Finlaystone Country Estate

Divided between Renfrewshire and Inverclyde council areas, the Finlaystone Estate represents 202 ha (500 acres) of ancient woodland and mature gardens which have become a popular local attraction since opening to the public in 1975. The estate features woodland walks, formal gardens, a walled garden and an adventure playground. The gardens were laid out in 1900, with a herbaceous border added in 1939, and have been constantly attended ever since. They now include sweeping lawns, sculptured hedges and a sensory garden, where smell is the key.

A ranger service was introduced in 1976, while the visitor centre was developed during the 1980s and now includes an extensive doll collection, together with displays on natural history, Celtic art and the Clan MacMillan. The estate is also noted for its wildlife, including roe deer, otter, squirrel, stoat and a large colony of bats. It also supports more than 50 species of birds, including the second largest heronry in SW Scotland.

Finlaystone was the property of the Danzielstone (Denzilstone or Dennistoun) family by the 12th Century and the estate was confirmed upon Sir John de Danyelstoun by King Robert II in 1373. It passed through marriage to the Cunningham family in 1399 and Alexander Cunningham was created Earl of Glencairn in 1488. The Earls were responsible for building Finlaystone House in the 1760s and held the property until 1796 when the 15th Earl died childless and the title expired. Both house and estate passed to the Cunningham Grahams and were sold to Sir David Carrick-Buchanan in 1863 and George Jardine Kidston (1835 - 1909) in 1897. In 1929 it passed through marriage to the MacMillan family and has been the home of their chief ever since.

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