Inventory Garden & Designed Landscape


Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (


Date Added
Local Authority
Perth And Kinross
NN 78277 46527
278277, 746527

An impressive mid-18th century designed landscape that spreads across the whole glen of the River Tay, and comprises parkland, woodland and category A listed buildings.

Artistic Interest

Level of interest

The imaginative and bold mid 18th century designed landscape which covered the entire glen has outstanding value as a Work of Art.


Level of interest

The significance of the early informal landscape, designed at the same time as the trendsetters in England, the association with the designers William Adam, Alexander Nasmyth, the Elliot brothers, William Atkinson, and James Gillespie Graham and with the Breadalbane family gives Taymouth outstanding Historical value.


Level of interest

The remnants of the pinetum and the outstanding size of the remaining trees gives this site some Horticultural value.


Level of interest

The designed landscape has outstanding Architectural value as the setting for category A listed buildings.


Level of interest
Not Assessed


Level of interest

The designed landscape covers the whole glen of the River Tay and can be seen from both roads giving this site outstanding Scenic value.

Nature Conservation

Level of interest

The flora along the river and in the remnants of the deciduous woodland gives Taymouth some Nature Conservation value.

Location and Setting

Taymouth Castle is situated off the A827 about 1 mile (1.5km) north of Kenmore and 5 miles (8km) west of Aberfeldy. It lies on the south bank of the River Tay about a mile from Loch Tay in the heartland of the Western Grampians. The policies cover the whole of the broad glacial valley and on either side of it, they extend up to the tree line on the surrounding hills. The climate is typical of central Scotland. Set in one of the finest glens in Scotland, Taymouth is bordered on two sides by mountain ranges, by Loch Tay on the third and by the confluence of the Rivers Lyon and Tay on the fourth. There are long views north to the range of hills above Aberfeldy and particularly towards Meall Tairneachan, 2,582' (787m). There are shorter views north-west across the river to Drummond Hill and south-east to Craig Hill, 1,857' (566m). From the walled garden and pinetum, there are long views south-west across Loch Tay but the Loch cannot be seen from the Castle. Most of the designed landscape can be seen from the two roads which run through the policies on either side of the river; the A827 to the south and the minor road between Kenmore and the Appin of Dull to the north.

Lying in the centre of it policies, Taymouth Castle stands in the middle of a wide peninsula formed by a long bend in the river. The designed landscape covers the entire glen and is bordered by the surrounding physical features such as the Loch and hills. From about 1720, when the first landscape was laid out, the extent of the designed landscape has remained almost unchanged and today, it covers an area of about 2,194 acres (888ha).

The designed landscape was laid out three times during the 18th century. The first design can be seen on the plan attributed to William Adam of 1720, the second on Thomas Winter's survey of 1754 and the third on George Langlands' survey of 1786. Comparison of these plans show the radical changes which took place. The landscape was altered again in the mid-19th century as shown on the 1st edition OS of 1862, and on the 2nd edition of 1901.

Site History

There are still the remnants of the informal designed landscape undertaken in the 1750s which were added to in the early 19th century. The design remained unaltered until the estate was sold in 1922. Today, much of the designed landscape has gone and many of the remaining features are derelict.

In about 1550, Balloch Castle, as Taymouth was then called, was owned by Sir Duncan Campbell, 1st Baronet. According to Burke's peerage he is reputed to have been the 'first Highland laird to turn (his) attention to rural improvements and plant trees and he forced his tenants to do so'. It was his descendant John Campbell, the 2nd Earl of Breadalbane, who succeeded in 1717 and started the alterations to the Castle and the laying out of the grounds. In 1752, he died at the age of 90. His son John, as Lord Glenorchy and later the 3rd Earl of Breadalbane, had taken over the management of Taymouth from his elderly father and is said to have laid out the first design in 1720 and he certainly laid out the second landscape in the 1750s. He married, Amabell de Grey, the daughter and heiress of the 1st Duke of Kent, who had laid out the formal water garden at Wrest Park, Bedfordshire.

In 1720, William Adam produced a plan showing the grand design in which six radiating avenues, each over a mile long, converged on the Castle. Two elaborate gardens with parterres, grass platts and orchards were set on either side of the Castle. To the south of it around the loop of the river, Adam planted an avenue of trees in the shape of a D. This shape was divided by three avenues at angles to the Castle; one extended the central axis through it and the other two subsidiary ones continued lines set up in the two gardens.

