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Benmore Botanic Garden, Benmore House, Fernery

A Category B Listed Building in Cowal, Argyll and Bute

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Latitude: 56.023 / 56°1'22"N

Longitude: -4.9936 / 4°59'37"W

OS Eastings: 213529

OS Northings: 685163

OS Grid: NS135851

Mapcode National: GBR 03.SD57

Mapcode Global: WH2LT.8WB2

Entry Name: Benmore Botanic Garden, Benmore House, Fernery

Listing Date: 19 June 1992

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 338022

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB6436

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Dunoon and Kilmun

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Cowal

Parish: Dunoon And Kilmun

Traditional County: Argyllshire

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Loch Lomond And Trossachs National Park Planning Authority

The fernery at Benmore is a rare survival of this type of building. Few ferneries survive in any condition in Scotland. This example, although it is ruinous, retains its walls and internal features. It is a rare structure and important as an integral part of the gardens at Benmore.

The fernery, which is built into a steep-sided cleft using rubble, is rectangular in plan with semicircular gables. The entrance is to the S and supports a stone arch, with steps to either side. The interior consists of high walls with occasional built-in ledges for ferns. Only a few iron hoops for a barrel roof survive. It appears from the shape of the gables that there was a lantern running the length of the roof. The interior of the fernery also contains a quartz grotto with steps to either side. To the NW, on the exterior is a small lean-to structure ' probably the original heating plant for the fernery.

Statement of Interest

Ferneries became popular in British gardens from the 1850s, the result of a new interest in more exotic plants and the fashion for fern collecting and continued to be built until after 1900.

In 1870 the Benmore estate was acquired by James Duncan, a Greenock Sugar Refiner. Duncan carried out many improvements to the estate, including extending the house and building a number of worker's cottages. Duncan was also largely responsible for the garden layout which survives today. The fernery belongs to this period.

Benmore Estate is perhaps best known as the setting for Benmore Botanic Garden, run by the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. The garden and designed landscape is notable for the collection of coniferous trees, planted by successive owners since c1820.

Part of B-Group including Benmore House, the Steading, North Lodge and Gates, the Golden Gates, 'Puck's Hut', Walled garden and the cottages to the E of it (see separate listings).

Within Benmore-Younger Botanic Garden Designed Landscape.

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