THE National Trust for Scotland has created a new silver-themed garden in the grounds of Brodick Castle, as part of a bid to more than double visitors to the historic property.

The ‘Silver Garden’, which reflects the castle’s extensive silver collection, is part of ongoing works that the conservation charity hopes will boost visitors from around 45,000 visitors per year to 100,000. The garden includes four new art installations, along with a silver talking tube, xylophone, and windchimes.

Among the new sculptures is a life-size statue of a stag, created by artist Sally Matthews and crafted from leaves of Arran Whitebeam and bracken. The piece was inspired by the famous White Stag on Arran, a mythical creature said to have been spotted on the island on several occasions, particularly around the Lochranza area.

The garden will also feature 21 reflective pillars, which have been influenced by Arran’s Machrie Moor Standing Stones – six Neolithic stone circles on the west coast of the isle. A series of silver bars have been placed under the Spanish Gate, a historic feature marking the beginning of the woodland garden, which will be restored in full in the months ahead.

Jared Bowers, Operations Manager – Brodick Castle, Gardens and Country Park at the National Trust for Scotland, said: “The Silver Garden is a celebration of the spectacular natural environment at Brodick Castle and the different influences that helped to shape it. Historically, the design of the gardens and grounds was inspired by romanticism. The new additions to the gardens offer a fresh take on these ideals and are perfectly situated within Brodick’s location.

“Using reflective materials, the installations create a sensory experience that blend and warp with their surroundings, encouraging people to find their own inspiration in the environment around them.”

Brodick Castle is renowned for its silver collection, which was first gathered by English novelist William Beckford (1760-1844). Although Beckford never lived on Arran, part of his collection was inherited by the family whom owned it.

While the gardens and estate are open to the public, Brodick Castle is closed until the 2019 season. Work costing £1.5m to protect the castle from fire has concluded and the National

Trust for Scotland is now undertaking a complete reorganisation and re-interpretation of the collection, spending £3 million over the next five years to enhance visitor understanding and enjoyment.

The work at Brodick Castle is part of the National Trust for Scotland’s programme to invest almost £60 million over the next five years.

The Silver Gardens is also an example of the ‘100 Ways’ the National Trust for Scotland is protecting Scotland’s heritage and is among the Trust’s priority projects for 2018-19.

Jared Bowers added: “The fire works on Brodick Castle have been completed and we now move on to the task of improving how visitors interact with the property. We’re investing in Brodick for the love of Scotland – its heritage, history, and culture. It underlines our commitment to protecting our country’s most-treasured places for current and future generations to enjoy.

“Brodick Castle will also be the proving ground for our fresh approach to interpretation and presentation of Trust properties, providing visitors with a much-improved experience. We are going to take the time to make sure we get this important work right and make the castle the must-visit attraction it deserves to be.”