Kildonan Lodge 1912

Kinbrace, Scotland

Brief Description

The gardens are situated on a steep slope and comprise a terraced garden and a formal ornamental garden with lawns and borders. The terraced garden has four terraces planted as a rock garden. The kitchen garden is reached by crossing a suspension bridge over the burn. The garden has some statuary and other ornamentation.

History

The gardens at Kildonan Lodge date from the late-19th century when the hunting lodge was built.

Detailed Description

The following is from the Historic Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. The site was removed from the Inventory on 07/09/2015.

Location and Setting

Kildonan is situated on the hillside above the east bank of the river Helmsdale in the strath of Kildonan, about 10 miles (16km) north-west of Helmsdale. The surrounding landscape is moorland, with hills rising to the east and south. The Helmsdale valley broadens out to the north-west and the land is relatively low-lying right up to the north coast and the Atlantic Ocean 28 miles (45km) away. Winters can be very cold. The Helmsdale provides some of the best salmon fishing in the country. There are good views from the house to the west and along the Helmsdale Valley. The steep slope from the house to the river valley has been terraced to form the rock garden. The gardens are well sheltered and the shelterbelts screen them from view.

There are just over two acres of garden consisting of formal garden to the north of the house and the terraced garden to the west. There is also a kitchen garden on the west side of the river which is reached by way of a small suspension bridge. The designed landscape extends to 13 acres (5ha).

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

The house was designed as a hunting lodge in 1898. The suspension bridge is an interesting feature. There is some statuary and ornamentation in both areas of the garden and there are particularly fine wrought-iron gates along the west access road.

The Gardens

This area, to the north of the house, is walled on two sides and laid out in lawns, divided by gravel paths and planted out with beds of roses, herbaceous borders and shrub beds. Because of the harsh winters most of the flowerbeds are planted out each year with bedding plants. These had suffered badly in 1985 from the exceptionally high rainfall and the northern end of the garden had actually been flooded during the summer. The sundial is a central feature to this garden and it is surrounded by four smaller statues. The access drive lies on the west side of this garden and the entrance gates have art nouveaux style designs. The shelterbelt is planted with rowan, Acer and pine of mixed age dating from the 1890s.

This garden descends quite steeply from the terrace outside the lodge in a series of four terraces planted out as a rock garden, with a central staircase and gravel paths. The wrought-iron gates at the bottom of the steps are ornamented with an unusual bunch of grapes design. There are several small statues and urns in this part of the garden also.

Walled Garden

The kitchen garden lies to the west of the river and is reached by crossing the suspension bridge. It has a shelterbelt planted with willow, poplar and conifer, and the whole garden, used for soft fruit and vegetables, is wired and netted. Some birch woodland provides shelter along the river banks.

Features
  • Ornamental Bridge
  • Description: A suspension bridge
  • Gate
  • Description: Wrought-iron entrance gates in the art nouveau style.
  • Garden Terrace
  • Description: The terraced garden has four terraces planted as a rock garden.
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: The house was designed as a hunting lodge in 1898.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Kitchen Garden, Statue
History

Detailed History

The following is from the Historic Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. The site was removed from the Inventory on 07/09/2015.

Reason for Inclusion

A well-crafted garden constructed on a very sloping site and incorporating a suspension bridge and some interesting ornamentation.

Site History

Kildonan Lodge was built in 1896 as a hunting lodge following the Highland clearances earlier in the century. The garden was probably formed at the same time and the shelterbelt plantings date from the same period. Little is known of the history of the area or the house although the 1st edition OS map marked the stream nearby where gold digging was carried out in 1869. A city of tents was erected during the height of the 'gold-rush'. This map also shows the lodge and woodland to the north, but there were no outbuildings in 1910 nor was the west garden planted up at that stage. Mrs Clay inherited the lodge in 1960.

References

References

Contributors

  • Historic Scotland