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Langwell Lodge


The designed landscape was developed in the 19th century as the setting for a shooting lodge. It comprises parkland, some amenity woodland and an early-19th-century walled garden some distance from the house. It is divided internally by thuja hedges and contains herbaceous borders.

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

Langwell House sits on the hills above the village of Berriedale on the north- east coast about 5 miles (9km) north of Helmsdale and 28 miles (45km) south of Wick. The remains of Berriedale Castle guard the small harbour below and the village is sited at the confluence of the valleys of the Langwell Water and the Berriedale Water. Langwell House is set on the hill 361' (110m) above the valleys facing south- eastwards, above the site of the former Langwell Castle which is thought to have originally been the lookout point for Berriedale Castle. The site commands extensive views, particularly across the sea to the Morayshire coast. The house and its woodlands are very visible from the A9 which passes to the south through the village of Berriedale, and they provide scenic contrast with the surrounding moorlands.

The designed landscape extends from the Langwell Water Valley in the south to the East Lodge at Berriedale, north to the boundaries of the park and of Langwell Plantation, and west to the western edge of Langwell Plantation beyond the walled garden. This boundary has stayed the same since the 1st edition OS map was drawn up in 1877. The house has been sited to take advantage of the magnificent views out to sea to the south-east. The coastal hills are important to the setting and are very visible from the house.

There are 321 acres (130ha) of enclosed policies at Langwell today.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Langwell Lodge or House, as it is variously called, is a 19th century building with many additions, accretions and alterations. The court of offices lies directly to the north of the house, incorporating some of the farm buildings, and also Victoria Cottage which once housed the nursery. There are also game larders, a gun room and a chapel in this area. The kennels, still in use today, and the Gamekeeper's Cottage, lie to the west of the house, toward the walled garden, which is adjacent to the Gardener's Cottage. The Victorian Factory House lies to the south-west of the house.


The area of enclosed parkland is limited to the area surrounding the house; it is grazed, and has never been planted with parkland trees. A 9-hole golf course was put in to the west park by the 6th Duke, but this has become disused, and plans are in hand to resurrect it. The drive from the East Lodge takes advantage of the setting and extends along the valley of the Langwell Water for some distance, before turning back on itself up the hill to the house. There is also an enclosed area of deer park to the west of the walled garden.


The native woodlands in the area are of birch, and there are some self-sown birch and rowan, particularly in the steep-sided valleys. Most of the estate woodlands were first planted in the 1850s and then felled during World War II. They have been replanted since the war as commercial woods and deer forest, and apart from the policy woodlands are all of coniferous species. There is some amenity planting in the policies with mixed hardwoods and softwoods, beech, sycamores and firs, and with some ornamental conifers such as Monkey puzzles.

The Gardens

There is a small area of formal garden adjacent to the house. Immediately to the front of the house is an area of lawn surrounded and sheltered by a hedge; there was a tennis court at the south end of the lawn in the past. To the east of the house is a rose garden with rose beds arranged in a formal pattern in grass, on the former croquet lawn. There is a small summerhouse in the far corner of this garden.

Walled Garden

The walled garden is situated at some distance from the house at the west end of the policies. The walls date from the early 19th century and were probably built at the same time as the farmhouse. The 1877 map shows a formal pattern within the garden which could have been an orchard at that time. The 1930s paintings of the garden show it to have been laid out by then in a form recognisable today, with dividing hedges, grass walks and large herbaceous borders. The cruciform structure was laid out by the head gardener, John Murray, in 1916 and it is divided with Thuja hedges. A yew archway at the north entrance predates this layout and is thought to date from the building of the garden in 1800. Two Monkey puzzles grew at the south end of the garden but these were replaced in c.1930 by an attractively shaped pond.

The garden had been poorly maintained until a few years ago, when it was restored while reducing some of the high maintenance features such as the herbaceous borders. Box hedges in shaped spirals remain in the north of the garden. A heather garden has been introduced into one west compartment, a rockery and a herb garden are located in the south-east of the garden and the whole is used to display the plants and flowers that can be bought in the nearby nursery.

The fine central herbaceous borders remain and frame the grass walks; a sundial stands at their junction. At the south end of the garden is a seat framed by high hedges facing the pond and with a view up to the north entrance. There are several little outbuildings built into the walls including a piggery on the south-west wall. Beyond the west wall is an informal area, overlooking the Langwell Valley where deer can be seen in the park below.

Opposite the walled garden on the north side of the drive is the nursery, now run on a commercial basis. It is well laid out with plants in display areas clearly signed for their possible use, eg hedging plants, windbreak trees etc.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

Open occasionally under Scotland's Garden Scheme. For details see:


The Lady Anne Bentinck


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

Now mostly restored, with the UK's most northerly nursery established in the early 19th century walled garden, the formal and walled gardens, woodland and parkland comprise an important landscape setting for the house, and one that makes a major contribution to the surrounding scenery.

Site History

The designed landscape has been developed as the setting for a shooting lodge, and has remained similar in extent since the 1st edition OS map of 1877. There are no known designers.

Earliest records of the house on the present site date from c.1800 when a farmhouse was built for a Mr Horn. Langwell Castle and the lands associated with it were owned in former times by the Sinclairs. The estate was purchased in 1858 by the 5th Duke of Portland, when improvements were made to the house.

The 5th Duke never lived in the house and died unmarried in 1879 when the title and estate passed to his cousin William, 6th Duke. The 6th Duke had many sporting interests; he was chairman of the 1st Royal Commission on Horsebreeding and he was the author of 'Fifty Years of Sport in Scotland', published by Faber & Faber in 1932. It was during this time that a 9-hole golf course was laid out in the park west of the house. He was succeeded in 1943 by his son William, the 7th Duke, who continued to keep Langwell up as a shooting lodge. His daughter, Lady Anne, succeeded in 1975 and, during this period, the walled garden has been restored to its former glory and the commercial nursery has been opened.

Features & Designations


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


  • Topiary
  • Description: A yew archway at the north entrance of the walled garden which probably dates to about 1800 when the walls were built.
  • Pond
  • Description: An ornamental pond in the walled garden.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Game Larder
  • Kennels
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: Langwell Lodge or House, as it is variously called, is a 19th century building with many additions, accretions and alterations.
Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential








  • Historic Scotland