the house towards the river was clearly of a more open nature than it is today, with mixed plantings of deciduous coniferous trees but well spaced in gardenesque style, with lawn.
The garden was first depicted in a survey by George Buchanan of 1841 and is a good example of the domestic picturesque which was promoted by John Claudius Loudon. It includes a Flower Garden to the north-west of the house which lies to one side of a burn. The garden is reached at various points by bridges which lead the pleasure seeker to a shrubbery planted with specimen trees and divided up by winding paths. The paths still exist, but the sense has to some extent been lost. There is the remains of a small conservatory which lies within a small balustraded area which was laid out with formal gardens.
The gardens around the house were and are extremely plain and complement the architecture of the house. A set of bastioned earth terraces runs north south through the line of the house. The bastions on the south side are planted with clumps of trees, and a dial is placed on the terrace. There is a stone terrace all the way around the house in 17th century style.
A walk from the house leads to the ruined Corra Castle and the various vantage points for Corra Linn. Steps cut into the rocks lead the tourist close to the water for the ultimate sublime experience.
To the north of the house is Swallow Gill, a shady gully planned with winding and rocky paths which leads to The Mill Gill, a burn which is crossed by rustic bridges. The Mill Gill and Swallow Gill, are divided by a piece of high ground on which is planted a beech avenue. The walks from here lead to the kitchen garden, which is also laid out in the fashion of the time as a flower garden and a vegetable garden and formed part of the garden walks. The shape of the walled garden is mirrored by an open piece of ground to the north. The reason for it is not known.
The parkland at Bonnington is of an undulating appearance which is the result of fluvio-glacial deposits of sands and gravels. These formations, sometimes referred to as kame and kettle are formed as a result of fast melting snow during the ice age. The area of square parks to the south-east of the walled garden has now lost its enclosure character and the woods with radiating rides indicated on Roy's survey have been felled and the land turned over to arable use. A few parkland trees survive around the site of Bonnington House. However a comparison between aerial photographs of 1946 and 1988 shows that there has been very heavy tree loss.
The main area of parkland lies to the north and south of the house. The earlier planting is mostly mid-19th century.
A small area of parkland lies to the north side of the drive and a few specimen trees survive, but the area has been somewhat compromised by some commercial conifer plantation. A few of the parkland trees may date back to Lord Braxfield's time but most are 19th century and later.
The 2nd Edition 6', O.S. shows that there was a thick band of mixed deciduous coniferous woodland to the north-east of the house site. The aerial photograph of 1946 shows mixed woodland overlooking the River Clyde and the paths through the woods to the east of the walled garden are clearly discernable. This area is now entirely taken over by coniferous plantations. Beech trees planted in the 19th century have made a strong impression on the estate particularly where they are planted in boundary areas.
There is a thick band of commercial conifer plantation around the boundary of the site overlooking the River Clyde and a block of mixed woodland to the north of the drive, between the drive and the Castlehill. The woodland is listed in the Nature Conservancy Council's survey covering Scotland and is listed of interest under Long Established Woodland of semi-natural origin.
A silted up lake lies to the north-west of the house which is first shown on the First Edition O.S. 1857, but is not indicated on the estate plan of 1841. There was a cottage by the lake and some other small buildings but none of these survive.
There is a silted up pond to the north of the doocot which is shown on the 1841 plan.
The garden and park lie around the house with no real dividing line. A rock garden and summerhouse lie in the north-west corner of the grounds overlooking the site of an old pond and may date back to the earlier years of this century. On the grass terrace below the house is an example of Graham Moore's 'herbi-culture', patterns cut in the grass to represent a formal garden.
Walks lead from the Beech avenue and the burn to the kitchen garden. This is situated to the north of the house and above the line of the north drive. It is an irregularly shaped garden, partly enclosed by a rubble wall on its northern aspect. The wall has fallen down in places and the potting sheds and glasshouses are derelict. According to the estate plan of 1841 it was laid out in the fashion of the time as a flower and vegetable garden and was part of the estate walks. To the north of the walled garden lies a piece of open ground which mirrors the shape of the walled garden. Its use is not known.
