Inventory Garden & Designed Landscape


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Last Date Amended
Local Authority
Scottish Borders
NT 28478 38596
328478, 638596

Kailzie is known for its distinctive walled garden and fine heritage tree, the Kailzie Larch, planted in 1725. Although the main house of the estate was demolished in 1962, the designed landscape contains a good range of other significant architectural features, including a category-A listed 17th-century dovecot.

Type of Site

Inner parkland policies of a former 18th to 19th-century country estate containing a large walled garden and wild garden, renovated and redesigned in the later 20th century, and a range of mainly 19th-century estate buildings. The gardens are open to the public and form part of a more widely developed visitor attraction that is also noted for an osprey watch centre.

Main Phases of Landscape Development

18th to earlier 19th century; 1960s-present

Artistic Interest

Level of interest

Designed by the present owner during the later 20th century, the semi-formal walled garden at Kailzie has achieved recognition as a distinctive piece of garden design.


Level of interest

There are relatively few historical sources on the nature of the earlier designed landscape. However, the 17th century dovecote, together with the Kailzie Larch are important material survivors, while the more recent history of the garden renovation is well documented.


Level of interest

The Kailzie Larch, planted in 1725, is an important heritage tree and among the earliest surviving European larches planted in Scotland. Other specimen conifers and the collection of shrubs and roses provide further interest in this category.


Level of interest

The designed landscape contains a range of estate buildings, including an exceptional example of a well-preserved lectern dovecote, with a date panel of 1698.


Level of interest

Two enclosures in the parklands, visible as cropmarks and identified through aerial reconnaissance, are of value for local archaeological research. Otherwise, value in this category derives mainly from the potential for future investigation or survey to reveal further information about the landscape over time.


Level of interest

The canopy of the mixed woodlands around the walled garden adds some scenic interest to the upland valley landscape of the middle Tweed.

Nature Conservation

Level of interest

Kailzie Gardens is an official partner in the Tweed Valley Osprey Project, designed to protect nesting ospreys and encourage them to settle and breed. The osprey watch centre at Kailzie is a valuable educational resource and helps to promote the work of the project

Location and Setting

The designed landscape comprises the inner policies of the former estate of Kailzie. Located 2 miles (3km) to the east of Peebles, the grounds are set within the upland valley of the Middle Tweed, a landscape characterised by the meandering river channel, flat valley floor, steep, enclosing uplands, and increasing suburban development along the lower ground. Defined largely by a perimeter stone dyke, the garden, parks and woods of Kailzie occupy an area of mostly flat ground immediately to the south of the Tweed. From here, views extend across the valley towards Glentress Forest and the Leithen and Moorfoot Hills to the north, while Kailzie Hill rises steeply to the south. Kailzie Burn, which drains the hilly ground to the south, flows through the policies from south to north and is now the focus for the Burnside Walk and associated woodland garden. Although located on the valley floor, Kailzie lies at some 600 feet (170-180m) above sea-level and is susceptible to severe winters and hard frosts, a climate that determines much of the plant selection in the walled garden. This small designed landscape encompasses 76ha (187ac). While the wider estate of Kailzie once incorporated the agricultural land on the hillsides to the south and west, the designed landscape more readily discernible today is contained by the river to the north and the minor B0762 road from Peebles to Traquair to the south and west.

Site History

Documentary references to the lands of Kailzie go back to the 13th century with variations on the name of Hopkailzie or Hopkeiloc (Chambers 1864: 391). The structure of the present designed landscape, however, dates mainly from much later periods, namely the later 18th to earlier 19th century, when planting and construction work took place across the estate, and the later 20th century, when following a period of decline, the present owner embarked on renovation and restoration projects in the core garden areas.

