Blair Drummond Estate
The Blair Drummond Estate lies about a mile south of Doune on the A84 Callander to Stirling road.
The earliest known owners of the present lands of Blair Drummond were the Muchet family (a name originating in France) from whom the property was acquired by the Drummond family in the 14th century. Ownership later moved piecemeal to George Drummond, 6th Laird of Blair, until in 1714 his estate became known as the Barony of Blair Drummond.
Blair Drummond House
The current mansion was built around 1868, (replacing an earlier one dating from 1715, which was nearby but slightly lower down the slope). The house stands on a high point above the river valley, across which the parklands extend. This gives superb views over the estate, but also shows off the grandeur of the house, as can be seen from the photograph below. There is a suitably grand stable block, which was a requirement in those days for the carriages and horses. This is a few decades older than the current house and has a clock-tower which was added as a fashionable afterthought. There is also an ice-house (no fridges then!) and an unusual octagonal storehouse.
In the 18th century the house was owned by Henry Hume, Lord Kames, an enlightened agricultural improver. He and later his son, converted the deep mosses of the local “carse” land to a combination of productive farmland and the area now known as Flanders Moss, which is a National Nature Reserve. He is also noted for helping to introduce the ‘natural style’ of landscaping to Scotland.
The present attractive landscape at Blair Drummond was laid out in the 18th century to the design of Lord Kames, although incorporating earlier formal landscaping. Beyond the more formal gardens, there are some lovely wooded areas with winding walks and many mature deciduous trees. There is a large serpentine lake, and beyond that farmed pastureland.
Photograph below courtesy of marsupium photography, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
In 1912 the estate was put up for sale and was purchased by the uncle of the present owner, Sir John Muir. The estate has continued to be run commercially and part of the parkland to the south-east of the house is run as the much-loved Blair Drummond Safari and Leisure Park, owned by the Muir family. This opened in 1970 and has an area of about 49ha (120 acres).
To read about the amazing buried treasure found here, see the Blair Drummond Hoard
The Camphill Trust
In 1975, the house and 17 acres of grounds were sold to the Camphill Trust as a Residential Home. Sir John and Lady Muir have retained the remainder of the estate and now live at Bankhead House, to the west of the Blair Drummond policies.
The Camphill Trust runs the house and the other purpose-built buildings as an assisted living facility, many of the residents having complex learning disabilities. Camphill Blair Drummond is a community of over 200 people, including residents, day students, employees and volunteers (from many parts of the world) each one contributing in their own way to the life, work and success of the community.
Ref HES for parts of the history