Inventory Garden & Designed Landscape


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Kiltarlity And Convinth
NH 50734 42925
250734, 842925

An extensive designed landscape of high scenic importance in the Aird and Beauly Firth, comprising 19th century landscape park and pleasure grounds, incorporating an earlier designed landscape associated with an earlier castle.

Type of Site

Extensive 19th century landscape park, pleasure grounds and woodland walks, incorporating features from an earlier designed landscape associated with earlier Castle.

Main Phases of Landscape Development

Late 17th/early 18th century, 19th century.

Artistic Interest

Level of interest

The landscape park, set amidst large woodlands with the River Beauly, form a romantic setting for the Castle. The site thereby has some value as a Work of Art.


Level of interest

A series of defensive buildings has been constructed and rebuilt at Beaufort since the 12th century. The long association with the Frasers of Lovat is significant, and further research would reveal the site's historical value.


Level of interest

Beaufort Castle's collection of trees, mostly planted in the 19th century, gives the site high horticultural value.


Level of interest

The designed landscape provides the integral setting for the Castle, which together with other estate buildings, walled gardens and landscape layout give the site high Architectural value.


Level of interest

The archaeology of the series of defensive structures, and the archaeology of the standing buildings, implies that the site has outstanding Archaeological potential.


Level of interest

The scale of the designed landscape and its dominance in the Aird/Beauly Firth , give it high Scenic value.

Nature Conservation

Level of interest

The expansive woodlands, long-established riverside woodlands and parklands provide a range of habitats, giving the site high Nature Conservation value.

Location and Setting

Beaufort Castle is situated directly north of Kiltarlity, 19km (13 miles) west of Inverness and 6.4km (4 miles) south-west of Beauly. The Castle stands on a slightly elevated rise on the south side of the River Beauly with parkland extending to its south-west and east. To its east, it overlooks the junction of the Dounie Burn with the Bruiach Burn which becomes the Belladrum Burn, and issues into the Beauly. There are few views to the Castle from the surrounding landscape as woodlands and belts of trees enclose the parkland.

The policies are important scenically as they contribute to the local landscape character.

The landscape park extends southwards from the River Beauly to the Home Farm. Ornamental walks lead along the Bruiach Burn, southwards from the Castle to the Walled Gardens and Nursery. To the east the designed landscape extended to the East Lodge on the Kiltarlity road. Belladrum designed landscape to the south-east was contiguous with the Beauly policies (1872, O.S 6") thereby an extensive area of parkland and plantings define the eastern approach to Kiltarlity.

Site History

Mention is made of the fortress of Beaufort, Downie or Dounie Castle when it sustained a siege during the reign of Alexander I (1106-24). It is said that the defensive trenches can still be traced (NSA, 1845). Later, the castle was seized and blown up by Oliver Cromwell.

Simon Fraser, (circa 1667-1747), 'The Fox', succeeded his father as 11th Lord Lovat in 1699. A Jacobite, he was implicated in the Queensberry Plot and fled to France. When his cousin, who held the Lovat estates joined the Jacobites, Lovat returned in 1714. In reward for government support, Lovat obtained a full pardon and possession of the estates. But after the Battle of Culloden, following his support for the Jacobites, Dounie Castle was burnt and razed by Cumberland, while Lovat was captured. He was sent to London and in 1747, beheaded on a charge of treason. The only remains of Dounie Castle now surviving is a 11m long stretch of wall set with a plaque relating that it is 'the ruin of Castle Downie, the ancient stronghold of the Frazers of Lovat, built c 1400, and destroyed by Cumberland after the battle of Culloden'.

A small stone house was built on the site to accommodate the factor of the Forfeited Estates Commissioners. General Simon Fraser, Lovat's heir, raised 4,000 clansmen and other Highlanders to fight for King George in Portugal and at Quebec, thereby earning the return of his estates in 1774. Plans and illustrations for an unexecuted 'new Design for Bewley Castle' dated 1777 survive (Soane Museum). All Lovat's sons died without issue, resulting in the estates passing to Thomas Fraser of Strichen in 1815. He invested in the estates by planting, fencing and building estate houses. He was created a peer in 1837 and thereafter the ancient Scots title of Lovat was returned to him. He commissioned William Burn to extend and alter the house in 1839. By the mid 19th century the parklands were described as 'extensive …studded with large trees of various kinds' with a rosary and flower-garden laid out in the vicinity of the castle by Lady Lovat (NSA, 1845).

In 1880 Simon Fraser, 13th  Lord Lovat (d.1887) commissioned J M Wardrop (1824-82) to design the existing Beaufort Castle. Wardrop, a pupil of Bryce's, designed a Baronial mansion, near to the remains of Dounie Castle, commanding extensive views over the Airds of Lovat. Lovat was chairman of the first Forestry Commission and first convener of Inverness County Council.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Beaufort Castle designed by J M Wardrop in 1880, probably includes an earlier building. The drawing room wing and entrance hall were altered and restored in 1937 by Reginald Fairlie after a fire. It is Baronial in style and built of tooled red ashlar with polished ashlar dressings.

The Home Farm, to the south-west of the Castle, is a south-facing 'E' plan steading with a bellcote and is mainly single-storey. The West Lodge is an early 19th century cottage, altered in the late 19th century with gabletted domes. The East Lodge is c 1840, a T-plan gate lodge of coursed rubble with tooled sandstone dressings. With crowstepped gables, oriel windows and finials, the gate lodge incorporates two pairs of square ashlar gate piers.

The Walled Garden, early-mid 18th century, has rubble walls and is rectangular with curved brick-lined walls. It is some 300m in length from east-west.

The Gardens

By the mid 19th century there were a series of Summer Houses laid out within the pleasure grounds along the Bruiach Burn. Other Summer Houses were laid out along the banks of the River Beauly . A formal walk led along an escarpment to the west of Beaufort Castle, above the river (1872, OS 6"). Formal gardens lie to the south-east and east of the Castle. The parkland is informal in style with large clumps of trees and a serpentine approach drive leading in from the East Lodge (RCAHMS, Aerial photographs).

The ornamental planting includes major specimens of Caucasian fir (Abies nordmanniana), Noble fir (Abies procera), Monkey puzzle (Araucaria araucana), Crimean pine ( Pinus nigra var.caramanica), Western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) and Wellingtonia (Sequioadendron giganteum) (Tree Register of the British Isles, TROBI).



Maps, Plans and Archives

1872 survey, 1st edition OS 1:10560 (6"), published 1876

1872 survey, 1st edition OS 1:2,500 (25"), published n/a

Plan of the Principal Story of a new Design for Bewley Castle. Two elevations of new design. Soane Museum. v.30

Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland: National Monuments Record of Scotland (NMRS) and photographic and manuscript collections : Beaufort Castle


Printed Sources

Gifford, J. 1992 The Buildings of Scotland: Highlands and Islands, London : Penguin in association with Buildings of Scotland Trust

Groome, F.H. 1882, Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland, v.I, 136, William Mackenzie: London

The New Statistical Account of Scotland 1841, Statistical Account of the Parish of Kiltarlity, v.14, Edinburgh, 496-7

The Statistical Account of Scotland 1792, Statistical Account of the Parish of Kiltarlity, v.13, Edinburgh, 519, 525

Scottish Natural Heritage, 1999, Inverness District, landscape character assessment

Scottish Field, 1957, May, 25-7

The Tree Register of British Isles, 1985, Beaufort Castle

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: 26/05/2022 14:38