Dunkeld House Grounds

Gardens in Dunkeld & Birnam

Waymarked walks lead upstream from Dunkeld Cathedral through the gorgeous grounds of Dunkeld House Hotel, formerly a seat of the dukes of Atholl. In the 18th and early 19th centuries the 'planting dukes', as they became known, planted more than 27 million conifers on their estates 'for beauty and profit', introducing species such as larch, Douglas fir and sequoia, and sowing the seeds of Scottish forestry.

The abundance of vast, ancient trees here has given rise to the nickname Big Tree Country (www.perthshirebigtreecountry.co.uk). Just west of the cathedral is the 280-year-old 'parent larch', the lone survivor of several planted in 1738, and said to have provided the seed stock for all Scottish larch trees. On the far side of the river is Niel Gow's Oak, another ancient tree, said to have provided inspiration for legendary local fiddler Niel Gow (1727–1807).

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