Inventory Garden & Designed Landscape


Status: Removed


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Date Added
Date Removed:
Local Authority
Dumfries And Galloway
Planning Authority
Dumfries And Galloway
Colvend And Southwick
NX 88929 55363
288929, 555363

A valuable collection of mainly dwarf species Rhododendrons, started in 1960 and grown in an attractive woodland garden setting. The burn and natural rock strata, combined with the other trees, shrubs and plants, make this a very attractive small garden.

Main Phases of Landscape Development

Early 1960s.

Removal Reason

Based on our current knowledge of the site, it no longer meets the criteria for inclusion on the Inventory

Artistic Interest

Level of interest

Barnhourie Mill has high value as a Work of Art in its present form for a garden of this scale.


Level of interest

The garden at Barnhourie Mill has little Historical value as it has been created within the last twenty years.


Level of interest

The range of plants which are in good condition and are being propagated give Barnhourie Mill outstanding Horticultural value.


Level of interest

The garden provides the setting for a category B listed building and thus has high Architectural value.


Level of interest
Not Assessed


Level of interest

The woodlands and burn on the eastern boundary provide a little Scenic value.

Nature Conservation

Level of interest

The water habitats provide some Nature Conservation value.

Location and Setting

Barnhourie Mill is situated on the A710 in the hamlet of Sandyhills within 0.3 miles (0.5km) of the Solway coast, some 6 miles (10km) south-east of the town of Dalbeattie. The B794 forms the eastern boundary of the site cutting through a valley between Fairgirth Hill to the north-east and the hills of the Dalbeattie Forest to the north-west to link Sandyhills with Dalbeattie. The Fairgirth Burn flows parallel with this road along the eastern edge of the site.

The surrounding landscape is open moorland and forestry. There is a new chalet development to the north-east, on the edge of the B794. The site lies within the National Scenic Area of the East Stewartry Coast. Views out and into the site from the B794 are restricted by the deciduous woodland which lies between the Fairgirth Burn and the B794 which is of some significance in the local landscape. Soil conditions within the garden are light and acid, with many outcrops of granite appearing.

Barnhourie Mill and Miller's House are approached by a drive off the A710. The woodlands and garden, which extend over approximately 9 acres (3.5ha), lie to the north of the buildings. The Fairgirth Burn has been incorporated into the design.

Site History

Barnhourie Mill and Miller's House are thought to date from the 17th century. Documentary evidence of the development of the designed landscape is confined to the 1st edition OS map of c.1850 and the 2nd edition OS map of c.1900. Reference to both maps indicates the presence of an established woodland canopy on the site.

The property was purchased in 1959 by Miss E.M.H. King and Dr M.R. Paton. Both are experienced plant growers who had gardened at Barnbarroch, some 3.5 miles (6km) to the west, prior to purchasing Barnhourie Mill. The mill garden was at that time totally overgrown and two year's work was required to clear it. The mill lade was diverted and the garden laid out in the early 1960s by Miss King. She and Dr Paton have continually developed the garden since then. They specialise in dwarf species Rhododendrons and have developed a system of propagating the plants which has proved particularly successful indeed, some 70% of the plants in the garden have been established in this way. Some of the plants have been propagated from seed from early collections, with the aim of keeping and propagating the early introductions of species.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Barnhourie Mill, listed category B, is a two-storey building, oblong on plan. A waterwheel is incorporated within the north-east gable wall. The mill was last used in 1910 but the gearing survives and is in reasonable condition. Much of it is of wooden construction. The Miller's Cottage is thought to date from c.1700. It has been converted for use as the residence of the owners.


There are two main areas of woodland. The oldest lies along the eastern boundary and is composed largely of alder species, with some oak and hazel. Reference to the 1st & 2nd edition OS maps shows that woodland was established here in the 19th century but many of the trees are much younger. The burn which flows through the woodland spates readily and understorey planting is avoided, but a dense carpet of wild flowers is established.

On the western boundary of the garden, near the mill pond, Sitka spruce and other conifers have been established since 1962 for shelter. Both this area and that around the burn are reptile and bird sanctuaries with some 83 bird species having been recorded here. Red squirrels are seen here and other visitors include a fox and several types of dragonfly. Pipistrelle bats are resident.

The Gardens

The garden lies to the north of the Miller's House and is divided into named areas by the owners. The Miller's Garden is situated adjacent to the house and is largely lawn, enclosed by beds of dwarf conifers, small-scale shrubs and herbaceous plants. A footpath leads from it through the different areas. Within each, trees and shrubs have been carefully grouped together for their flower, foliage, form and texture. One of the most impressive plants in the garden is a 40 year old specimen of Abies koreana which forms a perfect equilateral triangle when seen in elevation. Some large-leaved Rhododendrons are grown; among them, R. concatenans, and R. campanulatum aeruginosum, which came from Sir Herbert Maxwell's garden at Monreith, Wigtownshire. Other plants are grown in the garden to provide interest beyond April-June. These include Berberis, Cornus, Phyllodoces, Viburnums, Prunus and Kalmia, as well as gentians, including G. asclepiadea and G. sinov- ornata.

The dwarf Rhododendron collection is grouped around a number of knolls in the centre of the garden which are characterised by rocky outcrops. Of particular note are R. repens, R. apodectum Red Form, R. tsariense, and R. recurvoides. They are only a few of some 250 or so varieties grown in the garden which form one of the finest collections of dwarf Rhododendrons in the country.




Printed Sources

A. Little 'The Gardens of Scotland', 1981

Allen Patterson, Country Life, 'Plants of Birnside & Coast' August 12th 1982

Statutory Listing, HB & MD

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.

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Barnhourie Mill entrance to garden, looking north on a rainy day with cloudy sky.
Barnhourie Mill island bed on rainy day with grass in front and trees behind.
Barnhourie Mill looking north with shrubs and grass on a cloudy day.
Barnhourie Mill with rhododendron species and trees to rear on cloudy day.
Barnhourie Mill with some rhododendron species and rocky outcrop on cloudy day.
Barnhourie Mill path through garden with rhododendron and shrub planting on rainy day

Printed: 04/06/2023 04:15