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The Haining


The landscape park at The Haining was laid out in the late-18th and early-19th century and is now partly farmed and partly grazed. The main feature of the parkland is a loch, which pre-dates the designed landscape and has remnants of shrubbery around it. The estate also has some woodland and some late-19th-century specimen conifers.

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

The Haining is a park and woodland estate landscape centred on an A-listed, classical house and loch, developed mainly in the late 18th to earlier 19th centuries.

Location and Setting

The Haining designed landscape is located at the southern edge of Selkirk. Set within the lower Ettrick valley, it is distinguished topographically by quite strongly undulating landform. The house itself sits on the north bank of Haining Loch, a body of water that lies approximately at the centre of the policies. From the loch, the land ascends towards Selkirk Common to the east, to Haining Moss to the south, and up towards Howden Hill to the west. A prominent natural mound immediately to the north east of the loch was adapted for defence during the 12th-14th centuries, first for a motte and bailey and then as a pele for Edward I. The site is now scheduled on account of its nationally important archaeological remains (PASTMAP).

Late 20th century residential development at the southern margin of Selkirk has reduced the integrity of the designed landscape. However the scenic merit of the policies remains strong, particularly within an urban and suburban context. The hilly terrain, woodlands, and striking policy boundary wall and entrance gateway add variety and interest to local views. The policy wall still partly defines the northern limit of the designed landscape, while to the east, south and west, the boundary is composed of minor roads, field boundaries and the outer edge of woodland plantations. In the 19th century, further parks and woodland stretched much further south than this boundary, incorporating the commercially managed Big Wood and Young Plantation. The designed landscape boundary today encompasses an area of 184ha (454ac).

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

The Haining is a seven-bay classical villa of three-storeys plus attic. Constructed from local whinstone, it was begun in c.1794-95 for Mark Pringle, (attrib. William Elliot), and refaced and remodelled c.1820 for John Pringle to designs by Archibald Elliot. Key alterations included the transfer of the entrance to the north front, the addition of an impressive, arcaded porte cochère supporting a prostyle, pedimented Ionic portico, and, on the south elevation, the construction of an Ionic loggia at ground level, which supports a balustraded balcony. Around the forecourt to the north of the house is a formal cast iron screen with tall, square stone piers, (installed in the late 1820s), while to the south, a terrace of similar date features a row of Canova-style marble statues that face outwards, gazing over Haining Loch. A nearby artificial outlet for the loch is ornamented with two stone obelisks. The footprint of the former 18th-century house remains visible immediately to the west of the present house. Meanwhile, a subterranean passage, discovered during late 19th-century outflow operations, was interpreted as old escape route connected to its predecessor, an old tower or house that probably stood on this site during the 15th-17th centuries (Hallen 1893: 87).

The stables, to the west of The Haining, were designed by John Smith in 1818-19 and comprise two rubble whinstone ranges planned around a rectangular court. The striking crescent-shaped, two-storey south range was converted to residential use in 1983. The north range features a central pend, fronted on its north-elevation by a monumental sandstone arch. The horse skull carving on the keystone is said to symbolise that of the animal which shied and caused the death of John Pringle in 1831. The two-storey, mid 19th-century Dairy Cottage stands to the west of the stables, while nearby are two cast-iron cages designed to hold wolves and bears transported from St. Petersburg. Other estate components include the sandstone, octagon-plan deer larder, built to the north-west of the house c.1830, (restored 1994), a nearby, square ice-pit, and a very ruinous mid 18th-century, lectern-form dovecot, located in a field to the west of the house.

The imposing north gate, which leads from the Green, Selkirk, was designed by John Smith c.1825, and comprises a classical arch with heraldic panel, flanked by paired pilasters and quadrant walls. The associated lodge was demolished in the 1960s. The east lodge, on Castle Street, is largely concealed by 1960s extensions, while the surviving west lodge at Lynnlea is a mid 19th-century, gabled structure with bracketed eaves. It stands close to the former entrance of the west drive, marked by a pair of stone gatepiers with ornamented ball finials. To the south-east of Haining Loch, a stone bridge, which formed part of the south drive, is in poor condition and retains only one of its stone, pyramid piers.

Drives and Approaches

John Smith's impressive north gate, (or town gate) of c.1825 signals the start of the principal drive from Selkirk. It forms a carriage-sweep that originally curved past parkland on its gradual ascent towards the house (Wood 1823; Crawford and Brooke 1843; 1856-9, OS 25'). The other, much older access route from Selkirk to The Haining, via Castle Street, and past the old medieval castle site, is no longer in use. Other drives of the 19th-century designed landscape include the direct western approach, which is no longer in use, but retains its lodge and entrance gatepiers, and the much longer, more circuitous south drive from near Hartwoodburn. This latter approach was designed to impress: Enclosed with an avenue of trees for the first half a kilometre, it then reached the brow of the hill overlooking Haining Loch where the view opened out across the loch, house and the deer park beyond. Some of this former route where it passes Haining Loch now forms part of the Borders Abbeys Way.

