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6 bedroom detached house for sale

Duchray Castle, Aberfoyle, Stirling, FK8

Offers Over £1,500,000

Property Description

Key features

  • Great hall & 2 reception rooms
  • Barrel vaulted dining room
  • 4 bedroom suites
  • 2 bedroom annex
  • 2 bedroom gate lodge
  • Garages, stables & outbuildings
  • Victorian gardens. Tennis court
  • 12 miles fishing on Duchray Water
  • Forestry & grazing. 80 acres in all

Full description

Tenure: Freehold

Fully refurbished 16th century castle in secluded setting in 80 acres of own grounds

Trading as wedding venue and exclusive B&B


Duchray Castle is set in the middle of about 85 acres of its own grounds above the Duchray Water in the Loch Ard Forest. The location is secluded, rural and scenic but is within 30 miles of Stirling and Glasgow, meaning it is also highly accessible.
The Duchray Water and the Avondhu meet just outside Aberfoyle and together become the River Forth. The property is in the The Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. There is a delightful mix of lochs, forests, hills and glens. Golden eagle, peregrine falcon and red deer coexist with roe deer, wildcat, fox, feral goats, pine marten, badger and red squirrel. The West Highland Way is nearby and attracts walkers and trekkers. Aberfoyle provides a full range of facilities including a primary school, shops, post office, supermarket and a variety of hotels and restaurants as well as an 18 hole golf course. Nearby at Lake of Menteith are the Lake Hotel and the Nick Nairn Cook School.



In 1509 a charter of "the lands of Duchra-Estir" was granted by King James IV to Dormund Makersane, who was obliged to build a dwelling house on the land, probably for use as a royal hunting lodge. Early title deeds also record an obligation to provide the Crown with 70 armed men as and when required, and to guard the nearby ford over the Duchray Water. MacGibbon & Ross's The Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland tells how Duchray came into the possession of the Graham family in 1569 with whom it remained until the 1940s: "William Graham became first of Duchray and was probably the builder of the castle." The historian and novelist Nigel Tranter wrote that the castle might have been built on the foundations of an earlier building and that "its massive walls would be highly necessary against the depredations of the neighbouring warlike clan of MacGregor, seldom friends of the Grahams."

Nevertheless, there is a story famously related by Sir Walter Scott, that Rob Roy MacGregor himself was in the castle when a party of Redcoats arrived to apprehend him. One of the two Graham sisters in residence at the time engaged the officers in talk, while the other helped Rob Roy make his escape. In the 1600s the English set fire to the castle, but succeeded only in damaging the roof and timbers, not the walls. Duchray Castle was the meeting point for the Royalist forces raised by the Earl of Glencairn, who routed Cromwellian English forces under General Monk in the Pass of Aberfoyle in 1653. John Graham continued to support the King's cause and suffered greatly as a result. Tranter relates that the castle was burned again after the Jacobite rising of 1745, and it was certainly recorded as "in ruins" in 1815. It appears to have been rebuilt - or restored - in around 1825. The Gothic revival windows and crenellations date from that period, but subsequent alterations through the course of the 19th century and another fire in the mid 20th century have all left their mark on the historic structure.

The castle was bought by the present owners in 2010. They have carried out a full refurbishment using local materials where possible. It is now an exceptionally comfortable and well-decorated property, which retains its original character as a castle.

Works done include renewing the roof, gutters and downpipes, floor joists, flagstone floors, under floor heating, new bio-digesting plant, new drains, repointing and weather-proofing the stonework, insulation throughout the castle, upgrading the windows and full rewiring and re-plumbing. Many of the windows are arched with oak lintels. Much of the wood used in the house has been reclaimed from the castle previously or has been grown on the estate. The castle has a Category 2 fire alarm system. There are hard-wired internet and TV points in all the bedrooms.

Duchray Castle is a typical Scottish fortified house with a tower on the southeast corner and an arch with battlements connects the castle to the annexe to the side. Special features include the unusual gothic arched windows.

Internally, the castle has a stone vaulted dining room at ground floor level linked by spiral stairs to a Great Hall above. The north wing is more domestic with crow stepped gables and dormer windows. It provides two additional entrances from the west hall and the study off the kitchen.

Hand built studded oak doors to entrance with spiral stairs to upper floors. Archway to Dining Room Stone barrel vaulted ceiling. Exposed stone walls. Oak floors. Open fireplace with stone surround and an oak mantle, under floor heating. Door to cloakroom with fitted coat cupboards. WC with wash basin. Cupboard with heating controls.

Family Room Exposed beam ceiling. Exposed stone walls. Raised fireplace with solid fuel stove. Flagstone flooring with under floor heating. Fitted book shelves (solid birch from the estate).
Side hall with double doors to courtyard. Oak dado panelling.

Hall with spiral stairs up to first floor and down to cellar.
Utility Room Running along the north of the house. Slate floor with under floor heating. Floor units with two sinks. Plumbed for washing machines and tumble dryers. Electric cooker. Fitted linen shelves.

Kitchen Flagstone flooring with under floor heating. Solid oak timber kitchen units with sink. Dishwasher. Kenwood cooker with extractor fan above.

