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Newton House, Culsalmond


The policies at Newton House are known for the 20th-century recreation of the walled garden with its wide variety of plants artfully displayed in garden rooms. There is also early-19th-century parkland, woodland and two Pictish stones on the site.

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:

Location and Setting

Newton House lies on rising ground overlooking the River Urie which flows through the park, in the eastern foothills of the Grampians. The policies are bordered to the south by the A96(T) midway between Inverurie to the south-east and Huntly. The B992 runs along the northern border to Insch some 2.5 miles (4km) to the south-west. The surrounding lowlands are mainly used for arable agriculture, and the nearby uplands are mostly wooded. There are long views southward to Bennachie, 1,732' (528m), and to the Grampian Hills beyond, and to the south-east along the Urie valley towards Aberdeen. The woodland shelterbelts which extend across the A96 contribute to the local scenery.

Newton House is set in the middle of the policies overlooking the park and is protected from the north-east winds by a large wood. The designed landscape is surrounded by woodland strips and can be clearly seen on the 1st edition OS plan dated 1876. There are attractive glimpses through the woodland of the house and park from the A96. The policies around the house extend to about 35 acres (14ha); the designed landscape extends to 254 acres (103ha).

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Newton House is listed category B and the centre core is 17th century; it is three storeys with a raised entrance staircase above a basement floor. Two wings were added and the date stone was inscribed AD/JD 1778. The Garden Walls are listed category B and the brick wall behind the greenhouse is dated 1846. Two sides of the wall have been rebuilt by Mr Parkin-Moore within the last twenty years.

The Stone Fountain was brought back from Italy in 1846 by Alexander Gordon. It cost 25 pounds and is a flat stone tarza on a pedestal with four lion masks at its base. There are two significant Pictish Stones inscribed in Ogham. Other ornaments include Urns, Vases, Terracotta Pots, Wrought-Iron Figured Garden Seats, and Far Eastern Figurines.


The parkland stretches across the River Urie south towards the woodland beyond, and is divided into two by the drive. The policies extend all round the house. Many of the remaining trees date back to c.1850, suggesting that it was laid out by Alexander Gordon. Many of the trees shown on the OS plan of 1878 have gone and those that remain are mainly limes, horse chestnuts, sycamore and ash. The pasture was being cut for a crop of hay at the time of our survey.


The woodland divides into two areas: the shelterbelt strips and the block sheltering the garden and house. The earliest trees date back to c.1800-30 and are mainly broad- leaved: beech, sycamore and ash. All the woodlands, but particularly the block behind the house, were ravaged in the 1953 gale. The inner compartments have been replanted with conifers, mainly Sitka spruce. Within the woodland there are some magnificent specimen conifers, including several Lawson cypress varieties such as the weeping blue lawson, Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Glauca Pendula', Douglas firs, Chamaecyparis nootkatensis, a large blue cedar (Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca'), and a good Cedrus deodora, and several large Wellingtonias (Sequoiadendron giganteum).

Walled Garden

The path to the walled garden begins at the front door of the house and acts as an overture for the masterpiece behind the brick walls. The first garden is a small woodland glade sheltering the two Pictish stones set upright into a lawn and overshadowed by the Wellingtonias. It continues through a small wrought- iron gate which opens into the water garden. The series of small pools were made from a burn and have been surrounded by special bogside plants including fine clumps of Turk's cap lilies, Kiregeshoma palmata and Ligularia clivorum. The walk leads into a square garden bordered by yew and with the four corners marked out by upright Irish yews. Opposite this is a memorial to the creator, Alexander Parkin-Moore, erected by his wife and sister.

The walled garden is divided into a series of compartments which are carefully blended together creating illusions of space. As the visitor enters the north-west quarter, the path winds through a dense mixed border designed to provide surprise views to unexpected objects such as statues, vases or seats. The path leads to a large water feature made from two ponds placed in front of the walls of the old glasshouse. A long vista from the ponds runs down between scalloped yew hedges on either side of a central path to the Italian fountain. The eastern section is the vegetable garden. In the west area there is an orchard, fruit cage and cutting borders. The south wall has been planted up with choice shrubs such as large tree paeonies, Clematis varieties, and a range of interesting herbaceous plants underneath. About twenty years ago, Norway spruce were planted as a crop of Christmas Trees in the south-west quarter; today they have outgrown their original purpose.

Many interesting plants create the contrasting textures and shapes so much part of this garden's design. They include Viburnums, Philadelphuses, dwarf conifers, roses, (mainly the old fashioned varieties), Olearia macrodonta, Garrya elliptica, and many others. The garden has been planted with an artist's eye for colour and texture, and its sense of peace and charm is difficult to convey in words.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

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 walled garden is an outstanding work of art, separated into a series of rooms and containing a wide range of plants. The wider designed landscape makes an impressive setting for the significant architectural features.

Site History

The policies were probably originally laid out in the late 18th century and greatly improved during the first half of the 19th century. The gardens were recreated between 1953-1979.

Newton House was originally built in the 17th century and was considerably enlarged in the late 18th century. It has belonged to three families of Gordon and in c.1800 was sold to an ancestor of the present owner, Alexander Gordon. He was a retired sugar planter from Tobago. His son Alexander created the garden and is said to have built the walls. The remains of the estate continue in his family to the present day, having been bought back by his granddaughter, Mrs Parkin-Moore, in 1946. Troops occupied the house and grounds during World War II and caused some devastation. In 1953 her son, Alec Parkin-Moore who was a gifted artist, inherited the property and restored the garden in the walled garden. He died in 1979 and the property now belongs to his daughter, Mrs Cox.

Features & Designations


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

  • Historic Environment Scotland Listed Building

  • Reference: Garden walls
  • Grade: B


  • Ornamental Fountain
  • Description: An Italian fountain
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: Newton House is listed category B and the centre core is 17th century; it is three storeys with a raised entrance staircase above a basement floor.
Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential





Open to the public





  • Historic Scotland