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'.