Inventory Garden & Designed Landscape


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Argyll And Bute
Glenorchy And Inishail
NN 8652 24990
208652, 724990

An 18th century designed landscape comprising mainly woodland, gardens, parkland and architectural features. The gardens contain a notable collection of trees and shrubs.

Type of Site

A lochside estate with formal gardens and terraces around the house and a wider setting of parkland and woodland, and a fine and unusual plant collection in well established woodland gardens.

Main Phases of Landscape Development

Early 19th century and extended in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Artistic Interest

Level of interest

The gardens were attractively laid and have high value as a Work of Art.


Level of interest

Ardanaiseig has had long associations with the holy Isle of Inishail and was laid out during the mid-19th century. This gives it some Historical value.


Level of interest

The 19th century planting and the range of trees and shrubs planted in the 1920s give this site high Horticultural value.


Level of interest

The designed landscape is the setting for a category B listed building giving it high Architectural value.


Level of interest
Not Assessed


Level of interest

The woodland canopy contributes to the shoreline scenery from the major trunk road, the A85, along the north shore of Loch Awe, giving Ardanaiseig high Scenic value.

Nature Conservation

Level of interest

The shore water margins and the woodland flora give Ardanaiseig high Nature Conservation value.

Location and Setting

Ardanaiseig is situated on the western headland of Loch Awe where the River Awe joins the Loch some 9 miles (14.5 km) south east of Taynuilt. It lies some 3.5 miles (5.5km) east of Kilchrenan and is bordered on two sides by Loch Awe. A minor road and woodland form the boundaries on the north and south sides. The gardens are only about 250' (76m) above sea level. The soils are acid loam and become more peaty on the rocky outcrops. The climate is relatively mild although the hills rise up steeply to Ben Cruachan to the north and the annual rainfall is over 85" (2250mm). There are extensive panoramas of the magnificent upland scenery from various locations, especially to Ben Cruachan, 3,695' (1,126m), and east across Loch Awe to Ben Lui, 3,708' (1,130m). The woodland canopy on the edge of Loch Awe adds variety to the surrounding scenery and can be seen from the railway and the A85(T) along the north shore and the A819 on the east side of Loch Awe.

Ardanaiseig House faces east towards Loch Awe and lies about 300m from the headland. It is protected from the wind by shelter woodlands. The policies have remained about the same size since they were laid out in the 19th century. The garden was extended in the 1920s. The designed landscape extends to some 240 acres (97ha). Documentary evidence relies on the 1st & 2nd edition OS plans.

Site History

The designed landscape was laid out in the early 19th century and the gardens were extended in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In early times Ardanaiseig was the embarking point for the holy Isle of Inishail which contains an early Chapel and a burial ground where the 11th Duke of Argyll was buried in 1973 after a funeral ceremony held at Ardanaiseig.

Little is known about the site before 1833 when James Archibald Campbell, a younger son of the Campbells of Inverawe, commissioned William Burn to build the house in the Scottish Baronial style. It was then called New Inverawe but it was written into the deeds of the house that the name had to be changed if it ceased to be a Campbell house. The name was later changed to Ardanaiseig when the house was sold to John Ainsworth.

The Campbell family planted many fine hardwoods, mostly oaks, and various conifers, a few of which still survive, but there is no evidence of any planting by them of decorative shrubs anywhere throughout the policies. Colonel Campbell died in 1879 and in 1880 New Inverawe was sold by his executors to a Mr John Ainsworth from Cumberland, and the name was changed to Ardanaiseig. John Ainsworth became MP for Argyll and was created a baronet in 1916 for his public services. He began the planting of rhododendrons and azaleas along the avenue and near the house, but it was his son, Sir Thomas, who really created the gardens as we know them today when he inherited the property on Sir John's death in 1923.

Sir Thomas lived at Ardanaiseig till shortly after World War II when he decided to move to Ireland and in 1947 the property was sold to Sir Duncan McCallum who was also MP for Argyll. A considerable number of rhododendrons, which were not too old to move, were taken away by Sir Thomas and found a temporary home in Colonsay until his garden in Ireland was ready. This created a time-gap in planting at Ardanaiseig which could never be completely rectified. Sir Duncan died in 1958 and Lady McCallum sold the property in 1963 to the Brown family who are the present owners.

During the years since Sir Thomas Ainsworth went to Ireland the gardens had received little attention but after several years of restoration work it became possible to start new planting and a great deal has been done in recent years to restore the old garden and to open up new areas.

Between 1979-80 the house was converted into an hotel and the grounds are open to hotel guests at all times and to other visitors daily during the summer.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Ardanaiseig House, listed category B, was designed by William Burn in the Scots Jacobean style in 1833 for J.A. Campbell of Inverawe. The Walled Garden was built at the same time as the house. There is also a Lodge.


The policies are laid out along the lower-lying land of the headland. The pasture is enclosed by the remnants of woodland strips which were mainly oak, sycamore and some beech. There are still several specimen trees left, mainly oak, but some show signs of wind burn. The drive sweeps through the woodland garden before approaching the house from the south-west.


The woodlands are mainly of hardwoods planted about 180 years ago. They are mostly oak planted c.1880. Conifers were also planted in blocks amongst the hardwoods at the end of the 19th century and during the 1950s.

The Gardens

The house faces east overlooking Loch Awe and is set on three large grass terraces. In the 19th century these were planted up with formal flower beds. Today, the grass banks are kept mown and lead down to the tennis courts and croquet lawn. Around the house several beds are attractively filled with colourful herbaceous and annual plants. The lower terrace extends down to the loch shore where wildflowers and spring bulbs are encouraged.

Walled Gardens

The high walls are curved at the north end of the garden and climbers grow along the long south-facing wall including the enchanting and unusual Erinus alpinus which covers it with pink flowers during the spring. Flowers, tender shrubs and vegetables have always been grown within the protecting walls; part of the garden is now laid to lawn and vegetables are grown at the north end. There is a large herbaceous border.




Printed Sources

Coutts Inventory of Argyll, 1909

Elevation of Building, Wm Burn, 1833

Great Gardens of Argyll Brochure

Notes on Ardanaiseig, Mr J. Brown, 1987

G.A. Little, 1981

A. Mitchell, Tree Survey


About the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

The inventory is a list of Scotland's most important gardens and designed landscapes. We maintain the inventory under the terms of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We add sites of national importance to the inventory using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

The information in the inventory record gives an indication of the national importance of the site(s). It is not a definitive account or a complete description of the site(s). The format of records has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

Enquiries about development proposals, such as those requiring planning permission, on or around inventory sites should be made to the planning authority. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications of this type.

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Printed: 17/10/2019 07:30