Lochryan House is situated on the east shore of Loch Ryan and the policies incorporate the wooded gorge of Glen Burn. Elements of the early-18th-century layout survive. A central avenue leads to a terraced bank with pavilions at either end. The majority of the present planting dates from the late-19th to the mid-20th century.
Type of Site
An early 18th century landscape of parkland and woodland blocks and strips, with woodlands and walks established from the mid 18th to the early 19th century, further improved late 19th and early 20th century with the creation of a woodland garden, and also incorporating a formal garden and large walled garden.
Location and Setting
Lochryan House is situated on the eastern shores of the inlet of Loch Ryan some 6 miles (9.5km) north-east of the town of Stranraer. The village of Cairnryan lies due south and beyond the A77 (T) which forms the western and southern boundary of the Lochryan policies. The landscape to the east is upland moorland. Views can be gained from Lochryan north to Laird's Hill and east to Cairn Hill. To the west and south, views can be gained across the Loch to the northern peninsula of the Rhinns. The boundary walls of the designed landscape of Lochryan are moderately significant in the local scenery. These walls provide a secluded setting for the gardens within.
The house stands within some 131 acres (53ha) of designed landscape which extends north to the woodland which flanks the Glen Burn, south and west to the A77 (T) and east to the shelter planting at the base of Cairn Hill. The formal designed landscape, which is roughly symmetrical on plan, runs on a roughly west/east axis, centred on the house. Documentary map evidence of the development of the designed landscape is provided by General Roy's map of c.1750, the 1st edition OS map of 1847 and the 2nd edition OS map of c.1900. Comparison of these maps indicates that the formal designed landscape was established by 1750 and the extent remained consistent until the late 18th and early 19th century when it was extended north to the Glen Burn.
Prior to World War II the main road followed the line of the shore and a deer park lay between it and the inner policy wall. A Military Port was built at Cairnryan which took over most of the deer park, and the main road was moved inland to its present position, on the west side of what was formerly the inner policy wall.
Lochryan House, built in 1701, is a Queen Anne house of unusual design. There are gateposts and screen walls which enclose the forecourt to the west front of the house. The stable-block was converted to a flat in 1957. The doocot and a sundial, dated 1730, stand in the garden.
The garden to the east of the house is bounded by a larger, square-walled enclosure. Twin Summerhouses stand at the north-east and south-east corners of this garden, the latter houses the water supply tank for the house and the former is capped by a tower. Both are significant garden features. Also in this garden is an unusual stone-built rabbit house. Glasshouses line the north wall of the garden. There are also some gates at the south of the woodland garden erected in the first half of the twentieth century.
The parkland at Lochryan today comprises a field on the southern edge of the policies between the A77(T) and the woodland garden. It originally extended west to the lodge on the shore of Loch Ryan and was part of the deer park but was reduced to its present area when the A77(T) was realigned during World War II. This area is now (1987) grazed.
Woodland blocks and strips appear in the designed landscape indicated on Roy's map of c.1750 and the structure of these original woodland strips remains today, planted with beech of mixed age. The woodland block to the south of the west drive is now considerably thinner than is indicated on the early maps. It is made up of a mix of coniferous and deciduous species. Another woodland block, situated to the north of the garden, is now largely mature coniferous wood. A young plantation of mixed coniferous and deciduous species has been established in the north-eastern corner. A path leads through this wood, aligned on the main axis of the garden paths, to the Glen Wood, which was planted between the mid 18th and 19th centuries. The Glen Wood flanks the Glen Burn, and walks were laid out here in the early 19th century. Some Rhododendron species and hybrids, planted in the early 20th century, remain close to these paths, now (1987) used for forestry access.
The woodland garden was established, in the early part of the twentieth century, between the main walled garden and the southern boundary on the east side of the south drive. A small burn runs through the garden almost parallel with the south drive. The early OS maps indicate the presence of some tree cover but the majority of the planting was established between c.1892-1946. It consists of a variety of mixed conifers, yew and ornamental deciduous species such as Davidia involucrata, Ginkgo and Cercidiphyllum. There are numerous good hybrid and species Rhododendron, such as R. yunnanense, and the ground is carpeted by daffodils and other bulbs in season. The main drive through the garden is now (1987) grassed.
A small formal garden is situated within the screen walls which form the enclosure to the west front of the house. The walls of the house and those enclosing the garden are clothed with climbers. A hedge runs along the inner edge of the west wall of the garden which consists of several triangular beds on either side of the main drive. They were formerly filled with roses but are now (1987) grassed.
The main walled garden lies to the east of the house and is divided into four compartments by intersecting paths. The surface of the two compartments adjacent to the house is level but, beyond the main north/south axis, the garden rises on a steep slope to the garden wall which is terminated at each corner by a summerhouse. A path runs from the house to the north wall of the garden which is lined with a range of Victorian glasshouses, well stocked with nectarine, peach and fig trees, jasmine, geraniums and many other plants.
The content of the garden prior to the late 19th century is uncertain. The planting which remains was largely established in the first part of the twentieth century, although some features are much older, such as the bay tree avenue which forms a striking garden feature along the path leading from the house to the centre of the garden. The vista down the bay tree avenue continues east along a grass path through the woodland garden up to old sweet chestnut trees. The lawns on either side of the avenue are ornamented with trees, including a fine weeping elm and Rhododendrons. The eastern half of the garden is much more dense in character with ornamental trees such as Drimys, Magnolia, Quercus, Ilex, Araucaria araucana, Eucalyptus and Myrtle forming a canopy. Beneath this a variety of shrubs such as Cornus and Hoheria are established as well as a good selection of Rhododendron, both hybrids and species, including several from the R. crassim series, R. cestranum, R. thompsonii and many others. New additions have been acquired from various gardens and also from the home of the horticultural writer Michael Haworth Booth, particularly varieties of Hydrangea, planted as a collection within the last 30 years.
The kitchen garden is situated within a walled rectangular enclosure on the north side of the west drive. Reference to the 1st edition OS map indicates that in the mid-19th century the garden was laid out in the traditional form with intersecting paths focused on a central feature. The garden is now grassed over and is maintained by grazing. A beech hedgeline remains from the original planting.
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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 attractive formal early 1700s layout of this designed landscape is still evident today, and the plant collection, well-documented history, category A listed buildings and scenic qualities, make this a particularly fine landscape.
Main Phases of Landscape Development
Early 18th century with embellishments mid 18th/early 19th century and late 19th/early 20th century.
In 1429 the Agnews of Lochnaw, an estate situated on the northern peninsula of the Rhinns, acquired the lands on which Lochryan now stands. Sir Andrew Agnew gave the lands to his second son, William, who built a house named 'Croach' on them. In 1700, the Laird of Croach, Colonel Agnew, married a kinswoman, Margaret, the daughter of Sir James Agnew of Lochnaw and they built the present Lochryan House a year later. Their daughter inherited the estates. She married Sir Thomas Wallace of Craigie, and Lochryan became the Wallace family home after fire destroyed Craigie in the late 18th century. The structure of the designed landscape which remains today appears to have been laid out between 1701, when the house was built, and c.1750, the date of General Roy's map.
The estate was inherited c.1892 by a keen plant collector who renewed much of the woodland structure and established the majority of the ornamental species which remain today. He died in 1946.
- Features & Designations
Historic Environment Scotland An Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland
- House (featured building)
- Description: Lochryan House, built in 1701, is a Queen Anne house of unusual design. There are gateposts and screen walls which enclose the forecourt to the west front of the house.
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- Key Information