Paths and Walks

One of the most attractive paths within the designed landscape is Lady's Walk, which curves around the northern, lower flank of Peel Hill. Lined with mature lime trees, it was certainly in place by the mid 19th century, as depicted on the 1st edition OS map (1856-9, OS 25'). Another important path forms a circuit around Haining Loch. Published accounts of the Victorian era note the charm of this pleasant woodland walk, which remains popular today, referring to the 'natural arcade' formed by the 'long limbs of fine beeches', and birches and chestnuts, 'drooping over towards the water' (Berwickshire Naturalists' Club Transactions 1884; Lindsay 1883: 86). Many of the older broadleafs have now gone, but the essential woodland character remains. At the time of writing, parts of this walk have been recently improved through the addition of boardwalk segments. To the west of the loch, above the lochside path, is a well-preserved section of a service track, no longer in use, that originally split off from the south drive and led directly to the stables and other estate buildings.


The Haining once boasted an extensive, and very impressive coverage of parkland that encompassed most of the land within the present designed landscape boundary. Today, although the basic structure endures, virtually all of the former parkland trees are gone, and the grounds are mainly employed for grazing. Historic maps, photographs and accounts, however, give an impression of the former parkland design, as developed through major planting projects in the late 18th century and early 19th century. In 1797, for example, the Rev. Dr. Douglas wrote that the pleasure grounds, 'embellished by clumps, detached trees, and shrubs scattered up and down, and diversified with wonderful felicity, attract the notice and admiration of travellers' (quoted in Craig Brown 1886: 313). The naturally undulating terrain strengthened the scenic impact of the design, and old black and white photographs of Selkirk demonstrate how in the past, the wood and parkland policies formed a visually arresting backdrop to the growing town. The first edition OS map meanwhile, reveals the precise structure and extent of the planting, which in addition to the clumps and detached trees, included roundels, ridgeline planting, and avenue planting along some of the estate drives and roads (1856-9, OS 25'). The Deer Park was also stocked with fallow deer during the late 19th century and until 1939 (Craig-Brown 1886: 313; LUC 1987). At the time of writing, the Deer Park has been planted with a good number of native saplings, a move that may help to restore the historic parkland character in this area.


The main areas of surviving broadleaf woodland are on Peel Hill, and around Haining Loch. Although many veteran trees of the 18th and early 19th century have now gone, the remaining woodland still provides some scenic and nature conservation value within the local landscape. A grant awarded by Forestry Commission Scotland in 2007 will hopefully revitalise the woodland resource, and already, a swathe of young deciduous saplings have been planted to the north of Peel Hill, an area formerly stocked with commercially-grown conifers. Other areas of commercially managed woodland, first planted during the 20th century, occupy the south-east corner of the designed landscape, and the slopes of Howden Hill to the west. The very large plantation of Big Wood to the south of the designed landscape was originally part of The Haining estate, and was planted as forestry by the time of the 1st edition OS survey (1856-9, OS 25' and 6').

Water Features

Haining Loch is mentioned in a document of 1507 (Craig Brown 1886: 301), and is depicted on 17th century maps (Pont 1608, Adair 1688). In 1661, it became the focus of a legal case when the laird's efforts to drain the 'stinking water' of the marshy loch were met with resistance from the Mayor of Berwick and others who feared a negative impact on salmon stocks further downstream in the River Tweed (Brown 1826: 292; Craig Brown 1886: 306). Riddell's right to drain the loch was upheld, and over the course of ensuing centuries, the loch became a key element in the overall aesthetic of the core policies. The level of the water was lowered and an ornamented outflow drain installed, while in the early 19th century, John Pringle commissioned the impressive terrace adorned with statues to the south of the house. Although now affected by the proliferation of algae, the loch still remains an important and attractive feature.

The Gardens

A handful of tall specimen conifers planted near the house during the later 19th century, such as Monkey puzzle and Wellingtonia, project above the surrounding woodland canopy, and are prominent in views towards the house from the lochside path. Meanwhile, historic photographs of the early 20th century indicate that the northern shore of the loch once comprised an immaculately managed garden area comprising closely-clipped lawns, neat gravel paths and a shrubbery. Unmanaged for many years during the later 20th century, some of the ornamental trees and shrubs nevertheless survived. An ornamental, oval pond immediately to the south of the stables was in place by the late 1940s, and was probably installed in the first half of the 20th century (RCAHMS 1957: 50).

Walled Garden

The walled garden was sold separately from the house and policies during the 20th century, and has not been in horticultural use since the earlier part of that century. Located immediately to the east of Peel Hill, it comprises a lozenge-shaped enclosure, with stone walls around part of its circuit. It is depicted on John Wood's town map of Selkirk of 1823 (Wood 1823). The first edition OS map, meanwhile, reveals something of its former structure. It was divided into regular plots, with a central path running for most of the length of the garden (1856-9, OS 25'). By the end of the 19th century, a new and larger glasshouse had been installed in the northern sector of the garden, while the sales particulars of 1939 list a 'lean-to peach house, green house, two vineries, a small fern house (all heated), boiler house, tool shed and a fine yew hedge' (NAS GD1/1138/6).

