Friday, 16 July 2010

Step into a secret garden

One of the things I enjoyed the most about Dumfries and Galloway is that it really is a hidden gem. Not being overly touristy and therefore not heavy advertised places along the "tourist" trail are relativity quiet and compared to the rest of the UK overly cheap [think £4 entry in to a garden and castle here - Castle Kennedy, compared to perhaps double that back in Yorkshire].

Hidden away on the road to Stranear is a hidden little former castle and it's landscaped gardens. When Castle Kennedy was originally built it was constructed upon a natural island, surrounded by loch's. Now the same lochs proved a micro climate influenced by the gulf stream offers the environment a changing a fresh landscape of plants in comparison to the rest of the UK. 

Destroyed by fire in 1716, rumour has it by a maid which failed to put a fire out properly, Castle Kennedy now is the focal point of the estate. One that holds acres of woodland, a walled traditional garden, a monkey puzzle run and a huge, huge water lily pond.
[Bottom left & top right] although I loved the creeping trees and brushes growing up, out and into the tumbling castle, it seemed somewhat more of a Victorian folly, as a focal point for gardening rather then what it formally was. Which I guess is why it never got rebuilt or made more visitor friendly. I guess in a dream like, favour the tourist it would have been somewhat more romantisied if they could have made the castle more open to creep and crawl inside rather then closed off. But in the era of "health and safety" I guess this is a long gone occurrence.

What makes a walled garden traditional is its sense of your basic, floral and gorgeous smelling plants. Approached through a a creaking iron gate reveals its sound of buzzing bees, a gardener seeing to his weeds, and the shade of the nearby woods. Hidden behind a large stone wall, its act like a huge sun trap, sheltering the visitor from the breezy Scottish wind while offering a clay red backdrop for flowers and trees alike. 

If you fancy a castle, some romance, miles of wooded walks and pretty flowers you can't go much wrong.


  1. I love visiting places like these, especially to see a bit about their history. :) £4 is extremely reasonable also, I'd be tempted to have a visit if I had any means of getting there!

  2. That is really cheap! I haven't visited any castles during my visit to Scotland. Maybe I should try this one the next time:)