Glen Grant Distillery Garden

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Garden Category: North Scotland Gardens

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  • Glen Grant Distillery stands on the west side of the main road at the north end of Rothes. It offers everything you might expect or want from a distillery that welcomes visitors, plus elements that you most certainly wouldn’t expect. Chief among these is the wonderful Glen Grant Garden.

    Glen Grant Garden occupies some 22 acres of the glen formed by the Back Burn, which flows down through the distillery towards the River Spey from the hills to the west. Access to the garden, and to the distillery, is via the visitor centre which you reach via a short woodland path from the landscaped and well tended visitor car park. No visit to Glen Grant should be considered complete without a tour of the garden. Even the whisky fanatics on a determined campaign to pack in as many distilleries as possible will find some of the historical aspects of the garden fascinating, and in particular the links with the distillery’s driving force through the latter part of the 1800s, Major James Grant.

    The path beside the burn emerges in a broad green bowl that extends back up the glen: what you might call the first or lower part of the garden. Here you find apple and cherry orchards, while the area is flanked by rhododendron banks that put on a spectacular display for a significant part of the year. Other areas include the lily pond, the bog garden and the pine wood. The interest of younger members of the party is maintained by the placement of a series of model animals and birds throughout the garden, most obviously an owl permanently perched in a tree overlooking the burn. Further into the lower garden a loop of path gives access to the south side of the Back Burn, complete with azaleas, primulas and a meadow.

    The most striking feature in the lower the garden is a thatched wooden hut, the Dram Pavilion. This was placed here by Major James Grant when he established the garden in 1886, and was intended to allow his guests the chance to relax and enjoy the product of his distillery. At that time the garden provided employment for eleven gardeners.

    Three years of painstaking work, using historical evidence, old maps and the vivid memories of the local people have restored Glen Grant Gardens to the magnificent sight it was in Victorian days. Old woodland walks have been recreated and log bridges and Major Grant’s Dram Hut were rebuilt on the evidence of old photographs. As they worked the restorers uncovered beautiful mature orchards, the remains of a lily pond and many thriving specimens of rhododendrons and native ferns. Now the glorious garden is a testament to the vision of Major Grant himself and the extraordinary dedication of the restoration team. Read more…

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