Thursday, 30 September 2010

Days Out - Dumfries House & Estate

Dumfries House

I spent Saturday afternoon with my family at Dumfries House, Cumnock, Ayrshire. This is old pastures for me. I used to walk through the grounds here very regularly when I still stayed with my parents in Cumnock. In fact most weekends were spent in the woods and on the trails. However it was the first time in a long time since I had been there. In fact it was the first time since the estate was bought from Johnnie Dumfries by Prince Charles and his trust. The house is famous, well famous locally and to those that know for being one of the Adam Brother's first stately homes. Both John and Robert worked on and oversaw the construction from 1754 until 1759. It is also known for it's unique collection of Chippendale furniture. Much of it designed specifically for the house.

Dumfries House

Not much has changed other than you can now actually have a tour of the house, by appointment and they have a tea room where you can enjoy a high tea at a reasonable cost as well as the ubiquitous gift shop. There is evidence that they are trying to improve things and make the place more accessible. There is scaffolding up around the Carriage houses, which were falling badly into disrepair. It will be interesting to see what use they will make of the Carriage houses when they have been repaired. Holiday cottages or something I should think. Also during my walk along the trails I notice a lot of woodland management going on with the felling of trees and the marking of the trails with posts. Though not all the trails are marked yet but hopefully that will change. The grounds are full of architectural surprises most of them in ruin after years of neglect. There are wall gardens, estate house and the saw mill to name but a few things to stumble over while you wander.


There's not much evidence of the earlier house, Liefnorris, apart from the doocot (the photograph above). It has the coat of arms above the door and a date on the door lintel of 1671.

Window of the chapel

The photograph is of the stained glass window of the lady chapel, it looks to be the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus. The tea room is now in what used to be the private chapel but you can't actually see the window from inside the tea room, it's behind a rather large set of double doors. It's a shame as it would be really nice to see it in full glory rather than from the back.

Road to the Bridge

The photograph above is looking down 'The Avenue' towards the bridge designed and built by the Adam Brothers. Just one of the many walks start from about here. One of the longest and well marked trails goes from here all the way up to the Barony 'A' Frame, which is a walk of about 6km. The estates is rather large and most of the paths are either estate roads, gravel paths or muddy trails. 

Lugar Water

A view a long the Lugar water back towards Cumnock on one of the many trails. However this one doesn't go far but it's an enjoyable walk all the same.

So if your down in sunny Ayrshire why not pop in for a couple of hours and enjoy a good walk. Any questions or if you think I've omitted something glaringly obvious that would be of interest then leave a comment.

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