On top of the sharply defined terraces on the banks of the river, Adam planted two long avenues of lime trees. These are known as the North Terrace and the South Terrace. In about 1733, this layout appears in a painting called: 'Birdseye view of Taymouth Castle', attributed to James Norie. This painting also shows the renovated Tower Castle with its two flanking pavilions designed by William Adam. In 1739, Jan Griffer (spelt in the accounts as Greffier) was 'paid for making changes to a view of Taymouth'. His changes to the Norie painting can still be discerned. They show the removal of the long radiating avenues and the modification of the gardens to accommodate the pavilions. The park has many more individual trees and the overall design is less formal. General Roy's plan, of c.1750 confirms these changes. It also shows the long avenue leading to the Loch and the outline of the viewing terrace cut into the slope half way up Craig Hill.

In 1754, Thomas Winter prepared another survey of the grounds and by this time all of the formal gardens, the remaining avenue and part of the terrace had been removed. The orchard had been moved to the west of the ridge where the Dairy now stands. The walled garden was also moved to the north-east of the Castle adjacent to the Newhall Kennels. Woodland had been planted on both Drummond Hill and Craig Hill. The North and South Terraces were untouched and so was the D formation of trees to the south of the Castle. Between the 1740s and mid-1750s there are several accounts for the supply of seed and garden equipment. In 1754 there is an account for a box of seed from America which is the same year as Peter Collinson supplied five boxes of seed for 'nobility & gentry of Scotland'. Collinson imported seed of wild plants mainly from the East Coast of America collected by John Bartram. Collinson was also supplying the 3rd Earl's cousin, the Duke of Argyll.

In 1786, a plan of the 'seat of the Earl of Breadalbane' was drawn by George Langlands. This shows a much more polished landscape in the informal style. All the formal planting in the glen has been removed and the entire floor turned into a huge park. The extent of the open space is accentuated by clumps of trees and single specimens. The main road had been moved to halfway up Taymouth Hill and the entrance drive re-aligned. Views of the Castle and most of the follies are shown around the plan and these include, the Octagon, the Fort, Maxwell's Building, Star Seat, Apollo's Temple, Venus' Temple, Aeolus's Temple and the Recess in the Surprise Wall. The Tower, Chinese Bridge and Ladies Mount were noted on the plan but not illustrated.

In 1760, Richard Pococke visited Taymouth and he describes at some length the walk which he took around the pleasure grounds. It must have been a long walk as it included visiting all the buildings shown in Langlands plan and the landscape he described was very similar in concept to that of Stourhead, Hagley Hall and Painshill which had all been started at most only ten years before Taymouth. In 1776, William Gilpin was not as impressed as Pococke, and wrote: 'The whole scene is capable of great improvement: but when we saw it, nothing like taste had been exercised upon it'. Although published in 1796 sometime after his visit, William Marshall, in the 2nd edition of his book on 'Planting and Rural Ornament', describes the 3rd Earl's pleasure ground at some length. He wrote the 'the late Earl .... made Taymouth his principal residence ... and made great alterations in the place; and considering the day in which they were done (near half a century ago, in the early dawn of rational improvements), they remain,....proofs of his superior abilities'. In 1782, John the 4th Earl, aged 20 years old, succeeded his grandfather. In 1789, he commissioned Robert Mylne, the architect to the Duke of Argyll at Inveraray to prepare plans for a new 'chateau'. They were not executed.

But between 1800 and 1834, the 4th Earl transformed the Castle using various architects including Alexander Nasmyth who drew up proposals for another house and a bridge and William Atkinson who was noted for his interest in gardening. In 1831 John was created 1st Marquess of Breadalbane; he died three years later. His son, the 2nd Marquess played host to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1842 during a three day visit to Taymouth and the Castle was exuberantly refurbished by James Gillespie Graham for this visit. In 1866, the Queen returned for a private visit.

Throughout the 19th century, there were changes to the designed landscape; some of the 18th century follies were removed and new ones built in their place; for example, the Venus' Temple was substituted by the Dairy, Maxwell's Building by Maxwell's Temple and the Star Seat by the Star Battery, but it is not known who laid out these changes though William Atkinson designed the replica of Queen Eleanor's Cross as Maxwell's Temple.

In 1823, J.C. Loudon in his Encyclopaedia of Gardening described Taymouth as the 'most magnificent residence in the county. ...... The mountain, lawn and banks of the waters, are richly clothed with wood, through which are led magnificent walks. Of trees, the lime and larches have attained to a great size, and there is an avenue of the former 450 yards in length, scarcely equalled anywhere.'

By the 1st edition OS plan of 1862, there had been several changes to the designed landscape. The kitchen garden had been moved to its present site on the northern banks of the Loch. Several additional drives had been made in the park, and new buildings added, particularly the Dairy Byre, the Monument, the sawmill and Newhall offices and buildings.

