Threave is an 1196 acre (with an additional 300 acres added after its gift to the National Trust in 1948) estate consisting of a Scottish baronial style mansion house (in 1867 a rich Liverpool businessman purchased the estate and built the present house), gardening school, 60 acres of garden developed by the National Trust for Scotland garden school students, 120 acres of woodlands, and an estate of four farms. Courses in gardening are taught.
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There are many varieties of flowers, shrubs, plants and trees. Visit in April to see the 200 varieties of daffodils and in June and July to enjoy the roses. On show are peat, rock, and heather gardens along with a walled garden, herbaceous borders, an arboretum, and glasshouses.
Other parts of the estate, in addition to the farmland, gardens, and woodland, include a stretch of the River Dee, and wetland providing habitat for wintering wildfowl and breeding wading birds. Visitors can take their pick of four bird hides and walks along marked trails. There is an osprey viewing platform and a bat reserve. Red squirrels, otters, peregrine falcons, and kingfishers can be spotted.
A visitor centre, shop, café, and special events provide additional attractions. Holiday cottages are on offer. Nearby on a small island reached by ferry is Threave Castle, once owned by the Douglas family, of whom the most well known was Sir James, the “Black” Douglas, a supporter of Robert the Bruce.
Threave, in the Dumfries and Galloway region of Scotland, is located one mile west of Castle Douglas off the A75 north of the Solway Firth. There is a car park for visitors.
For opening times go to: Threave Estate and Garden open times
Photos and text © by Barbara Ballard