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S: Brodick Castle Gardens, Isle of Arran

May 19, 2018

Brodick Castle is run by the National Trust for Scotland; formerly owned by the Hamilton family it comprises the castle (currently closed for renovations), gardens, country park and Goat Fell.

The gardens are sheltered, south facing and benefit from the Gulf Stream. The mild, wet (very wet) climate is perfect for ferns. Highlights include large mature Dicksonia antarctica which have self spored throughout the gardens, Lophosoria quadripinnata, Thyrsopteris elegans and a large clump of original clone Athyrium felix-femina ‘Victoriae’.

Approximately 10 years ago the gardens suffered a severe outbreak of Phytophthora. They are now recovering and looking good after much hard work by the garden team; however the fern collection would benefit from some input by the BPS.

Our work day will involve:

1. Locating and naming the ferns
2. Weeding the fernery

What to bring:

1. Gear for every weather, i.e. waterproofs, boots or wellies, sun protection, midge repellent and/ or nets, gardening gloves.

2. Packed lunch and something to drink. We can picnic outside if the weather is good or in the gardeners’ bothy if wet. The fernery is next to the Bavarian Summerhouse in which we can shelter if needed.
There is also a tea room for sandwiches, tea, coffee and cake.

3. Ideas, suggestions for ferns to expand the collection and any spare ferns to donate.


Take the 9.45 Calmac ferry from Ardrossan arriving Brodick 10.40. The 08.34 train from Glasgow Central is timed to meet the ferry. It may be cheaper to buy a combined train and ferry return ticket. Note there are 3 Ardrossan stations – stay on until Ardrossan HARBOUR, and sit in one of the front 3 carriages.

The ferry is very busy for car bookings – I suggest cars are left at the ferry terminal car park at Ardrossan. I will already be on Arran so can bring people up to the gardens in my car or there is a bus that meets the ferry and goes to the castle.

Note: check in closes for foot passengers 10 mins before departure and for car drivers 30 mins before departure.

There is also a Calmac ferry from Claonaig to Lochranza at 8.50 or 10.05. It is an approximately 30 minute drive from Lochranza to Brodick Castle. There is a bus service but there may be a wait – check Traveline 0871 2002233.

We will meet George, one of the gardeners who is very interested in ferns and keen to expand the collection, in the car park at Brodick Castle at 11.00.

I suggest we finish by 4.00 so people can get on the 16.40 or 19.20 to Ardrossan. Ferries back to Clonaig at 17.05 and 18.25.

Please let Chris or Bridget know if you are coming. Let us know if you want to share transportation.

If people are interested in staying overnight on the island there is the possibility of seeing more ferns around Arran.

Please Note: There may be disruption on the ferry service – see status

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May 19, 2018
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Chris Nicholson


CalMac Ferries Ardrossan
Harbour Rd
Ardrossan, KA22 8ED United Kingdom
+ Google Map
01294 463470
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