From the post-medieval era through to the 18th century, the estate of Kailzie passed through a great number of different families, including the Tweedies (the 14th century), the Earls of Traquair, the Burnetts and the Balfours (the 17th and early 18th centuries), the Plenderleiths and Kennedys (the 18th century), and briefly, a 'pianoforte manufacturer from London' from 1789-94 (Chambers 1864: 392). Roy's Military Survey of 1747-55 indicate that some improvement work had already taken place by this time, with the Plenderleiths, in particular, accredited with substantial planting work ( In Roy's map, the area occupied by the present designed landscape is depicted with enclosed fields and parks, dispersed small plantations or clumps of trees, sheltering lines of trees and a main house accessed by a north approach from the old road on the south bank of the Tweed. Today, the most prominent surviving features of this past landscape include the well-preserved dovecot, with a date panel of 1698, and the Kailzie Larch. By tradition, this tree was planted following a dinner party in 1725 attended by near neighbour and earnest botanist, Sir James Naesmyth, laird of Posso and Dawyck (q.v.) (Rodger et al. 2003: 22).

In the final decade of the 18th century, this small parkland landscape and estate was up for sale again and was purchased by Glasgow merchant Robert Nutter Campbell in 1794. Within the space of twenty years, Nutter Campbell had commissioned all of the components typically associated with a country residence, including a new mansion house, built 1803, lodges, game larders, a stable courtyard and a large walled garden. The first Ordnance Survey map also reveals a good swathe of parkland partly enclosed by woodland shelter-strips (1855-8, OS 6“). Beyond, the surrounding agricultural farmland of the estate stretched up hill slopes towards larger plantation banks, and, according to the second Statistical Account of Scotland, was populated with nearly a sixth of the total population for the parish of Traquair (New Statistical Account 1845: 49). A commentator on the Tweed landscape in the 1870s observed 'on the right bank, the woods of Kailzie hang on the slope of the rising ground, and give evidence of a considerable expenditure both of taste and of money' (Dick Lauder 1847: 456).

Financial difficulties forced Nutter Campbell to convey the estate to trustees in 1830 and just over a decade later the estate was sold. Further changes of ownership ensued as Kailzie passed first from the Giles family, to the Blacks, and eventually, to William Cree in 1914, an uncle of the present owner's father-in-law. While planting work appears to have continued in the parkland and woods during the later 19th century, subsequent decades ushered in a general period of decline. Two World Wars took their toll on the fortunes and economic viability of the estate. Kailzie House itself was eventually demolished in 1962, while further set-backs occurred in 1968 and 1981 when large quantities of trees were lost during winter storms.

The renovation of the core gardens of the former house was initiated by the present owner in 1965. Faced with a large, grassed-over walled garden, and an increasingly overgrown, adjacent woodland garden, Lady Angela Buchan-Hepburn set about on a long-term project of design and planting that began initially with the island beds of the walled garden, followed by the herbaceous borders. The Major's Walk over the Kailzie Burn is named after a friend, Major Kenneth Shevral, who lent advice in those early years of work. By the early 1970s, Kailzie Gardens was open to the public. The stable courtyard was converted and is now the venue for visitor facilities, including a restaurant and gallery, and holiday accommodation. Meanwhile, wildlife interest that began in the 1980s with a duck-pond and interpretative panel on the site of the old house has since been amplified through the development of an Osprey Watch Centre. Kailzie Gardens is a partner in the Tweed Valley Osprey Project and in 2005, the viewing facility was enlarged.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Kailzie House, built 1803, was demolished in 1962. Close to its former site is an excellent example of a two-storey lectern dovecot with dated lintel stone of 1698. Built on a square plan, the rubble-built structure features ashlar quoins, crow-stepped gables, ogival skewputts, and a wall-head finished with three ornamental ball finials. Two former game larders stand to the east, housed within a single-storey, piend-roofed building, built c.1810. The contemporary, rectangular walled garden (built 1811), with very high, whinstone rubble walls, incorporates a late 19th-century Mackenzie and Moncur glasshouse range, a garden house, sundial, and distinctive wrought-iron gates and railings. The stable courtyard, also constructed 1811, comprises a single-storey plus attic range, originally for kennels, stabling, haylofts and worker accommodation. Built from coursed whinstone rubble, and now housing the restaurant, this complex incorporates a near-symmetrical, classical courtyard entrance, gothic detailing and projecting crenellated screens on the north front. The main north-west entrance to Kailzie is flanked by twin lodges built 1803 with later remodelling in classical style by J. M. Dick Peddie in 1920. They partially adjoin tall, octagonal ashlar gatepiers, which stand at either side of the entrance-way. On the other side of the designed landscape, the East Lodge, with timber porch, is a good example of a picturesque vernacular lodge, built c.1880 from local materials.

