Woodlands and Geography


Riddell is celebrated for its magnificent woodlands and forestry which provide a breathtakingly colourful and textural frame to the land, livestock and activities. The woodlands were laid out in virtually their present form between 1790 and 1820. There was no further planting until 1910, when it recommenced and continued until 1924. There was again no planting undertaken until 1948 from which date there has been a regular planting policy during which some 274 acres of conifers and 37 acres of broadleaves have been replanted. Oak from Riddell was used in 1900 in the construction of Captain Scott's Antarctic expedition ship ‘Discovery' and more recently for repairs to Nelson's ‘HMS Victory' (1960).

The woods generally run from east to west and give excellent shelter to stock. They also provide outstanding amenity value for sporting and leisure pursuits such as stalking, game shooting, riding, walking and other outdoor activities.


The Estate lies in the Ale Valley between 475 and 875 feet with a fairly exposed mainly south facing aspect. The ground is undulating with moderate to steep slopes leading to ridge crests with a south west to north east trend.

Soils are Ettrick Association, predominantly of the Ettrick series overlying Silurian rocks. Alluvium occurs in the valley bottoms with stony loams prevalent on the slopes and clayey tills on the ridges.

The rainfall average is about 34". The south facing slopes and fields adjacent to the River Ale suffer from drought in very dry periods.

In addition to the River Ale, which runs through the south side of the Estate, marshlands, wetlands and ponds enhance the natural beauty, habitat quality and bio-diversity of the estate. In total there are 7 ponds including:  2 newt ponds; 1 newly created pond, 1 former mill pond which has been restored and 3 old established ponds which are abundant in wildlife, insect and plant life.