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28 August 2023

Glenwhan Gardens designated

Gardens overlooking water and an arboretum make up this recently created site recognised as nationally important

A view of Glenwhan Gardens from the Lily Pond

We have added Glenwhan Gardens and Arboretum, Dumfries and Galloway, to the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes.

Glenwhan Gardens and Arboretum is the inspiration of Tessa Knott Sinclair who began creating the garden from scratch during the late 1970s. Glenwhan is of outstanding artistic interest for how Tessa Knott Sinclair transformed wild and seemingly inhospitable moorland into one of Scotland’s most distinctive new gardens of recent times. The gardens benefit from outstanding views over water, linking water features of the garden with views over Luce Bay and the Mull of Galloway beyond. Glenwhan Gardens and Arboretum are also of interest for their collections of tender and rare species rhododendron and azaleas, shrubs, and trees, including many rare specimens from China and the southern hemisphere.

A member of the public nominated the site as part of Historic Environment Scotland’s Designed Landscapes of the Recent Past project, an initiative to identify, record, recognise and celebrate Scotland’s modern garden and designed landscape heritage.

Glenwhan has now been added to the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes, a record of nationally important gardens and designed landscapes and a major resource for enhancing appreciation and understanding of these sites, as well as promoting education and stimulating further research.

Dara Parsons, Head of Designations at HES, said:

“Glenwhan Gardens is an excellent addition to the inventory.

“Gardens and designed landscapes of the recent past such as Glenwhan are an important element of Scotland’s historic environment and landscape. However, they are not always valued as much as older sites and can also be vulnerable to loss. It’s important to record and promote awareness of these sites through our work. We also need to ensure we protect them in the same way as older sites.”

Tessa Knott Sinclair said:

We are delighted that Glenwhan Gardens has been recognised for its national significance in Scotland. For many years, we have worked to create a special and unique place for all to come enjoy the seasons in the garden. We are so pleased our efforts will now be marked and celebrated by Historic Environment Scotland.

More information on Glenwhan Gardens and its designation status can be found on the HES Portal.

Adding this site to the inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes ensures that its cultural significance can be taken into account in future decisions about its management. Find out more about Listing, Scheduling and Designations.

About the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes

Gardens and designed landscapes are an important element of Scotland’s historic environment and landscape. Inventory sites range from country estate landscapes and botanic garden collections to urban parks and cemeteries.

HES selects nationally important sites for the Inventory in line with their Designations Policy and Selection Guidance.

When a garden and designed landscape is included on the inventory it becomes a material consideration in the planning process. This means that it has to be taken into account when deciding planning applications.

About the Designed Landscapes of the Recent Past project

Designed Landscapes of the Recent Past’ is an initiative to identify, recognise and celebrate Scotland’s modern garden and designed landscape heritage. It focuses on sites dating from 1945 to the early 2000s in Scotland.

The aim of the programme is to improve representation of these sites in our publicly available records. We are doing this through photographic survey and recording, updating information and images, and considering a select number sites for designation on the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes.

About Glenwhan Gardens

Described as one of the most beautiful gardens in Scotland, situated at 300 feet, overlooking Luce Bay and the Mull of Galloway, with clear views to the Isle of Man, Glenwhan is a must-see for all who love gardens and horticulture.

Open year round from 10am to 5pm, visitors can enjoy the gardens and also the Tearoom which is open from April to October.

Press/media contact: Caroline Gould, 07710 556 247 or carolinergould@gmail.com

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES) 

  • We are the lead body for Scotland’s historic environment, a charity dedicated to the advancement of heritage, culture, education and environmental protection. It is at the forefront of researching and understanding the historic environment and addressing the impacts of climate change on its future, investigating and recording architectural and archaeological sites and landscapes across Scotland and caring for more than 300 properties of national importance. We are also the lead on delivering Scotland's strategy for the historic environment, Our Past, Our Future.
  • Historic Scotland, Scran, Canmore, The National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP), The Engine Shed, Stirling Castle, and Edinburgh Castle are sub-brands of HES.
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For further information, please contact:

Laura Ely
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
07721 959 962