Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
National Park
NJ 33021 15982
333021, 815982


Circa 1810. Outstanding large rectangular-plan walled garden with crenellated towers and centre terrace, sited on S facing slope behind former Auchernach House and overlooking Water of Nochty. Tall slim granite ashlar fronted tower with raised quoin strips and margins at centre of N wall; circular towers to centre of E and W walls; wall breached at SE. High flat-coped rubble walls partly harled.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: S elevation of N wall with centre steps up to door in 1st stage of square tower, 2nd stage with inscribed granite panel below panel formerly with clock (see Notes) and louvered opening above. Round towers also providing access to garden. Vaulted cellars (remains of early house) and remains of concrete arcade at ruinous S edge. Further wall extending to NW.

Statement of Special Interest

Although neglected, the Auchernach walled garden retains much of its outstanding original fabric. The garden stands on a prominent hillside and when glimpsed from the Glen Nochty road it gives the appearance of an Indian hill fort upon which it is believed to have been modelled. The garden was recently (2005) sold to a Strathdon resident who plans to restore it.

Immediately to the north of the garden are the remains of holding ponds and sluices with contouring lades which held water from a spring approximately one mile away in the hills. The system worked until very recently when some piping was demolished corrupting the holding system. To the north west is the ruinous White Well, comprising a lined basin and alcoved seat of white quartz. It was known locally as Napoleon's Well because a willow tree behind the seat was grown from a seed taken from a tree at Napoleon's grave. In the late 1920s, the owner of Auchernach, G F Rose, organised a survey of the estate, the resulting publication, The Geology of Auchernach, describes the 12,000 acres as 'stern and bare' with 'spacious and well-timbered policies, the quaint old house, and the ample walled garden stretching up the sunny slope behind'. From the later years of the 16th century until 1901, the estate belonged to the Forbes family of Skellater. Auchernach House (demolished 1945) and walled garden were built circa 1810 by Lieut-General Nathaniel Forbes, of the Honourable East India Company, the New Statistical Account reports that it was 'for many years the best in the country'. The house was built on the remains of an earlier building, described as an 'old castle'. The vaults at the southern edge of the garden are part of that original structure. In his introduction to The Geology of Auchernach W Douglas Simpson describes the walled garden as 'covering an area of about an acre. It is enclosed by a massive rubble-built wall, 20 or 25 feet in external height, with round battlemented towers midway in each front and a tall clock tower, likewise embattled, in the rear. The design is unusual and very striking. It is understood that General Forbes borrowed the idea from an Indian hill-fort. The clock in the tower is of curious mechanism, and is dated 1787: another inscription records that it was repaired in 1832, and it was overhauled again in 1929. Midway in its length the garden is terraced, and in the centre is a fountain. There is also a sun-dial bearing the date 1826 and the initials NF and SF, for Nathaniel Forbes and his wife'.



New Statistical Account Vol 12 (1840), p547. A G Hutchison The Geology of Auchernach (1930), p ix. I Shepherd RIAS Gordon (1994), p66. Information courtesy of local resident.

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing and if a number or name is missing from a listing address it may still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing can also cover structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority advises on the need for listed building consent and they also decide what a listing covers. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

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Printed: 25/04/2019 17:47