SCHT visit to Brucefield Estate, Forestmill, Clackmannanshire

Stirling City Heritage Trust staff and Trustees recently visited Brucefield Estate which is located east of Clackmannan and about half an hour from Stirling.

Stirling City Heritage Trust has a staff of 6 and up to 11 Trustees who oversee to work of the Trust. It is good practice for charities to have ‘Away Days’ where staff and Trustees can get together and learn and share ideas. Our Board has a mixture of people, some are surveyors/ engineers/ architects with a technical background and others have different skills such as HR, commercial banking, landscape gardening, housing and IT. This balance gives strength to what we do. Having a learning day where we can all find more out about traditional buildings and related topics together as a group is really useful.

We recently visited Brucefield Estate which is located east of Clackmannan and about half an hour from Stirling. One of our Trustees, Tracy Rich, has been working on the gardens of the estate and suggested it as a venue. The estate has a very long history, dating back to the medieval period when it was owned by the Stewarts of Rosyth who were supporters of Mary Queen of Scots.

Brucefield Estate

We were welcomed by owner, Victoria Bruce-Winkler and guest experience manager, Dawid Nowak. They showed us around Slackbrae Cottage.

The building has been thoughtfully restored using traditional materials but with the aim of the cottage being highly insulated to make the building as energy efficient as possible. The interior has a beautiful Scandi-Scot design with carefully chosen artwork and fabrics. Trustees and staff were impressed by the use of traditional materials including lime and pantiles whilst having a building which is very efficient to heat. The effective use of natural light including rooflights to help warm the building was evident to see on the very sunny day that we visited.


Our Trustee, Tracy Rich, gave us a guided tour of the gardens and the plans behind the plants which were chosen to represent the different counties on which Brucefield sits - Forester’s Garden Clackmannanshire, Lambs Garden Perthshire and Knight’s Garden for Fife. The plants were all chosen to fit with those themes. A large herb garden was also created so that self-catering guests staying at the cottage could use these when cooking their meals.

We were then taken into the woods to visit the Schenbothies which have been constructed there. These wonderful eco bothies hiding in the trees were thoughtfully constructed to fit in with the landscape and also to be very energy efficient. The mezzanine bed location was particularly unique!

Finally, we visited a building under construction which they hope will be used as an event space once completed. Again, the materials chosen were sympathetic to the traditional buildings but with the aim of being as energy efficient as possible.

Trustees and staff learned a great deal from Victoria about the trials and tribulations of conserving older buildings and trying to have buildings which are very low cost to heat. Her knowledge and enthusiasm were inspiring and we were all impressed with what has been achieved at Brucefield Estate. We all hope to visit again, perhaps for a restful weekend in the woods!

Posted by: Lindsay