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

The Haining is temporarily closed.


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

The designed landscape contains outstanding architectural features and the nationally important medieval site of Selkirk Castle, on Peel Hill. Broadleaf woodlands around the loch at the heart of The Haining continue to provide scenic and nature conservation interest.

Main Phases of Landscape Development

Late 18th century ' 19th century

Site History

The Haining was purchased by the Pringles in 1701, and it was succeeding generations of this family who instigated most of the key components of the present design. Past owners had been the Scotts (late 15th and 16th centuries), and then the Riddells (17th century), who laid the foundations for subsequent development through actions such as draining the loch in the 1660s, and the acquisition of parcels of land during the later 1660s-1680s, thus extending the originally small estate (Craig Brown 1886: 304-7).

In 1702, John Pringle arrived at The Haining, purchased for him by his father. In the same year, he obtained an Act of Ratification, which united The Haining and Burn Mill in one barony, and it was perhaps also John who commissioned the construction of a new house overlooking the loch, a structure that survived in part alongside the present classical villa until it burned down in 1944. By the time of John Pringle's death in the mid 18th century, it seems that the long-established estate could boast attractive, well-developed grounds. MacFarlane refers to a 'Gentleman's house...[that]'stands very pleasant with its orchards, avenues, parks and planting and pigeone house' (MacFarlane 1748: 451). A labelled estate plan by Scot dated 1757, meanwhile, reveals, a simple designed core of parks extending outwards from the house and Haining Loch (reproduced by Craig Brown 1886: 105).

John Pringle's descendants initiated further projects at The Haining and the next hundred years witnessed significant change to the formerly modest designed landscape. Major late 18th to 19th century planting schemes, for example, served to extend and alter the basic arrangement of parks around the loch and achieve an impressive landscape of undulating parkland adorned with a substantial coverage of trees in the form of individual specimens and clumps, avenue planting along roads and more extensive tracts of woodland and ridgeline planting (Crawford and Brooke 1843; 1856-9, OS 25' and 6'). The present house was erected in 1795 for Mark Pringle alongside the older structure, while subsequent alterations were undertaken for his son, John Pringle c.1820, whose love of the Classical world is plain through both the remodelled details on the house, (the Ionic portico and loggia, for instance), and the new terrace built to overlook the lake, complete with marble statues. Craig Brown, writing many years later, offers an idyllic vision, 'In early summer, when the sun is shining, and when the loch reflects a sky of blue, the wanderer by its margin might well believe himself on the enchanting shore of Como, or roaming by the lake of the Doria Pamfili Palace at Rome' (1886: 312).

The years from 1820-30 proved a busy time. In addition to John Pringle's house project, he commissioned new estate buildings, including John Smith's impressive stables and north gate. Pringle also indulged in more eccentric tastes, and today the surviving cages near the stables bear witness to the upkeep of a menagerie of wild animals, said to include a bear, wolf and monkey, and which drew curious observers from the town of Selkirk (Craig Brown: 1886: 313).

The Haining remained within the extended Pringle and Pringle-Pattison family for the duration of the 19th century. The ambitious planting projects of preceding generations began to bear fruit in the maturing, and increasingly attractive parkland grounds. Earlier Ordnance Survey maps indicate that the designed landscape once covered a much larger area, with parks and larger plantations extending southwards as far as the outer edges of Big Wood and Young Plantation to the south of Hartwoodburn (1897-8, OS 25' and 6'). As with many estates, however the 20th century witnessed a period of decline for The Haining. In 1939 the estate was up for sale in over 40 separate lots. The house and grounds were used by the military during World War II and in 1944, the older house that had stood adjacent to the present mansion was mostly destroyed by fire. Having sold the estate, the core policy grounds of The Haining were repurchased by descendants of the same Pringle-Pattison family in 1959 and remained in the ownership of the last estate owner's grandson, Andrew Nimmo-Smith, until his death in 2009. In his will, Nimmo-Smith bequeathed the house and immediate grounds to the town of Selkirk.


  • 18th Century
  • Late 18th Century
Associated People
Features & Designations


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


  • Game Larder
  • Dovecote
  • Lake
  • Description: Haining Loch
  • Villa (featured building)
  • Description: The Haining is a seven-bay classical villa of three-storeys plus attic. Constructed from local whinstone, it was begun in c.1794-95 for Mark Pringle.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Shrubbery
Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential


18th Century


Part: standing remains



Electoral Ward





  • Historic Scotland

Related Documents
  • CLS 1/929

    Conservation Management Plan - Digital copy

    Peter McGowan Associates - 2015