Drives & Approaches

Three separate entrance drives converge near the former site of Kailzie House. The earliest is almost certainly the principal north-west drive, depicted on maps drawn up in the 1770s, and which probably replaced an older, straight approach from the north (Armstrong 1775; Roy 1747-50s; Taylor and Skinner 1775). This main drive leads through parkland via the formal entrance-way, with its distinctive paired lodges and gatepiers. Earlier Ordnance Survey editions show this route to be lined with trees from the mid 19th to earlier 20th centuries, a landscape feature now partially replaced by later 20th century avenue planting. The two other entrance routes were established by the early 19th century. Although the lodge at the southern entrance was lost during the 20th century, the south drive is otherwise intact as it curves through woodland and over the Kailzie Burn. The east drive, meanwhile, is the longest of the three. It skirts the southern edge of the parkland and passes the heritage tree, the Kailzie Larch. Although this drive fell out of use during the mid-20th century, the route endures as a trackway leading towards the gardens from the picturesque east lodge.


Parkland extends over the flat valley ground to the north and east of Kailzie gardens. Originally part of the landscaped setting for Kailzie House, demolished in 1962, these parks contain a dispersed scatter of mature specimen trees. These are the remnants of an originally more dense distribution of sycamores, limes and other mixed broadleaves. The most famous tree is the Kailzie Larch, which is among the oldest surviving European larches planted in Scotland in 1725. Located by the east drive, this heritage tree is a good specimen with a straight trunk and girth of 4.8m measured at a height of 1.22m above the ground (Rodger et al. 2003: 22).

The first and second edition Ordnance Survey maps reveal that the present parkland structure was achieved in stages (1855-8, OS and 1897-8 OS). By the mid-19th century, parkland extended only mid-way across the designed landscape, bounded by a central north to south woodland strip. Half a century later, the fields further to the east had also been planted, and the central woodland strip largely removed, thus ensuring a more complete and extensive parkland setting. A few young trees planted in more recent decades will help ensure the future continuation of the parkland design at Kailzie. Occupying the lower slope of Kailzie Hill, the park in the most southerly area of the designed landscape is known as the Tea Field on account of past excursions to a former summerhouse. The curious, circular, stone-rubble structure, which looks more like a folly than a conventional summerhouse, and which is in a ruinous state, proves a good vantage point for views over the rest of the parkland and the wider valley landscape setting of Kailzie.


Like other components of the designed landscape, the present woodland structure at Kailzie was mainly established during the 19th century. The principal, core woodlands that partially surround the walled garden, estate buildings and former house site are composed of mature deciduous trees and a range of coniferous specimens, many of which were initially planted to adorn the lawns of the old house. This managed woodland now forms an attractive setting for restored woodland paths and presents a textured canopy that enhances local views from in and around the designed landscape. The other main area of woodland is Drive Wood, a long planted strip that extends along the slope above the east drive and which was formed through additional late 19th century planting projects. Today, mature deciduous trees such as birch and beech flank the drive and conceal rows of younger trees planted above.