Study Wooden flooring with under floor heating. Fitted desk. Windows on three sides. French doors to patio outside.

First Floor
Magnificent triple aspect Great Hall with Duchray oak beamed ceiling, oak dado panelling on three walls and full panelling on end wall. Stone fireplace with solid fuel stove. Oak flooring and two presses.

Bedroom corridor with two WCs off.

Bedroom 2 Oak flooring. Walk-in wardrobe. En suite bathroom with bath with shower attachment, WC, heated towel rail. Washbasin in window with wooden surround.

Bedroom 3 Wall panelling. Oak floor. En suite bathroom with bath with shower above, WC and wash basin. Walk-in wardrobe.
Upper Floors From north spiral stairs door to:

Bedroom 4 Sloped ceiling. Walk-in wardrobes. En-suite shower room. Shower compartment. WC. Wash basin. Electric under floor heating.

From main stairs door to Bedroom 1 (Master)
Stone fireplace with solid fuel stove. Oak floor. Rob Roy Turret to side with arrow slip window. En suite bathroom with free-standing bath. Shower compartment with rain shower. Twin wash basins with Duchray oak surface and cupboards below. WC. Walk-in wardrobe.

At the far side of the arch (previously linked by a room at first floor level off the Great Hall) is an annex, which is currently used as owners' accommodation and has also been fully renovated. Open plan kitchen / living room with fitted units and Travertine flooring with under floor heating beneath. Stairs up to two double bedrooms and a bathroom.

Within the castle courtyard is an oak timber framed building, housing the biomass boiler, which provides all the heating and hot water for the castle.

Duchray Lodge
At the entrance to the castle is a delightful Victorian stone-built gate lodge, constructed around 1825, when Duchray Castle was restored / remodelled. Accommodation comprises sitting room, kitchen, two double bedrooms and bathroom. This has now been fully renovated and is currently a holiday let.

Gardens and Grounds
Duchray Castle sits in the middle of its extended policies extending to about 80 acres. Approximately 7 acres are formal gardens, 15 acres of grazing and the remainder woodland.

To the front of the house is an area of lawn with a lochan, trees and rhododendrons. A tarmac driveway passes the front of the castle and continues to the workshops and all-weather tennis court. The gardens are principally lawns with a rockery, ponds, the original castle well, and a hedged rose garden with a 150 year old box hedge. The walk past the castle takes you round to a sloped lawn, and from this elevated position there are views over the river and the surrounding policies. Steps and a path lead down to a stone-built bothy, which given the necessary consents, could be developed into another holiday let.

To the north east of the property there is a barn and stables built of timber and corrugated iron with three loose boxes and a tack shed. There are fields running down to the Duchray Water. The remainder of the grounds are woodland. There is a fine stand of oak trees above the Duchray Water. There is a private gravel pit on the estate.

Included in the sale is 12 miles of migratory fishing rights on Duchray Water, which is the main tributary to the River Forth.


Weddings and Letting Business

The current owners run Duchray Castle as a business and it is available to hire for weddings and special events on an exclusive use basis:

Duchray Castle offers Bed and Breakfast accommodation throughout the year and Duchray Lodge is rented out as a self catering holiday cottage:

Access Road
Duchray Castle has a servitude right of access over the private road through the forest owned by the Forestry Commission.

As part of the renovations, the current owners also extensively overhauled the three mile long private water pipe from Loch Katrine aqueduct. All the drainage has been replaced as well as the installation of a bio-digesting sewage treatment plant. Mains electricity.

Biomass Heating
Central heating and hot water to castle and annex come from a log-fired biomass boiler (ETA). The boiler is subscribed to a 20 year non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive payment at £86
per megawatt hour of heat produced, to run until 2033. The boiler is hand-fed three times a day but could be converted to pellets with an automatic feeding system.

Duchray Castle is listed Category B. The Lodge and Walls are listed Category C(S).

Light Fittings
The chandeliers at the top of the new tower and in bedroom 6 are excluded.

Ramsay Memorial
In the southwest corner of the property is a stone cairn marking the site of ashes of a late Colonel Ramsay. This area is not owned by the estate and the Ramsay family retains a right of access.

Local Authority
Duchray Castle is classified as a Hotel and its Rateable Value is £9,500. Duchray Lodge is in Stirling Council Tax band E.

EPC Rating
Duchray Castle = D
Duchray Lodge = G

Square Footage: 4,983 sq ft
Acreage: 80 Acres


From Edinburgh take the M9 north past Stirling. Exit the motorway at Junction 10 and take the A84 west. After about 5 miles turn left onto the A873 signposted to Thornhill and Aberfoyle.Continue straight on joining the A81 to Aberfoyle.

From Glasgow take the A81 north past Milngavie and Killearn and continue north to Aberfoyle.

Driving through Aberfoyle from the east go straight on where the road turns sharp right. Turn left over a narrow hump backed bridge. Duchray Castle is the third road on the right hand side.
There is no road sign but there is a large oak tree on the right and a small letter box on the left. Follow this road for 2.5 miles through the forest to the castle.

More information from this agent

Listing History

Added on Rightmove:
24 April 2016

Map & Street View

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