In 1862, the 2nd Marquess died and the United Kingdom titles became extinct. The succession to the Scottish Earldom was decided in favour of a very distant cousin, John Campbell, who became the 6th Earl. He died ten years later and was succeeded by his son, Gavin. In 1873, the 7th Earl was created 1st Marquess of Breadalbane and he managed to lose most of his large estate. In 1922, following his death, his nephew inherited and had to sell the Castle and its grounds.

In 1929, the Castle opened as an hotel and the park was laid out as a golf course. During World War II, the Castle was used as a Polish hospital and Nissen Huts were constructed on the lawns between the Castle and the river. The foundations are still there today. In 1950 it became the Civil Defence School run by the Home Office. Recently the lease for a school has terminated and the Castle has been empty for many years. The golf course is still in use today.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Taymouth Castle, listed category A, is a four-storey 'Gothic' building with circular towers. Originally a 15th century stronghold, two pavilions were added by William Adam around 1733. In 1799, the central tower was demolished. The reconstruction of the main block began in 1801 to designs by John Paterson. He was dismissed in 1805 and his building pulled down. In 1806, James and Archibald Elliot started the block again. Their design clearly shows the influence of the 18th century Inveraray Castle. In 1818-19, following the death of James Elliot, William Atkinson built a new east wing which was extended in 1823 and 1825-27. For the 2nd Marquess in 1838, James Gillepsie Graham added a further storey to the Castle, adjusted the facades of the wings and added new battlements. He arranged for the exuberant and ornate interiors to be finished in time for Queen Victoria's visit in 1842. Taymouth is considered by Alistair Rowan as 'one of the most magnificent Georgian neo- Gothic castles in Scotland'.

Main Lodge and Arch, listed category B designed by James and Archibald Elliot, is an octagonal lodge with a circular staircase and the entrance arch is castellated flanked by a Tudor Screen. Newhall Lodge, listed category B is a rustic lodge at the eastern entrance to the grounds. Fort Lodge, listed category A, is a single storey building with rustic columns and arches made from logs in the late 1830s. The eaves are decorated with stags' heads in the centre.

Kenmore Screen and Lodge, listed category B. Kenmore Bridge Lodge, is listed category B. Delarb Rustic Lodge, listed category B, is an early 19th century, 'Gothic' rustic building overlooking Loch Tay at the end of the pinetum. The ruined Rock Lodge, listed category B, is a 19th century, 'Gothic' circular tower with rustic masonry. Rustic Lodge, listed category A, was built around 1840 and is similar to Fort Lodge with rustic log colonnades.

Newhall Bridge, listed category B, was constructed with cast-iron arched spans with wooden decking which is now rotten. The Kennels and Farm Buildings, are sited near the 18th century kitchen gardens. The 5m high walls of the garden with arched doorways have two cottages built against them. The early 19th century Bridge, listed category B, spans the Taymouth Burn just below the Fort. The derelict Fort, listed category B, is a semi-circular folly flanked by stone screens. It was shown on Langlands plan of 1786, mentioned by Pococke in 1760 and is said to be by John Baxter.

The ruined Tower, listed category B is described by Pococke in 1760 as a 'round tower, the walls of which are about three feet thick,... the top being finished with battlements; from which there is a very fine prospect to the West and North.'

A Bridge over Taymouth Burn near Apollo's Temple listed category B, is early 19th century. Apollo's Temple, listed category B is derelict. The derelict Dairy Byre and Old Curling pond lie north of the mound of Apollo's Temple. The Byre is an ornate cowshed. The Sawmills are also derelict. The Dairy, listed category A, is a rustic Italianate building made from white quartz. It replaced the Venus' Temple shown on the 1786 plan and has recently been restored. The Monument, listed category B, is an Urn on a square Pedestal and is thought to date from the 18th century. It is marked on the 1st edition OS of 1862. The crenellated Ramparts, listed category B, run along about 200 yards of the riverbank just west of the Castle.

The Walled Garden, listed category B, is a large rectangle with an imposing 'Gothic' gateway built about 1838. The Maxwell's Temple, listed category A is shaped like Queen Eleanor's Cross and was designed by William Atkinson in 1831. The derelict Chinese Bridge, listed category A, is early 19th century with cast-iron arches possibly by A. Nasmyth on the site of a previous wooden bridge. The Star Battery, listed category B, is a crenellated wall built on the plan of half a star on the site of the Star Seat shown on the 1786 plan. It is said to be on the site of the Old Parish Church. All the buildings are considered by the listings as an 'exceptionally spectacular and complete group of large Country House (buildings) and ancillaries'.


