Inventory Garden & Designed Landscape


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Dumfries And Galloway
NX 47711 45101
247711, 545101

A grand 18th-century parkland landscape, influenced by Capability Brown, and remodelled in the mid 19th-century. The woodland garden hosts a valuable plant collection, and as well as providing an attractive setting for a category A-listed house, the landscape also makes a major contribution to the surrounding rolling grassland scenery.

Artistic Interest

Level of interest

The grandeur of the 18th & 19th century designed landscape, gives Galloway House high value as a Work of Art although it is in poor condition today.


Level of interest

There has been an extensive designed landscape at Galloway since the early 18th century. It was redesigned by Lord Garlies in the mid-18th century and its long connection with the Earls of Galloway gives it high Historical value.


Level of interest

The collection of trees and shrubs, particularly early hybrid rhododendrons, gives Galloway high Horticultural value.


Level of interest

The designed landscape is the setting for a category A listed building giving this site outstanding Architectural value.


Level of interest
Not Assessed


Level of interest

The woodland canopy contributes to the surrounding countryside which is mainly rolling grassland and gives Galloway House high Scenic value.

Nature Conservation

Level of interest

The woodland flora, especially under the 18th century trees in the Woodland Garden, gives this site some Nature Conservation value.

Location and Setting

Galloway House is situated off the B7004 on the southern edge of the village of Garlieston, some 15 miles (24km) south of Newton Stewart and about 9 miles (14.5km) south east of Wigtown. It lies on the east coast of the gentle undulating hills of the Machars of Galloway overlooking Wigtown Bay. The policies are enclosed by the B7004 on two sides, the B7063 to the south and the seashore along the east side. The climate is influenced by the Gulf Stream and is mild and wet. The soils are of good loam and range from neutral to acid. The rich grasslands on the rolling hills support intensive dairy farming and only a few blocks of woodland punctuate the large green fields.

The panorama of the Solway Firth across to the Lake District and the Isle of Man provides magnificent views south and east from the house. From the kitchen garden there are views south-west to Gallow Hill, 226' (69m), rising just beyond the southern boundary. The pattern of woodland plantations and the narrow shelterbelts can be seen from the north shore of Wigtown Bay and contributes greatly to the surrounding landscape.

Galloway House lies in the centre of the park on low-lying ground leading to the seashore just below Powton Hill. The park is enclosed by a stone wall which runs along the minor roads to just south of Sliddery Point. The designed landscape extends to about 721 acres (292ha). Documentary evidence relies on General Roy's plan of c.1750 and the 1st & 2nd editions of the OS maps of 1857 and c.1898. The Galloway Estate papers were not seen. The earliest plan shows an extensive formal landscape defined by two long avenues, one framing the house from a circle at the centre of the other. By the 1st edition OS map, the park had doubled in size and a looser and more informal design had been imposed on the earlier layout. This form and structure is maintained today. From the Wigtown Lodge Gates, the line of the 1740s' avenue can just be discerned running straight down to Rigg Bay Cottage which at that time was the full extent of the park. The central cross avenue framing the house still provides the main axis looking west from the house to Powton Hill although the trees have now gone. On the south and east sides the Victorian terraces impose a strong formal design and, looking south, there is a long vista over the parterre and through the woodland garden.

Site History

Lord Garlies redesigned the original formal park in the mid-18th century, influenced by Capability Brown. The grounds and gardens were remodelled c.1850 by the 9th Earl.

It was during the tenure of Alexander, 6th Earl of Galloway (c.1700-1773), that the present house was built between 1740-42 to designs by John Douglas. William Adam had submitted plans but these were amended by Douglas. Sir John Clerk of Pencuik also gave advice and the house was actually built by the master mason, John Baxter. In 1764, Alexander's son, John, 7th Earl (1736- 1806), as Lord Garlies, instructed alterations to the house and began improving the park. He was recognised by contemporary commentators as a 'noted improver' and he is known to have been influenced by 'Capability' Brown's design at Fisherwick in Staffordshire. He wrote that Fisherwick was 'one of the finest parks I ever saw' and when he saw Brown's transplanting machine at work was encouraged to try and move some his trees 'with the greatest care, in a similar way'. In 1791, the Statistical Accounts recorded that Galloway House 'forms part of a landscape truly beautiful and grand' and that the Earl planted over 200,000 trees a year.

Randolph, 9th Earl (1800-1873), planted the ornate parterre in the terrace to the south of the house and began planting the woodland garden in the shelterbelt beyond when he inherited the estate from his father in 1834. He also commissioned William Burn to design further alterations to the house. The 11th Earl was profligate and the extensive estate which covered most of the Machars was sold in 1907 to pay his debts. In 1908, it was sold to the McEacharn family. They engaged Sir Robert Lorimer to remodel the entrance hall and public rooms.

In 1930, the estate was sold again and was bought by Margaret, Lady Forteviot. During World War II the beach at Rigg Bay was the site of the trials for the prototype of the Mulberry Harbour used at the Normandy landings. Between 1947- 53, the house was leased by Glasgow Corporation Education Department.

In 1946 Lady Forteviot's step-grandson, Edward Strutt, inherited the estate and maintained and farmed it until 1958 when the farm buildings and farmland were sold to Messrs T.C. and T. McCreath. Mr Strutt retained 40 acres of parkland and approximately 100 acres of woodland, including the woodland garden and walled garden, which he and Mrs Strutt have permanently opened to the public.

