Islay House is located a few hundred metres from the village of Bridgend, close to the Bridgend - Portnahaven Road. Islay House was built in the late 17th century, and has been much altered and extended by successive lairds. It was Sir Hugh Campbell who ordered the construction of Islay House around 1677 together with his successor Alexander Campbell. Daniel Campbell also expanded Islay House with the addition of the flanking wings. These days Islay House is owned Owned by American Steven Haag and Hong Kong based businessman Paul Brown, being converted into a first rate country house hotel.
The Kitchen Garden
Belonging to Islay House originally was the Kitchen Garden, which supplied fruit and vegetables for Islay House. Same as Islay House the Kitchen Garden dates back to the 1700s and is part of the wider woodland landscape designed round Islay House. The garden was last used to supply Islay House in the 1960s and by 2005 it was overgrown, parts of it were inaccessible and the large greenhouse was derelict. The present owner of Islay House decided to lease the garden to the Islay community in 2005.
Islay House Community Garden
Dedicated efforts by Bridgend Community Centre Committee, with the encouragement and support of many volunteers and organisations, have brought the garden back to life. Many of the original features, including a well, have been restored. The sundial combines the old with the new and is a central feature in the garden. The garden now acts as Community Garden and a lot of seasonal produce is grown here and can be bought in the shop which is located on the southside of the garden. There is a wide range of seasonal fruit, vegetables and herbs available as well as many varieties of potatoes and beans and you can even pick your own fresh salad vegetables. Usually the Ileach (local newspaper) reports which garden veg is available in that particular period. The shrubbery is a nice area in the garden for a stroll and is full of plants brought to Islay, from as far away as New Zealand, by the Victorians. The large tree in the shrubbery is NZ Plagianthus regius (Ribbonwood) and is recorded as one of two such Champion trees in the UK by The Tree Register. The one in the Community Garden is shorter, but with a much greater girth. There are nice walks around the terraces which are full of flowers to attract birds and butterflies.
The garden is open all year round and is free for everyone to visit. If you want to sign up as a volunteer or need more information you can get in touch with one of the staff members or volunteers in the garden. You can also contact them via Facebook ( Islay House Community Garden ) or by phone to Tom Skinner on 07767688051
The Community Garden Shop
The Terraces with Islay House Square visible in the background