Woodland Garden

The late 20th century garden renovation project included the development of a wild garden in the woods to the south of the stable courtyard. Incorporating 19th century paths, the Burnside Walk follows the Kailzie Burn, while the Major¿s Walk leads over a footbridge towards the open lawn and duck pond by the site of the old house. Beneath the canopy of the mature trees, smaller ornamental trees and shrubs adorn the paths and include two Katsura trees (Cercidiphyllum), autumn flowering and bird cherries, (autumnalis rosea, Prunus serotina), Laburnum, Rhododendron, Azaleas, Meconopsis and Amelanchiers. Bamboo and Gunnera grow near the burn, while recent woodland management to create clearings has encouraged the growth of snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells (

Walled Gardens

The large walled garden is the most well known part of the present designed landscape. Originally built in 1811, the traditional kitchen garden had fallen into disuse during the earlier-mid 20th century before the present owner, Lady Angela Buchan-Hepburn, took on the task of restoration and redesign in 1965. The present distinctive garden is the product of continuous development since then. Apart from a private lawn in the north-east corner, it consists of a sequence of secluded 'garden rooms', formed by copper beech hedging and interlinked by iron gates. There is a restored late 19th century glasshouse range along the north wall by Mackenzie and Moncur. The glasshouse, with its projecting, gabled plant house, accommodates an old Wisteria, Geraniums, Begonias, Schizanthus, Pelagoniums and Fuschias. Outside, plants benefitting from the small sheltered garden spaces include a great variety of roses, climbers and Potentillas, cultivated in long herbaceous borders and in precisely arranged island beds. The south-west corner of the garden is retained for vegetable beds and fruit trees. Distinctive design features in the walled garden include traditional elements. The wide axial grass paths that intersect at a central sundial provide unity and a link with the form of the older garden, for example. Geometric and rounded topiary box sculptures catch the eye, while smaller meandering paths, seats and garlanded arbours help create a 'secret garden' atmosphere (Lambert and King 2008: 468). Just beyond the west wall of the garden, an oval Victorian fountain has been installed in a lawn surrounded by a range of deciduous and coniferous specimen trees.



Maps, Plans and Archives

1741 William Edgar 'The Shire of Peebles or Tweedale'

1747-55 General Roy's Military Survey

1775 Mostyn Armstrong 'To the…Earl of March and Ruglen…this map of the County of Peebles or Tweedale is incribed by…Mostyn Jno. Armstrong

1776 George Taylor and Andrew Skinner 'A.Taylor and A.Skinner's Survey and Map of the Roads of North Britain or Scotland 1776'

1821 John Thomson 'Peebles-Shire'

1855-8 survey Peeblesshire, 1st edition OS 1:2500 (25”) and 1:10560 (6”), published 1859-60

1897-8 survey Peeblesshire 2nd edition OS 1:2500 (25”) and 1:10560 (6”), published 1909

RCAHMS: National Monuments Record of Scotland (NMRS) and Photographic and manuscript collection


Printed Sources

Cruft, K, Dunbar, J and Fawcett, R 2006, Borders New Haven, Conn and London: Yale University Press

Chambers, W 1864, A History of Peeblesshire by William Chambers, Edinburgh: William and Robert Chambers

Dick Lauder, Thomas 1847, 'Scottish Rivers–No.II: The Tweed (continued)' in Tait's Edinburgh Magazine Tait, William and Christian Isobel Johnstone (eds), 14, 454-58

Historic Scotland on behalf of Scottish Ministers, The Lists of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historical Interest.

King, P and Lambert, K 2008, The Good Gardens Guide, London: Frances Lincoln

Land Use Consultants 1987, Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland, Edinburgh: Historic Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage

The New Statistical Account of Scotland 1845, Statistical Account of the Parish of Traquair, vol.3, Edinburgh

Richard, A 1985, 'In my garden' Scottish Field, 47-48

Rodger, D, Stokes, J and Ogilvie, J 2003, Heritage Trees of Scotland, London: The Tree Council

Internet Sources

Kailzie Gardens,, [accessed 30 April 2009]

SiteLink: Scottish Natural Heritage, Sites designated for their natural heritage value, [accessed 18 June 2009]

Tweed Valley Osprey Project,, [accessed 30 April 2009]

Note of Abbreviations used in references

RCAHMS: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland

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: 25/06/2022 11:16