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Bankburn (Happy Valley) Including Garden Structures and Walls

A Category C Listed Building in Stenness, Orkney Islands

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Coordinates

Latitude: 58.9771 / 58°58'37"N

Longitude: -3.1725 / 3°10'21"W

OS Eastings: 332689

OS Northings: 1010583

OS Grid: HY326105

Mapcode National: GBR L5J0.9D8

Mapcode Global: WH69X.7MJG

Entry Name: Bankburn (Happy Valley) Including Garden Structures and Walls

Listing Date: 22 January 2004

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 397204

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49620

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Stenness

County: Orkney Islands

Electoral Ward: West Mainland

Traditional County: Orkney

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Description

Traditional early to mid 19th century house. Long and narrow single storey range consisting of central, south-facing, 3-bay house (centred door, small flanking windows, single rear window and gable apex stacks) with byre/shed attached at either end. Wooden barrel sitting on circular stone plinth to left of entrance door to collect rain water. Rubble flagstone to walls with angled quoin to E gable-end of house (abutting shed/byre); pitched stone slate roof with aisins and patched repairs in corrugated asbestos. Flagstone path infront of house. Typical interior with flagstone floor, fireplace with timber overmantle and adjacent inbuilt cupboard, box bed and timber combed ceiling.

Almost unique to Orkney, however, is the garden which has been created along the Burn of Russadale to the south of the house.The burn has been diverted to feed a series of ponds, falls, sluices and water wheel (housed in a generator shed which retains some machinery and which provided power for the house). The garden and glade contains specimen trees, some have been planted to produce tree-lined walkways. The riverside walk has been ornamented with stone built features such as a small waterfall decorated with stone ball and pyramid, stone steps, footbridge which arches over the river, decorated with pebbles and topped with a stone fleur-de-lis. Some rubble stone walls including large Caithness stone slabs bound part of the garden.

Statement of Interest

The house is a good example of a well preserved, traditional rural Orcadian house. Buildings such as this, which have been little altered, are becoming increasingly less common on the Mainland. The house, until recently (2003) had been occupied by Mr Edwin Harrold who, over a period of 60 years, cultivated the garden (known locally as Happy Valley) to create a unique and attractive environment which is also enjoyed by locals.

The choice of what will grow in Orkney is limited because of the soil type, drainage and exposure, however, Mr Harrold successfully managed to grow trees and shrubs such as yew,

European lime, monkey puzzle and fuscia. Although the house merits listing at category C(S), the garden, which is rare to Orkney, is of great significance.

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