Lews Castle


Castle Grounds

The Lews Castle Grounds regeneration project is being undertaken by the Stornoway Trust in partnership with the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, in close consultation with a number of key stakeholders and the wider community.

Nearly £4 million is to be provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund to regenerate Lews Castle Grounds.  The project will focus on restoring the core area of the designed landscape.  This will address the long term management needs, including new works to improve and develop links between the Castle, its grounds and the new Museum and Archive.

The Castle Grounds are located in Stornoway, on the North East coast of the Isle of Lewis.  The ‘Grounds’ as they are known locally, cover over 270ha which include woodland, parkland and gardens associated with Lews Castle.  The Grounds were originally laid out in the 1850’s by Sir James Matheson and have been in community ownership since 1923.  The close proximity of the Grounds to the town means it has a long history as a public park and ‘playground’ of the town.

The grounds are an outstanding example of a mid-to-late Victorian ornamental and estate landscape, with fine elevated views over Stornoway and beyond to the sea.  Carriage drives and an extensive network of paths provide access through and around the grounds, creating numerous circuits and providing a variety of vantage points.

The main entrance into the grounds is via Willowglen Road.  This is near the Porter’s Lodge which was the original entrance and is now used as a pedestrian access.  The main pedestrian access from the town is from Bayhead Street, beside the Bridge Centre.

The Core Area of regeneration encompasses the area between the main drive, along the Shore Road between the Porters Lodge to the north and Cuddy Point to the south, covering around 20 ha. Click for Map


Project Mission Statement

montageThe Project Team developed the following mission statement for the project in consultation with representatives of Castle Grounds users:

“We will work together to make the Castle Grounds safe, accessible, inclusive and inspiring for people of all ages and abilities.

We will manage the Grounds as a community owned asset with ambition to create a sustainable resource, enabling a wide variety of activities for individuals and groups, mixing wild-lands and managed spaces.

We will support and enable people to engage with the environment, the history and archaeology, sport and culture, to learn, to excite all their senses and to participate in healthy activity.”




Castle Grounds Regeneration Proposals

  • Porters Lodge. Restoration of Lodge building and improvements to public realm.
  • Adventure Play. Introduction of adventure play features in the woodland
  • Boatman’s Tower. Restoration of the Tower and improvements to public realm.
  • Shoe Burn Glen and Matheson Bridge. Refurbishment and repairs to bridges and walls improvements to footpaths with reinstatement of lighting.
  • Castle Terrace and Sunken Garden. Restoration of bastion walls, terrace and steps, development of new feature fountain.
  • Castle Green. Removal of thicket from bastion wall areas; improvements to access, drainage and provision of services for events.
  • The Bowl. (small valley above Cuddy Point) Introduction of cascading ponds within wild flower meadows.
  • Matheson Monument. Restoration of monument and repairs to retaining wall.
  • Sea Wall. Repairs and protection works to sea wall.
  • Cuddy Point. Replacement of concrete surfaces with restored road, perimeter path and grass area, including reinforced grass for parking.
  • Golf Club Car Park. Local environmental improvements to main drive corridor.
  • Woodland Centre. Improved pedestrian access and public realm to Woodland Centre with addition of Toddlers Play features.

All images ©Isobel Martin unless otherwise stated