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Pgds 20111121 194704 Raehills House


Raehills is set dramatically on high grass terraces overlooking a loch. Kinmel Water flows through the 18th-century parkland with its additional 19th-century plantings. There is a woodland garden with conifers and rhododendrons, and woodland and streamside walks. A small area of formal rose garden remains near the house and the lozenge-shaped walled garden has a dividing wall decorated with turrets.

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

Raehills lies to the east of the Forest of Ae at St Ann's, 8 miles (13km) south of Moffat and 13 miles (21km) north of Dumfries. The A701(T) runs through the eastern half of the policies which are bounded by the policy woodlands and the higher ground of Mollin Moor to the west. The Duff Kinnel is one of several tributaries which flow through the policies to join the Kinnel Water which flows north/south through the designed landscape just to the east of the house. The river has cut its way down through the steeply inclined beds of rock, forming an attractive gorge to the south of the house. There are extensive views eastwards from the higher ground in the policies, and the parklands and woodlands are important in the views from the main A701(T).

Raehills is set amid an extensive designed landscape which was originally laid out in the late 18th century. Documentary evidence of the development of the landscape is provided by a series of estate maps, in particular the 1791 'Plan of the farms of Raehill, Crunziertoun and Mollens', and the 1793 'Plan of the House, Offices and Policy of Raehills' by Joseph Udny which show that, in the intervening two years, a mansion house had been built at Raehills, much of the marshy land had been drained, the parkland had been laid out as far south as Crunziertoun and planting of the policy woodlands had begun. By 1860, the 1st edition OS map shows that the area of woodlands had been extended and the parkland extended southwards; the kitchen garden had been laid out, the ponds joined and woodland walks and rides laid out through the policies and along the Kinnel Water to Lunny's Lodge and Heartfield Tower in the south. The layout of the designed landscape has remained similar but has been slightly reduced in extent and today contains some 544 acres (220ha).

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Raehills is a mansion of three storeys and basement, designed c.1786-1792 by Alexander Stevens. Additions were proposed by Stevens in 1809 but eventually built to the designs of William Burn in 1829-34. It has an impressive colonnaded south front and is listed A. The two-section walled garden with its unusual circular turrets and bothies is listed B.

The Home Farm is composed of a single-storey cottage, listed B. The unusual, three- ended bridge built in the later 19th century across the Kinnel Water at Wallace's Loup, has a centre column surmounted by a pagoda, once thatched. It is listed B.


The parklands at Raehills are attractively laid out on the lower-lying land in the river valleys on either side of the A701(T). They were planted with both clumps and individual parkland trees of oak, lime, elm and beech, and the trees date from 1790 and c.1840. Gillen Moor Park and the park just to the south of the mansion house retain the most individual park trees. The parklands are grazed and provide a most attractive landscape feature along the A701(T). The mansion house is set on two bold grass terraces overlooking the loch, created from several ponds which predated the layout of the designed landscape. They were recorded as being stocked with fish in 1768. The main entrance drive is from the lodge at St Ann's Bridge although several other drives were laid out through the policies including the one from the south 'Pleasure Gates'.


The majority of the woodland plantations were planted from 1791 with mixed deciduous species. Further planting was undertaken in the 1830s and the plantations were thickened and strengthened to form the layout shown on the 1st edition map of 1860. Some replanting took place from c.1870 when conifers were introduced and the woodlands have continued to be managed on a commercial basis and also for game cover and amenity purposes. The estate was badly affected by gales in 1968 and 1971 and replanting has been undertaken since then with Sitka spruce, Douglas fir, larch, rowan and beech. There are some fine old oak, elm and beech in the policy woodlands.

Woodland Garden

The woodland garden has been laid out around The Mount which lies to the east of the loch and the mansion house. The loch and the driveway to the house are lined by massive banks of rhododendrons, mainly hybrids. The Mount is planted with specimen conifers, mainly dating from the 1870s although a larch is thought to date from the 1790 planting. Alan Mitchell measured over 20 trees here, including several Silver Firs. On the south-facing slope of The Mount, the old Rock Garden has recently been renovated and planted out with special plants.

