The Vinny Walk starts below the gardens and consists of four areas alongside the Vinny Water. These include the Spring Meadow, Mesopotamia, the Vinny Garden and the Hornbeam Walk which in turn leads on to the Policy Field.
Through the gate at the foot of the garden is a small meadow, formerly a drying and bleaching green for the chapel-like “gothick” wash-house, built over 200 years ago. In spring there is a fine display of snowdrops and purple and white crocus which have naturalized over the years. A path leads across the meadow towards the river and a white painted wooden bridge.
This rather grand name refers to the narrow strip of land between the man-made channel of the Turbie Burn and the course of the Vinny Water beyond. Stately beech and lime trees shade the riverside walk which is overlooked by an unusual turreted doo’cot. On this building, a very worn and carved stone bore the Ogilvy and Guthrie arms, and the date 1643. One of the turrets served as a feed-store for pigeons which once occupied the hundreds of nest boxes which line the inside of the building.
In this secluded part of the gardens alongside the Vinny Water you will find a small Cupid struggling with his bow and arrow. Probably planted in Victorian times, the area now includes some huge variegated hollies, a handkerchief tree and a fine North American tulip tree. Pride of place, thought, must surely go to the paperbark maple, (Acer griseum) which greets you as you enter the garden – a tree now believed to be extinct in its native Manchuria.
A bridge takes you back across the Turbie Burn, and a path which climbs up the bank, to a walk leading back towards the house, part of which is planted with native hornbeam trees. In the spring this whole area is a mass of daffodils and narcissus. To your left is a ha-ha or sunken wall which gives uninterrupted views from the house across the adjacent Policy Field. Fine copper beaches and a pair of venerable Spanish chestnut trees stand on the lawn in front of the house.