Planting of Benmore and Kilmun Estates 1883
The file is courtesy of Glenbranter Forest office staff with particular thanks to Ian Adams who has stored these old files for many years.
The typed sheets appear to have been copied from ‘‘Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland Vol XV 1883’’ and titled Plantations on the Estates of Benmore and Kilmun, Argyll by Donald Stalker, Forester, Kilmun.
This article by Donald Stalker summarises the work of several years to establish forests and woods on the 12,260 acre Benmore Estate then owned by James Duncan. He mentions the work carried out on the farms to improve the soils and also the award winning herd of Highland cattle and blackface sheep plus a brief mention of a wood planted behind Benmore House about 1820. In particular he details the work and expenditure on 31 enclosures totalling 1622 acres and the planting of over 6 million trees between the years of 1871 and 1881. The total expenditure of £12,165 is broken down by cost of plants, carriage, planter’s wages, draining, fencing 27 miles, beating up and cutting grass and bracken.
The author also describes the species of trees used and the mixtures employed as well as explaining in detail the planting, draining and fencing methods with unit costs. He uses the word ‘shouched’ to describe the storage of plants in temporary holding groups below and on the hill where men, boys and girls appear to have been employed to plant. His description of the draining methods and tools used by the contractors indicates that he was impressed with the efficiency of the ‘big spades ‘ and other tools in creating the drains at 1/9 to 2/6 per 100 yards (about 9p -12.5p per 100yds!).
His description of the scenery, the grandeur of the gardens and the large gallery (dismantled) alongside the main house is indeed very evocative. See the attached PDF for the full details.
Picture added on 25 July 2018 at 19:41