According to the aerial photograph of 1946 the walled garden had internal divisions some of which were yew hedges. All this has gone and all that stands are the external stone walls.
The kitchen garden takes the form of a series of curving stone terraces to the south of the house. These may date back to the earlier 18th century core of the house. The terrace walls are topped with yew hedges. In the 19th century the top wall was enclosed by the building of a range of glasshouses. There is a formal rose garden to the front of the glasshouses.
The walled garden which lies to the south of the house is no longer cultivated. Andrew Beveridge in Clydesdale describes the conservatories in the following terms 'they are at present, perhaps, the most extensive in the county, having been erected by the present occupant Charles Walker, Esq.' There is no evidence of any of these on any maps. Charles Walker was manager of New Lanark Mills after Robert Owen.
Detailed HistoryThe 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
The Falls of Clyde are one of the most significant examples of the picturesque movement of the late 18th century in Scotland. It incorporates New Lanark, and the estates of Corehouse, Bonnington, Braxfield and Castlebank Park.
Bonnington Estate had a major influence on the picturesque tourist industry, starting in the 18th century the focus being the walks along the bank overlooking The Falls of Clyde. Castlebank Park is an interesting site in its own right, particularly the terraces to the south of the house. Historically Braxfield is very tied to New Lanark as it was traditionally the residence of owners of the mills. It also forms an intrinsic part of the landscape of the Falls of Clyde.
Main Phases of Landscape Development
Although there are earlier buildings such as Corra Castle, and there was a small 18th century house at Corehouse, the principal period of landscape design belongs to the mid 19th-century when the present Corehouse was built.
Bonnington Estate evolved in the 18th and 19th centuries.The landscape at Castlebank, like the house, dates back to the 18th century but has 19th, and 20th century layers. Braxfield developed in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The area was described as early as 1609 when William Lithgow recorded:
'The most delicious soils of the kingdome are ' first, the bounds of the Clyde, or Cliddisdale, between Lanerk and Dunberton, distanced twenty six miles ' All, which being the best mixed Countrey for Cornes, Meeds, Pastorage, Woods, Parks, Orchards, Castles, Pallaces, divers kindsof Coale, and earth-fewell ' and may justly be surnamed the Paradise of Scotland.'
The Clyde Valley is still an important fruit growing area.
The 1708 date on the Bonnington pavilion, overlooking Corra Linn, suggests that by this time the Falls were already appreciated for their picturesque qualities.
Paul Sandby was the first professional artist to record the falls, sketching the views in the late 1740s. The first well-known tourer to write of the Falls was Pennant in 1772, during his second tour. He said of the spot:
'Not far from Lanerk are the celebrated falls of the Clyde: the most distant are about a half hour's ride, at a place called Corry-Linn, and are seen to most advantage from a ruinous pavillion in a gentleman's garden, placed in a lofty situation. The cataract is full in view, seen over the tops of trees and bushes, precipitating itself, for an amazing way, from rock to rock, with short interruptions, forming a rude slope of furious foam. ' A path conducts the traveller down to the beginning of the fall, into which projects a high rock, in floods insulated by the waters, and from the top is a tremendous view of the furious stream.'
Many writers, artists and tourists to the site recorded their experiences and thus influenced the development of picturesque landscape design in the UK and Europe. Among the influential visiting artists were Jacob More (1760s), Alexander Nasmyth (1791) and J.M.W. Turner (1801). Poets included William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Sir Walter Scott (1827) and many others.
Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries drives, paths, viewpoints and other incidents were constructed in the surrounding estate landscapes to enhance the experience. Trees and shrubs were planted to create vistas or to mark and beautify viewpoints.
Prior to the present Corehouse being built in 1824 there was a Georgian house on the site, owned by the Miss Edmonsons noted by John Stoddart in his Remarks on Local Scenery & Manners in Scotland during the years 1799 and 1800.