Glasgow Corporation Education Department had a lease on the mansion house from 1947. In 1953 it was sold to Glasgow Corporation who ran it as a Residential School for Glasgwegian children until it was closed for economic reasons in 1976. In 1985 the mansion house and surrounding lawns were bought by Mr and Mrs Wallis from the USA as a private residence.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Galloway House, listed category A, was built c.1740-42 by John Baxter from designs by John Douglas. It was altered in 1764. In 1842 further alterations were made by William Burn. Sir Robert Lorimer remodelled the public rooms and hall in 1909-10.

The Stables and Outbuildings were probably built in the mid-19th century and have been divided up into dwellings. The Kitchen Garden Walls, listed category C, are late 18th century and modified during the 19th century. The Gardeners Cottages attached to the Kitchen Garden Walls were also built in the 19th century. Rigg Bay Cottage, Park Lodge and Ivy Lodge are all derelict. The Park Walls are listed category C and were built in c.1750 by French prisoners of war.

There were several lodges, only some of which are now inhabited. Wigtown and Garlieston Lodges are listed category C. Harbour Lodge was demolished c.1953 and Powton Lodge was sold to the neighbouring farm. Breakwater Lodge, Whithorn Lodge, High Lodge and Cruggleton Lodge are all derelict. The Home Farm is situated at the north end of the park and is probably 19th century, but has been developed to modern standards of dairying.


The parkland surrounds the house and is rectangular in shape except for the crescent- shaped intrusion of Rigg Bay. A 2m high stone wall encloses it on three sides clearly separating it from the surrounding landscape. The sea forms the fourth side. Once a magnificent 18th century landscape park, many of the individual trees and clumps which emphasised its rolling shape have gone. The larger clumps of woodland still echo the layout. Most of the fields are grass pasture and are grazed. This farming policy greatly contributes to the parkland effect.


There are several large blocks of woodland within the park walls. Their present layout has hardly changed since the 2nd edition OS plan of 1898. The size of many of the large beech and oak suggests that they could have been planted in the late 18th century but most of the woodlands were replanted in the 1950s and 60s. The woods have been replanted mainly with hardwoods using conifers, particularly spruce, as a nurse crop.

Woodland Garden

The Woodland Garden was laid out by Randolph, 9th Earl, from 1834 until his death in 1873. His layout can be seen on the 1st edition OS and the paths were designed on a grid formation. The central vista ended at the seashore and could have created a 'Keyhole' effect between the tall trees; by the 2nd edition OS, the formal plan had eased and the keyhole vista had been lost but this has since been restored. The 9th Earl planted many rhododendrons and his specimens of R. caucasicum x arboreum won a first class certificate awarded by the Royal Horticultural Society in London in 1863. These plants are still growing in the garden today. He also planted many conifers including several silver firs (Abies alba) which are now tall trees. Neil McEacharn extensively replanted the garden during the 1920s and added many interesting shrubs and trees which are now reaching maturity. Some of his plants included several dwarf Japanese maples, fine Cercidiphyllum japonicum and a large Drimys winteri. From the 1950s, Mr Strutt increased the collection with many trees and shrubs particularly with the large-leaved Rhododendrons of the Grande series and several Raoul trees (Nothofaus species) including a fine specimen of the New Zealand Nothofagus menziesii. In 1967, Alan Mitchell measured over 29 trees including two fine beech over 100' high.

The Gardens

The South Terrace was planted out by the 9th Earl and could have been built in 1842 when the house was altered by William Burn. The 1st edition OS of 1857 shows an ornate parterre design but no detail is indicated on the 2nd edition map. However photographs in the 1907 sale catalogue give a clear picture of the sunken garden divided into four quarters. Each compartment contained a complicated pattern of low planting accentuated by small topiary yews. The gravel paths, steep grass banks, and the stone steps remain today but the ornate pattern has been replaced by a few rose beds. The east terrace was made between the two editions of the OS plans and is about three times the size of the west terrace. The plain grass lawn was divided into four squares by intersecting gravel paths and it ended in a low stone wall decorated by finials. The wall forms a ha-ha between the garden and the park below. Today the paths are well kept but the retaining wall is in a poor condition.

Walled Gardens

The walled garden lies to the south-west of the house. It is composed of a main rectangular block which is divided into two smaller rectangles by a wall along the north-east/south-west axis. The 1st edition OS map shows the elaborate layout of the garden at this time. Outwith the main garden are additional walled enclosures which provided further space for the cultivation of fruit and vegetables.

The Head Gardener's Cottage, built within the north-east wall, has been converted into a residence for the Strutt family and the adjacent area of the kitchen garden is now their private garden. The section of the garden outside the cottage has been filled with attractive shrubs and colourful plants. Along many of the internal walls grow trained fruit trees. The greenhouses are mainly along the central wall and still grow peaches, nectarines, Black Hamburg grapes and figs, as well as raising many plants such as tender and fragrant Rhododendrons and Camellias. One glasshouse had red and pink Geraniums trained up the high back wall. On the north side of the central wall is a 19th century fernery. Other greenhouses are used for growing tomatoes and for propagating.

Vegetables are grown in one section and raspberries are grown as a commercial crop. Donkeys graze in another area and the remaining space is filled with Dutch frames and the greenhouses. The additional areas outwith the main rectangular garden are no longer cultivated.




Printed Sources

Old Statistical Account 1796

New Statistical Account 1845

Sales Particulars 1907

Sales Brochure, April 1982

A. Mitchell, Tree Survey 1967


NMRS 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.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

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Printed: 18/04/2024 15:58