For over 2 miles (3km) on either side of the river, the park extends from the Loch to the confluence with the River Lyon. Originally designed by William Adam in 1720, it was radically altered between 1754 and 1760. When Richard Pococke visited Taymouth in 1760, he described in detail the long walks around pleasure grounds, the follies and other features. These are clearly shown on the 1786 plan. At this time Taymouth was one of the earliest landscapes in Scotland with 'ferme ornee' features and it also had strong similarities to Painshill and Stourhead.

In 1796, Marshall described the park as ' composed of rich, well turned knolls, rising one behind the other, with dips of flattened stages between them; falling back with easy slopes; so as to form a most beautiful style of the ground: such as is seldom seen in mountain districts'. Early in the 19th century, the park was altered but many features still remain of its mid-18th century design. Throughout the 19th century it was grazed by deer, and also by a herd of bison which was later replaced by the more 'gentle Highland cattle'.

On either side of river, the raised banks or terraces are remnants of William Adam's design. The South Terrace ran from Lady's Mount, at the western end of the park, to the northern end of the loop in the river near the Castle. It was planted with lime trees some of which were replaced in the 1800s and others in the last 5 years. The North Terrace stretched for over 450 yards from Maxwell's Temple to the river bank opposite the Rustic Lodge near Point of Lyon. This is still bordered by closely spaced lime trees as far as the Star Battery which is about half way along the original avenue. These limes created the Gothic arch experience described by all the commentators. The girth of these trees is very small if they were planted in about 1720. They may have been replanted in the 1800s.

Taymouth Park has been laid out as a golf course and the fairways imposed upon it. There has been no replacement of park trees and new planting has defined the straight edged fairways. Most of the western end of the park has been absorbed into Kenmore by new development and playing fields have been made to the south of the drive. All the park on the north side of the river is now grazed with livestock and the trees have been removed. At the west end there is an unsightly caravan park. Derelict army huts now cover the lawns in the loop of the river where in the late 19th century, the beautiful grass was commented on. In the 18th century, there were over 13 miles of walks around the policies and now, except for the main drive, all the other paths have been abandoned. Most of the follies and the two bridges are derelict and smothered by weeds.


In 1796, Marshall described Drummond Hill as 'now mantled from the base to near the summit, with woods of the most luxuriant growth: the lower and middle regions with oak, beeches, and other deciduous woods, interspersed with larch and firs: the upper region with Highland Pine'. By the 1754 plan, the woods on both Craig Hill and Drummond Hill were nearly planted up; they had been completed by the 1786 survey. In 1922, following the sale, most of these woodlands were replanted with conifers. Since the 1950s, the Forestry Commission has extended the coniferous plantations further up the hills. The small woodland copses along the river and around the Dairy Terrace have had little attention since the early 20th century and those towards Newhall and around Star Battery are in a poor condition.

Woodland Garden

There are a few remaining Rhododendrons and Azaleas on the Dairy Terrace and to the west of the Castle. In the mid-19th century, the pinetum was planted along the Loch shore to the south-west of the walled garden. A Wellingtonia still stands over 148' high, planted only a year after it was introduced in 1853. In 1982, Alan Mitchell measured 23 conifers of 15 species and only four were under 100'. As there has been little maintenance for the last 30 years, sycamore seedlings have taken over and the arboretum is a tangle of undergrowth and fallen trees.

Walled Gardens

The walled garden was built in the early 19th century and its layout is clearly seen on the 1st edition OS plan. All glasshouses and other ancillary buildings have gone except the 'Gothic' arched entrance and the brick walls. In 1900, an article in the Gardening World described these gardens in detail. They contained several glasshouses including several stove houses, and an enormous Palm House, seven vineries, three peach houses and a small fernery. The centre walk was bordered on either side by 'two lovely ribbon borders' and there were flower gardens on the south and east sides but there is no trace of them today. At present, planning permission is being sought to build time- share apartments within the walls. (Since the survey permission has been granted and now the apartments are being built).




Printed Sources

T. Pennant, Tour in Scotland 1772, 80-81

J.P.Neale Views v.6, 1823

F.O. Morris, Series of Picturesque Views v.2, 31

R.Pococke, Tours in Scotland 1887, 235-36

Gdning World, v.17, 1900, 104-05

CL v.136, 1964, 912-13,978-79

B.Jones, Follies & Grottoes 1974, 188-91

J.Harris, Artist and the Country House 1979,198-99

William Marshall, Planting & Rural Ornament,1796

J.C. Loudon, 1824

NSA 1845

A.A. Tait, 1980

A. Mitchell, Tree Survey 1983

Groome's, 1882


NMRS, Engravings & Photographs

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.

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Printed: 25/07/2024 10:21