Having spent a lot of time wandering around the Drumlanrig and Queensberry estate it seemed odd not to have visited Drumlanrig Castle and its grounds. So with a beautiful autumn day forecast we headed down. The drive in was suitably impressive with the various cottages dotted around the grounds looking straight out of a Visit Scotland calendar. I had planned on a random wander around the grounds, but it turned out that there is a series of paths through the woods and, even better, they are well-maintained and signed footpaths with the cycling mob segregated to their own routes. We bolted together three of the paths to give an easy 4-hour wander. Even the ones marked as strenuous are easy with lots of well-placed seats where you need to regain your breath.
For me, there were three highlights of the day. Firstly there were the Heather Houses. These are small, quaint buildings dotted around the woods. They were built to provide work during times of depression in the Victorian era using materials from the woods and moors such birch bark, heather, and tree branches all beautifully constructed. Given that they are over 100 years old they are in beautiful condition and all quirkily individual.
Second was the Leaping Arch in the middle of the Marr Burn. This is by the same artist who created the Striding Arches and its position works very well. For such a large structure you could easily walk past it without noticing 1. Today the sunlight was catching it beautifully making it stand out from the dark woods.
Finally, there was the more formal Tree Walk around the castle grounds. I’m not usually a gardens-type but the trees, such as the avenue of Yews, a large Weeping Beech and the Red Oak planted by Neil Armstrong were interesting. The walk also passes the poignant Pets’ Cemetery. For such a popular place it was delightfully quiet and peaceful.
As a final point, one thing that stood out was just how tidy the place is. After we’d been walking for a while I’d realised that I hadn’t seen any litter and so from then on I was actively looking for any. And I found none: the place is immaculate. I would thoroughly recommend a visit: it’s a lovely place in stunning scenery and would repay coming in all the seasons.
- I watched three families do just that. Don’t worry, I pointed it out to them as part of my be-nice-to-people therapy. ↩
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