Garden of the Season – House of DunJanuary 18th 2023
Why should we visit?
This Palladian mansion is amongst the best of the many grand homes built by Willam Adam and its impact lies not just in its fine lines but in its position on a commanding site overlooking the Montrose basin. The gardens that surround it become wilder the further from the house they stretch until they merge with the natural landscape, which is home to many winter visitors from Greenland and Iceland
The estate has several trails that provide good walking during the cold season as well as a chance to spot the area’s extensive wildlife, which includes red squirrels and kingfishers.
Story of the Garden
Following completion of the house in 1743, formal gardens and a large vegetable garden, now defunct, were laid out around it. The formal gardens were further developed in the 19th century and today these have been restored. The ruins of the Castle of Dun, which dates from the 14th century, can still be found in the grounds, along with a bronze age longbarrow that was built by early inhabitants around 5,000 years ago.
Roses, peonies and lupins fill the formal gardens in summer and espaliered pear trees and old varieties of apples grow around the walls, but even in winter the pared-back beauty of this carefully-laid-out space is worth exploring.
The Den of Dun is a narrow gorge that in spring is bright with rhododendrons and azaleas, while an avenue of giant Wellingtonias stands sentinel in front of the house. The trees, planted 160 years ago, were amongst the first of their kind to appear in this country and they have now reached an impressive height.
Anything else to look out for?
Part of the Montrose Basin falls within the estate. This is an internationally renowned habitat for waterfowl, including tens of thousands of pink-footed geese which overwinter in its protected waters, while in summer the site is a breeding ground for ospreys.
Best Time to Visit
From summer flowers and autumn wildlife to the stark beauty of the winter landscape, the House of Dun has something for gardeners and nature lovers throughout the year. The spring spectacle is particularly colourful and in June the formal garden is filled with the scent of roses. The house is closed during the winter, but the estate remains open to visitors all year round.
Any Recommendations in the Area
Lunan Bay, just south of Montrose, is a two-mile long stretch of golden sand, overlooked by the ruins of a castle that was built in the 10th century to help defend Scotland against Viking invaders. Today the bay is popular with walkers, horse riders, swimmers and surfers and traditional fishing is still carried out using poles and nets.
The House of Dun is four miles east of Brechin off the A935
The estate is open daily, 8am - 8pm.
Entrance is free.
Tel: 01674 810264
Email: [email protected]
Courtesy of The Herald