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Grantully Castle


The earliest traces of the designed landscape at Grantully date from the 16th and 17th centuries, including fragments of the garden wall and possibly some yew trees. The drive goes through the 17th-century lime avenue, terminated by garden gates designed by Sir Robert Lorimer as part of his late-19th-century re-modelling of the grounds. Twentieth-century additions include ornamental gardens with herbaceous borders.

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:


Location and Setting

Grantully Castle is situated 0.5 miles (0.8km) from the southern bank of the River Tay 2 miles (3km) to the west of its final bend before the confluence with the River Tummel at Ballinluig, some 7 miles (11.5km) to the east. Aberfeldy lies 3 miles (5km) to the south-west. To the south, Grantully Hill rises to 1,745 (532m), and from Grantully there are views west and north-west across to Cluny Rock and Farragon Hill 2,556' (779m). Ben Lawers, 3,983' (1,214m) above Loch Tay, dominates the views to the south-west. The policy woodlands and the top of the Castle tower contribute to the views from the main road.

The Castle is set in the centre of the wooded policies which are bordered by the woodland on three sides and by the A827 to the west. The Westpark Burn runs from the Dunvorist Den along the southern boundary. There is little documentary evidence about the early garden. Available documentary evidence is provided by General Roy's plan of c.1750 and the 1st and 2nd edition OS maps. The extensive 18th century layout, particularly the long avenue stretching along the Ballinluig road, can be clearly seen on General Roy's plan. Some of these trees still appear in the 1st edition OS and some of the 18th century patterns can still be seen today. Many of the remaining trees date to c.1800 but, in general, little was done to the grounds until the late 19th century when, again, the policies were entirely redesigned and the park and woodland shrubbery made. These changes made in 1895-6 can clearly be seen by comparison of successive OS maps, and some photographs of the Victorian garden are held by the present owner. The designed landscape extends today to some 40 acres (16ha).

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Grantully Castle, listed category A, was built c.1410, remodelled in c.1530 and again in 1626. A large wing was added 1893-6 by Thomas Leadbetter. The House was modernised in 1965 and 1972. The Gates to the garden are included in this listing and were designed by Sir Robert Lorimer in 1896, although there are no known drawings. The Stables and Cottages were altered c.1896. The Gardeners Cottage and Kitchen Garden Walls were built c.1896. St. Marys Church is listed category A and is an ancient monument in the guardianship of the Secretary of State. It is sited about one mile from the present Castle at Nether Pitcairn. Originally it was the Castle Chapel and it is known to have existed in 1533. It is famous for its ceiling which was painted in 1636.


The actual policies at Grantully have remained the same size since the mid-18th century but, as the area of woodland and gardens has increased over the last 100 years or so, the area of parkland has decreased. The park lies mainly to the south-west of the Castle and is now surrounded by recently planted shelter strips. The roundel was planted with Douglas fir in 1953 and has been replanted since. The entrance drive which was once situated in parkland is now part of the garden and is described in that section.


There is little woodland directly associated with the policies. The shelterbelt strips have been replanted with mixed conifers and hardwoods since the disastrous gale in 1968. The final crop is planned as hardwood; however, in some places the conifers are beginning to dominate. A perimeter walk in the woodland around the park is planned.

Woodland Garden

The woodland garden was created at the end of the 19th century and linked to the 'knoll' shown on the 1st edition OS map with the woodland clumps south of the park. The knoll was planted with beech c.1800, and the other individual parkland trees provided the structure for the additional planting. Walks meandered through exotic plants established in the garden. Many of the large trees were blown down in the 1968 gale. The area has been replanted as an amenity woodland with lime, beech, hornbeam and horse chestnut but the woodland walks have gone.

Water Features

The curling pond was built on the north side of the road opposite the kitchen garden in the 1890s. It was surrounded by an attractive amenity woodland planted up with several garden plants. Although the pond can just be seen, the whole area is now derelict.

The Gardens

The original garden to the north and east of the Castle was enclosed by a stone wall which was partially knocked down by General Monck's army. Only a small part of the wall remains. There are two enormous yews at the northern corners which could date from the 1626 layout. The levelled terrace was used for the 'Italian Garden' c.1890 and can be seen in photographs at the Castle. The Italian Garden was abandoned by c.1936, the terrace was later grassed down and, since 1964, the garden has been replanted by the present owner. The view along the north terrace is supposed to be the model for the illustration in Beatrix Potter's 'The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies'. She stayed in Dunkeld and is thought to have toured the area.

Further terraces have been built to the south-west of the Castle. Here, the garden is separated from the park by a ha-ha. There are several attractive herbaceous borders planted since 1964 along the retaining walls of the ha-ha. The south wall of the Castle is also well used for herbaceous plants. A small vegetable garden has been made just to the west of the back door.

The magnificent avenue of lime, dating from 1626, now stands in the garden to the north of the Castle. Some trees were replanted during the last century but the line can be clearly seen on the 1st edition OS. The original driveway went through the avenue to a beautiful wrought-iron gate which was designed by Lorimer and is set into the old 'barmkin' wall. The driveway was laid out in 1896 and some interesting specimens have been planted along it. A small water garden is being planned to the south of the drive in front of the recent plantation of mixed hard and soft woodland.

Walled Garden

The kitchen garden was built at the end of the 19th century. It supplied fruit and vegetables for the Castle until World War II when it was abandoned. It was recently sold with the adjacent cottage.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts


The Steuart Fothringham family


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

Dating from at least as early as 1530, with gardens laid out around 1630 which are still partly evident today, the designed landscape at Grantully forms the setting for the category A listed castle.

Site History

The grounds were first laid out in the 16th century. They were extensively remodelled in the early part of the 17th century. The policies were redesigned in the late 19th century and have been renovated in recent years by the present owner.

Alexander Steuart received the charter for the Grantully lands in 1414 and built the oldest parts of the present Castle. William Steuart, 9th of Grantully, built the next part of the Castle in c.1530 when it was 'surrounded by elms'. His second son, Sir William, 11th of Grantully, was known as 'William the Ruthless' and became a famous Sheriff of Perth. By 1615 he had also obtained Murthly Castle (q.v.) from his cousin. By 1626 the top storeys of Grantully, including the gables and turrets had been added. About the same time, Sir William also laid out the garden there.

Throughout the 17th & 18th centuries Grantully was the 'dower house' for the family, as Murthly had become their principal residence. Due to its strategic location, it was used as Headquarters by General Monck, during the Glencairn Rising in 1654.

Little is known about the gardens throughout the 18th century. In the mid- 19th century the Steuart of the day tried to sell Grantully but was prevented by the representatives of his eventual successor, the present laird's grandfather. The Castle and grounds were abandoned until 1890 when the last Steuarts of Grantully died. The grandfather of the present owner Colonel Fothringham of Pourie, inherited and took the additional name of Steuart. He restored the Castle, laid out the garden with an 'Italian parterre', and created the park and shrubberies. Between 1919-1936 the Castle was let to Lord Beattie. Patrick Steuart Fothringham, the Colonel's youngest son, inherited the property in 1936 and when he died in 1953 he left the estate to his nephew, the present owner, who came to live in the Castle in 1964.

Associated People
Features & Designations


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


  • Castle (featured building)
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  • Garden Wall
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  • Drive
  • Avenue
  • Description: Lime avenue.
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  • Gate
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Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential








  • Historic Scotland