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Dunmore House | Scotland | A Urban Explore

On our final morning in Scotland we decided to explore this abandoned mansion; this is walk around shows nature reclaiming this once beautiful mansion.

Dunmore Park itself, or Dunmore Park House if you prefer, is in a truly sorry state. The house originally comprised a series of ranges built around a central courtyard. Partial demolition took place in 1972 that removed the rear, or north-easterly, range and parts of the side ranges, plus roofs and many of the floors throughout the building. These presumably resulted in the piles of rubble that lie behind the house. Despite this, it is possible to explore large parts of the remaining structure.

A well-worn path in from the rear leads to the cellar level, which is fascinating. Of particular interest are the extremely large wine cellars, one built around an octagonal plan with a high-security central area that could be separately closed off, presumably for the truly rare vintages. In the wine cellars, large stone and brick compartments (looking unsettlingly like the stone compartments used for coffins in the mausoleum, albeit extending back much less far) would once have housed stacked bottles of wine. The compartments still carry individual numbers, and it takes no great mathematical genius to work out that there was room for many thousands of bottles of wine down here.

The main entrance is via an impressive porte-cochère, where guests could descend from their carriages beneath the shelter of a vaulted ceiling before entering. The floors in the ground floor rooms on the front range and parts of the two side ranges are still in place, albeit with plenty of sheer drops down to cellar level to catch anyone not taking great care. There is also sufficient accumulated soil and detritus on the ground floor to provide a fertile home for growing trees. Traces of plaster on some of the walls and the grandness of the window openings give a sense of what the house was once like. Outside, you can still see carved decorations in a number of places that again give a sense of what has been lost here. Dunmore Park is a truly sad place.

Full demolition of the mansion was approved but not carried out in 1987, and over the years since there have been a number of proposals to restore Dunmore Park and the surrounding landscape. A press report in 1991 talked of a £25m golf and leisure complex, while another in 1993 talked of turning the house into a hotel. In 2006 there was a proposal to restore the house and stables and build an additional 49 houses. None of these proposals has ever come to fruition, and our own visit in May 2018 raises the question of whether the house is now beyond saving. Photographs were taken by others only a few years previously and viewable online, show the mansion with a clear surrounding space in which no trees grew. On our visit we found trees growing right up to the walls of the house, and many growing inside it. It can only be a matter of time before the vegetation now increasingly obscuring the outside and inside of the house simply swallows it up altogether.

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