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Next open on Saturday at 10am

Geology & Herb Gardens

Our herb and geology gardens overlook the River Helmsdale and are framed by the old Telford stone bridge and the Strath of Kildonan, an ideal place to relax and spot seals, otters, jumping salmon and a wide variety of river birds.

When Timespan was conceived in 1986, the current herb garden, which is now dense with wild herbs, was a coal yard and flat wasteland. The architect John Hope transformed it into a terraced garden on the banks of the River Helmsdale, with the hard labour of foreman Graham Cameron and nine local men. The makeover took a year and the team tackled the terracing, paths, stonework, burns and ponds, carting in tonnes of earth and constructing a peat bank.

Planting began in 1987 under the care of Mary Dudgeon, Timespan’s first chairperson and still good pal, whose own garden at Crakaig is famous within the county. Over the years,  herbs from all over Scotland have been introduced into the garden which now has more varieties than anywhere else in the country. Many more indigenous plants have been added so the garden is now a unique garden of Scottish native flora.

Our geology garden has an impressive collection of large rock specimens which are representative of the many different types found in Sutherland and Caithness, including Lewisian Gneiss, Red Granite, Jurassic Sandstone and Fossil Coral. The botanist Agnes Walker, researched and recorded Timespan’s garden in her book A Garden of Herbs , focusing on the history of medicinal plants in Scotland.