The present Corehouse was built in 1824-7 by George Cranstoun, later Lord Corehouse (this is a judiciary title). He was a friend of Sir Walter Scott's who recommended Edward Blore as the architect for his new house. Scott apparently had a hand in the siting of the new house and recommended the painter Edwin Landseer for the design of the plantations. John Claudius Loudon was an early visitor and enthused about the planting at Corehouse. In June 1841, in his gardener's magazine he notes that
'The beauty of Corehouse is also increased by the extent and magnificance of the plantations on the Bonnington side of the river, which, to a stranger, seem as much part of the Corehouse estate as if they belonged to it; ...'
He further notes the borrowed views to New Lanark which obviously became an important ingredient of the landscape experience at Corehouse.
'The line of road, which, in respect to its surface, is always nearly level, in regard to its direction is beautifully varied by natural and artificial woody scenery, by natural and artificial woody scenery, by views extending into the interior ' and by views across the river to the village of New Lanark. 'We scarcely know anything finer, in the way of appropriated scenery, than the effect of the plantations about New Lanark, and thence to Bonnington as seen from the approach to Corehouse, ''
This approach to Corehouse is reputed to have been designed by the artist Edwin Landseer's younger brother. However there is no proof of this at present and it is an area that should be further researched.
The estate belonged to the Baillies of Lamington and then passed by marriage to the Carmichaels (c.1590), and then to Admiral Sir John Lockhart-Ross (1721-90), he married Elizabeth daughter of Robert Dundas of Arniston. An 18th century house with additions by Gillespie Graham for Sir John Ross was burnt down c.1900 and the house survived as a ruin for some years but was never replaced.
General Roy's Military Survey c. 1750 shows traditional square parks of the Scottish enclosure with two circular plantations with radiating rides at the southern end of the policies. These are indicated on the 1st Ed O.S. 6' as a large roughly circular wood. Today the area is now arable farmland. John Darbyshire the SWT ranger noted in conversation with Jim Emery who used to work at Robiesland farm that two woods between Robiesland and Tullieford were clear felled by the owner Gavin Lindsay. One of them would have been the two woods with radiating rides, the other was probably the perimeter wood against the estate boundary wall. They were predominantly beech wood.
Sir James Carmichael the owner of the Bonnington estate had the view house, overlooking Corra Linn, built in 1708. The building has been changed considerably from that time. Contemporary descriptions note that mirrors on the walls reflected the Falls of Clyde. The building is linked to the parkland by a long straight terrace. In order to get to the viewhouse it is now necessary to walk around the hydroelectric power station.
The paths around the view house were added to in the first quarter of the 19th century by Lady Mary Ross, this being recorded by letters cut into one of the steps below the view house 'Designed by Lady Mary Ross A.D. 1829. Lady Mary Ross was the wife of Sir Charles Lockhart-Ross 7th Bt., who had been Lady Mary Fitzgerald daughter of the Duke of Leinster. While the Lockhart-Rosses were making improvements at Bonnington similarly, changes were being made to their Highland estate Balnagowan (q.v.), where they also had a house overlooking a river. Lady Mary Ross was obviously a keen gardener who improved both estates.
There were walks all the way along to Bonnington Linn. These can be seen clearly in an aerial photograph of 1946. Like Corehouse, Bonnington was also open to the public and Black's Tourist Guide, 1879 records that tickets may be bought at any of the hotels in Lanark. It was also possible to engage local guides if required.
Castlebank dates back to the late 18th century and had a succession of owners. A John Bannatyne is indicated on the William Forrest map of 1816 and a Mrs Millikan is shown on the map of 1825 by John Wood of Edinburgh.
The terraces are one of the most interesting features in the Castlebank landscape and were clearly part of the Clyde Valley fruit growing tradition. They come from the same family of terraces as those at Orchard House further north up the Clyde Valley.
The ground of New Lanark was feued from Robert McQueen of Braxfield, Lord Braxfield (1722-1799), the Lord Justice Clerk also known as the 'hanging judge'. According to the National Dictionary of Biography he had inherited the land from his father otherwise little more is known of the ownership of Braxfield prior to this period.
Braxfield House was probably built by Lord Braxfield, although the core of the house may be 17th century. Subsequently the house was let to the managers of New Lanark Mills, notably Robert Owen and his family from 1808 until 1828. The Walkers the next managers then became the owners for the next fifty years.
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