Ardkinglas Woodland Garden
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
Ardkinglas Woodland Garden is composed of 25 acres of lovely woodland at the northern tip of Loch Fyne, which has been called the most beautiful of all Scottish lochs. The garden is famous for its Champion conifers. A 'champion' tree is the largest (tallest or most broad) of its species in the British Isles.
Ardkinglas itself is a definite 'must-see' for visitors who enjoy the natural beauty of the Argyll and Bute region. The lush woodland gardens are the result of high annual rainfall and a mild climate due to the moderating effect of the Gulf Stream.
The sandy loam soil provides an excellent environment for conifers and acid-loving heath plants. The garden had its origins in the 17th century, and in 1875 the Callendar family of Ardkinglas created a collection of conifers which has made the gardens world famous.
In the 1920s Sir John Noble established a collection of rhododendrons to add to the conifers. Noble acquired two railway carriages full of plants from Lord Aberconwy, owner of Bodnant Gardens in Wales. The aptly named 'Bodnant Bank' shows the glorious results! Sir John's son, Michael (Lord Glenkinglas) carried out a highly successful hybridization program which makes Ardkinglas a riot of colour in late Spring and early Summer.
Garden paths are arranged to provide circular walks of different lengths so that visitors can make their stroll as long or as short as they wish. One of the newest areas of the garden is the Sorbus Glade, which features colour throughout the year, with plantings of rowans, Sorbus commixtra, Sorbus megalocarpa, and Sorbus decora.
At the southern end of the gardens, the trail drops to the River Kings, where the ruins of an old mill stand beside the rushing water. The trail follows the riverside through a Magnolia Bank, a pinetum area, and the aforementioned Bodnant Bank.
The 'Hunting Ground of Champions' features champion trees, including a huge Grand Fir which reaches 203 feet in height. The path then passes the 'Mightiest Conifer in Europe', a Silver Fir. I visited in late spring and found Ardkinglas a riot of colour; a very enjoyable garden with lovely walks.
Ardkinglas manor is open on selected days throughout the season. Movie fans may recognize the house as the setting for the film, 'The Water Horse'.
About Ardkinglas Woodland Garden
Address: The Square, Cairndow, Argyll and Bute, Scotland, PA26 8BG
Attraction Type: Garden
Location: At the head of Loch Fyne, just off the A83
Website: Ardkinglas Woodland Garden
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest
Inveraray Maritime Museum - 4.9 miles (Museum)
Inveraray Jail - 5 miles (Museum)
Inveraray Castle - 5.1 miles (Historic House)
Auchindrain Open Air Museum - 10 miles (Museum)
Loch Lomond - 10.3 miles (Countryside)
St Conan's Kirk - 10.9 miles (Historic Church)
Loch Awe - 10.9 miles (Countryside)
Kilchurn Castle - 11.1 miles (Castle)
Nearest Holiday Cottages to Ardkinglas Woodland Garden:
Nearby accommodation is calculated 'as the crow flies' from Ardkinglas Woodland Garden. 'Nearest' may involve a long drive up and down glens or, if you are near the coast, may include a ferry ride! Please check the property map to make sure the location is right for you.