Woodland walks are shown throughout this area on the 1st edition map and extending southwards to the walled gardens. The 'Endless Walk' extends further to the south along the banks of the Kinnel Linn which it crosses at Wallace's Loup by the recently repaired three-ended bridge and continues south under St Ann's Bridge to Lunny's Bridge near Heartfield Tower (this bridge has since been washed away.) This path can still be traced along the picturesque valley, despite some fallen trees. The woodlands on either side of the valley are regenerating naturally.

The Gardens

Formal rose gardens were once planted round the house. An area of rose garden remains to the east of the house but the large terraces are currently being planted in a less formal plan, with Rhododendrons and Azaleas. The grassed, terrace bank extends down to the loch below.

Walled Garden

The walled garden is an unusual lozenge shape and is shown on the 1st edition OS map of 1860 divided into two horseshoe-shaped walled compartments, separated by a service area, with turretted walls. The northern compartment has recently been ploughed and part of the walls have gone. The southern compartment is still maintained as a kitchen garden; new glasshouses have been constructed and the walls still support a range of fruit trees.

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

A beautiful landscape composition with rich historical associations with the Earls of Hopetoun and Annandale. The category A listed house, parkland and woodland make an outstanding contribution to the surrounding scenery.

Site History

The designed landscape was laid out c.1792 as shown on a plan by Joseph Udny of 1793.

The lands of Raehills and Crunziertoun belonged in the early 18th century to the 1st Marquess of Annandale. He resided at Lochwood Castle some 3.5 miles to the north- east of Raehills up to approximately 1720 when the old castle was abandoned and the family moved to Newbie Castle near Annan. He was succeeded in 1720 by the 2nd Marquess. His sister, Henrietta, married Charles Hope, the 1st Earl of Hopetoun, whose son, John, later 2nd Earl of Hopetoun, acted as Curator for his uncle, the 3rd Marquess, after 1747. He commissioned John Adam to build a new town house in Moffat in 1751 so that he could have a place to stay whilst supervising the Annandale Estates. The 2nd Earl of Hopetoun died in 1781 and was succeeded by his son James, as 3rd Earl of Hopetoun. James also succeeded as 5th Earl of Annandale and Hartfell in 1792 after the death of his great-uncle, and he took the additional surname of Hope Johnstone, which he was obliged to do under the Charter of 1662.

It was James who carried out the improvements to the Raehills estate and who commissioned Alexander Stevens to build him a new mansion house at Raehills. This impressive four-tiered design is said to have been based on an Italian villa seen by the 5th Earl while on his Grand Tour. The 5th Earl died in 1816 and was succeeded by his daughter Anne, as 6th Countess. The gardens at this time were recorded as extensive and beautiful, with walks laid out with taste. Anne married Captain William Hope, later Admiral Sir William Johnstone-Hope. Their son, John James Hope Johnstone, commissioned William Burn to carry out the extensive additions to the entrance front in c.1830. He was succeeded by his grandson, also John James, who carried out much of the ornamental planting of specimen trees and rhododendrons in the 1870s. In the mid-1880s, the estate was recorded as extending in excess of 80,000 acres (33,000ha). He was succeeded by his nephew in 1912. The estate has been well maintained since then and no major structural changes have been implemented. The present owner, Patrick, 11th Earl of Annandale and Hartfell, succeeded his father in 1983 and his claim to the Earldom was admitted in 1985.


  • 18th Century
  • Late 18th Century
Associated People
Features & Designations


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


  • Lake
  • Description: A loch created from earlier fishponds.
  • Ornamental Bridge
  • Description: A late-19th-century three-ended bridge with a column surmounted by a pagoda.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: Raehills is a mansion of three storeys and basement, designed c.1786-1792 by Alexander Stevens.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Garden Terrace
  • Rose Garden
Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential


18th Century








  • Historic Scotland