We were somewhat in shock at the huge size of the possible project - which I tried to convey in one of the first blog posts.
For example this is the lower field - clicking on it should give a more detailed view if you're want to peer at the ruin in distance. The walls in the background are about 6 meters high at least. This would have originally been the main working part of the food production gardens for Dalhousie Castle. The pleasure garden part would be further along to the right, in front of and behind the ruined glasshouse wall / "folly". The walls would originally have had fruit trees all the way along - sadly only a few pears, a greengage and an apple tree survive.
The other walled section is now "the yard" but would have originally included the melon ground and general working sheds. Last year (June 2010) it looked like this... (again click on it to zoom in further)
Practically none of the walls are visible - all hidden behind the tin sheds from the previous incarnation as poultry farm. These were all built over the last 50 years or so, apparently there were many of the fruit trees still in this section even then - unfortunately not one remains - just a few well rotted stumps.
However all is not lost , as of now (Feb 2011) the yard looks like this...
(In fact it looks a bit tidier since I just threw all the scrap metal in the skip)
The walls have started to appear , either side of caravan and at the bottom of yard where the concrete stableblock was. We are planning on attempting to grow stuff by the caravan soon - after the concrete layer has been broken up and removed. Might not be the best condition soil straight away it must be said !
On the other side of the dividing wall (on right in photo above) is the glass house. No panorama just some interior shots from June 2010...
There are three 15 meter sections of glass house , all pretty rundown. Luckily it is a cast iron frame so it is structurally sound which was proven this winter when the snow came...
. Most of the glass will eventually need removed or replaced (over 2000 pieces I think) and re-sealed since it all leaks like a sieve. The grape harvest last year was destroyed by grey mould and the vines (4 well established ones) had got out of hand so I have almost finished giving them a severe prune to solve both problems.
The dirt floor has also had a good weed by Apes and the kids- mainly to remove all the broken glass as well as the nettles ! It currently looks more like this...
Outside the glasshouse looks onto the other side of the "folly" and long wall of the original big glasshouse mentioned in the original plans of 1810-ish. You can still see the flues of the heated walls on both sides.
In June 2010 it all looked very green and overgrown. This panorama is a 180 degree shot through the main tractor-sized "hole" through wall...
We have managed to clear all the hazardous rubbish hidden in the photo other than the shed on far right. The vegetation around the glasshouse has been taken down to ground level. We even found a large car-sized trailer in front of the flued wall - invisible in the weeds !
The ruin itself hasn't been touched - it would be a major expense to even make it safe since its in a really bad way.
The panorama below was taken in the first week or so of October 2010 - right after we moved in. The collapsed sheds to the right side were my first dismantling project .(They carried on towards the woods for about 45 meters). The "hole" in wall (centre of picture) takes you to the panorama view (above) of ruin.
Other than the sheds going this view has not really changed - except for some recent vegetable plots on the left side (more news on them in next blog or so)
I dont have many images of the woodland, its entirely native trees of various ages. Unfortunately the majority of big specimens have been chopped down for firewood over the years (the stumps tell the story), so most of them are quite small and closely planted - some woodland management is on the cards at some point.
There are a few nice little features in the woods. These photos were taken on our first visit in June 2010.
The original pedestrian entrance to the lower walled garden...
Just beyond it is a rather folorn cast iron entrance in need of some work...
Further still are plenty of rhododendrons (just waiting for a grant to be removed!) They do look lovely though. Aah !
And further still a small area of river where there is easy access. Most of the river (the farm borders 800m of it) is protected by steep banks up to 30 feet high in places with low sandstone outcrops. There are a couple of small islands worthy of a future Treasure Island game or two I suspect ! At the moment there is a raging torrent running down there.
Further along , the icehouse , a strange cylindrical cavern with hemispherical shaped floor and ceiling. It filled up and froze this year due to the proximity to river - presumably that what was supposed to happen !
That would be about the end of the walk in the wood, you could head back up through the "far" field - more a one hectare demolished woodland- which I would like to replant soon. Then back through the "long" field to the house or take the entrance driveway. If you were to then take the public footpath around the "back" of the yard wall you would see the rear archway to the yard (hidden inside furthest shed in panoramas above)
It rather reminds me of the secret entrance to the "Bat cave"...
After all that walking about (and all that blog article writing !) the discerning farm visitor should continue down the track a further half mile or so to "The Sun Inn" for a well earned drink.
Maybe I'll see you there someday soon?