Kyle House 1984

Isle of Skye, Scotland

Brief Description

The main feature of the mid-20th-century gardens at Kyle House is the woodland garden. It contains large-leaved rhododendrons and other flowering shrubs and trees growing under a canopy of deciduous trees. There is a walled kitchen garden and a formal garden that retains Irish yews from the original 19th-century planting.

History

The Mackinnons first built the house and developed the gardens in the early-19th century. The house was occupied during both World Wars and most of the planting dug up. The Mackenzies redesigned and developed the gardens from 1950.

Detailed Description

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:

http://portal.historic-scotland.gov.uk/hes/web/f?p=PORTAL:DESIGNATIONS:0

Location and Setting

Kyle House is situated above the village of Kyleakin on the north-eastern shore of Skye. The A850 forms the southern boundary of the site before descending into Kyleakin, whilst the boundary to the north is formed by the cliffs which overhang the Kyle of Lochalsh. The village of the same name lies approximately 1km across the sea on mainland Scotland. Kyle House has a magnificent commanding position overlooking Wester Ross, the islands of the Inner Hebrides and the Cuillins of Skye to the north and west. To the east lies Loch Duich and, beyond, the peaks of the Five Sisters of Kintail. The climate is mild and damp; prevailing winds are from the west and south-west. Soil conditions are acid and peaty with rocky outcrops. Much of the soil was imported to the garden in the 19th century.

A look-out point in the garden is designed to frame the view to the lighthouse on the island of Eilean Bhan opposite and the mainland landscape beyond. The woodland edge of the garden is significant in the surrounding landscape, but the garden is more significant by the nature of its contribution to the largely barren landscape of Skye.

Kyle House stands within some 2.5 acres (1ha) of garden which extends north and east to the cliff edge and south to the A850. Documentary evidence is confined to the OS maps of 1876 & 1910. Design plans were not used in the creation of the present garden which includes some 11 acres (4ha).

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Kyle House, listed category B, was built in the early 19th century; it is thought that the architect may have been Gillespie Graham but there is no evidence to confirm this. It was extended in the late 19th century, and again recently with the addition of a modern sun lounge on the south side. Stone urns, stand at the top of the steps on either side of the pathway south of the house.

Woodland

Shelter woodlands have been planted on the southern and western boundaries of the site. Largely coniferous species include Abies grandis and A. nobilis, planted since 1950 as a priority before subsequent development of the garden.

Woodland Garden

The Woodland Garden lies to the east of Kyle House. Beneath a canopy of beech, ash and rowan, planted some 80 years ago, the garden is host to a variety of trees and shrubs, including Eucalyptus, Embothrium and Crinodendron. The soil and climatic conditions are particularly suitable for Rhododendrons, Azaleas and Fuchsias which form the main understorey. Rhododendron macabaeanum is particularly well established. Of particular note is Eucryphia x nymanensis and Anopterus glandulosus. Olearias and Hoherias are planted amid the rocky outcrops and a collection of shrub roses grow in clearings, along with Meconopsis and many other woodland species. Different varieties of azaleas have been planted for colour behind the 'look-out point' by the dogs' cemetery. Some plants are labeled and a record system was begun by Mr Mackenzie.

The Gardens

The formal garden is situated to the south of the house. It is largely lawn, within which rose beds have been laid out and flowering shrubs planted. A footpath runs through the garden from the A850 to the house. An avenue of ornamental trees lines the path to the steps, on either side of which stand two Irish yews, planted by the original owners. Rhododendron and Fuchsia clothe the bank beyond the yews.

Walled Garden

The kitchen garden is situated to the north of the house. It is walled on three sides and divided in two by a copper beech hedge planted since 1950. The garden is well stocked with fruit, flowers and vegetables. Polythene greenhouses have been constructed on the west side of the garden.

Features
  • Country House (featured building)
  • Description: Kyle House, listed category B, was built in the early 19th century; it is thought that the architect may have been Gillespie Graham but there is no evidence to confirm this.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Planting
  • Description: The woodland garden.
Kitchen Garden
History

Detailed History

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:

http://portal.historic-scotland.gov.uk/hes/web/f?p=PORTAL:DESIGNATIONS:0

Reason for Inclusion

Most remarkable for its woodland garden with large-leaved Rhododendrons, Hoherias, shrub roses and Eucryphias, the designed landscape forms an impressive setting for Kyle House. Started in the early 19th century, most of today's planting was done by the present owners.

Site History

The original owners of the site were Mackinnons who built the present house in the early 19th century and began the development of the garden. In 1920, the property was rented on a 25 year lease by the Seton Watsons. The present owners, Mr & Mrs Colin Mackenzie, purchased the property in 1950. The house was occupied by the Royal Navy in World War I and the American Navy in World War II and much of the previous planting was dug up during the last war. Mr & Mrs Mackenzie carried out much of the structure planting in the garden before settling permanently on the island in 1956. The garden has been continually developed since then.

Associated People

Just one person associated to Kyle House

Contact

Telephone

0131 668 8600

Official Website

Click Here
References

References

Contributors

  • Historic Scotland