THE ESTATE

Cardross prides itself on its community focus as well as being an enterprising place to work and destination for visitors to Scotland.

Its location provides the perfect base for a countryside getaway and exploring Scotland, with convenient access to Stirling, Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as the Highlands and both East and West coasts. 

Being two miles south west of the Lake of Menteith, the only lake in Scotland, and situated on one of the few ridges of higher ground above the widespread marshy levels of Flanders Moss, in former times Cardross would have been a strategic site.

Set in fine oak parkland between the Lowlands and the Highlands, the estate occupies a commanding position above the River Forth with spectacular views in all directions. 

To the north and west are the stunning Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park, immortalised by Sir Walter Scott and many exciting periods in Scotland’s history. Ben Ledi and Ben Lomond rise on the skyline. To the South are the Carse of Stirling and then the Campsie Hills above the idyllic village of Kippen. On a clear day, views to the East of Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument can also be seen.

Within the 4,500 acres of Cardross, there is a wonderful spring garden of rhododendrons, manicured lawns and hedgerows as well as a kitchen garden.

The estate’s forestry is a diverse mix of forests for timbre to ancient oak woods and a Pineatum, with an array of specimen pines from around the world.

Cardross is also home to five farms, a mix of arable and livestock, which have been home to families for generations.

THE HOUSE

Various changes and additions throughout the centuries have made Cardross a pleasant and comfortable country house.

For all its closeness to Stirling, Glasgow and Edinburgh, retains a sense of isolation and slumbering charm with a wonderful network of formal rooms filled with antiques and family paintings.

The House is thought to have been built in 1598 by David Erskine, Commendator, or Lay Superior of Inchmahome Priory where Mary Queen of Scots spent time as a child.

Above a second storey window there is a lintel carved with initials D.E and M.H (Margaret Haldane of Gleneagles, his wife) and the date, 1598. However there was almost certainly an earlier tower house on the site which he altered and extended at that date. The fine ceiling in Cardross’ drawing room is thought to have been created by John Erskine, the 2nd Earl of Mar, for the royal visit of James VI, as it is similar to the King’s Room at the House of Binns in West Lothian where work continued from 1612 to 1630, and would date from the same period.

For about a hundred years from the early 17th Century, the Erskine family fortunes were at a low ebb and the house was neglected until John Erskine, an Edinburgh lawyer from another branch of the family, bought the estate in 1746 for £8,290. His initials, together with those of his second wife, Anne Stirling of Keir, and the date 1747, are carved above another window. This is almost certainly the date that the house was restored, particularly the main dining room with its fine Georgian proportions and features. Around 1780, John Erskine’s son James added two wings in the north front of Cardross. Further alterations were then made in the early nineteenth century, including work on the main entrance hall and stairway, the library and bedroom floor.

Cardross remained an Erskine property until it was bought by the Orr Ewing family in 1920. A choice of the fourth Baronet, it was at this point the house was harled (pebble dashed) and painted its striking warm ochre and orange colour, with more than a hint of sparkle in the sunshine which guests can see today. The present owners, Sir Archie and Lady Orr Ewing, have lived in the house since 1999.

Wildlife and Conservation

Cardross has a healthy biodiversity. As well as the family’s guinea fowl and chickens wondering though the gardens, the local hare and deer population can often be seen exploring the wider grounds. There is also extensive bird life.

Cardross is also home to some of Scotland’s rarest animals with a number of protected sites.

The National Nature Reserve, Flander’s Moss, is open to visitors and an internationally important habitat managed by Scottish National Heritage. Over 8,000 years old, it is the largest lowland raised bog in Europe in a near natural state with a host of specialist plants and animals making it their home.