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Balnakeilly Settlement


This deserted farm lies within the former Forest of Bute which was a royal forest in the 15th century. The ancient oak woodland lying to the east formed the core of this forest.

There are five building ruins, a garden and an enclosure visible to this day. The largest farm building is a good example of traditional building practices, with three cruck slots visible in the walls. These would have stabilised the large timber beams which supported the roof.

Census entries suggest a large majority of residents left in the 1840's with the settlement finally abandoned in the 1860's. Some of the family names associated with the settlement are still familiar on Bute today: Fisher, McKay, Gordon, McArthur, McFie, McKellar, Ferguson and McLachlan.

The land passed to Bute Estate in 1781. In 2010 Balnakeilly farmstead was included in a community land purchase of the surrounding forest and is now owned by the people of Bute through us, Bute Community Land Company.

If you want to find out more about the history of Bute you can visit Bute Museum.