The new year is a traditional moment to start searching for a new home – and upmarket properties in the Scottish countryside are in greater demand than ever.
So the prospect of a fully-serviced designer residence at the very heart of the Marchmont Estate in the Scottish Borders sounds especially enticing.
And, astonishingly, it can be yours absolutely free. But you need to be a barn owl to qualify.
Known as the Owl Temple, the five-metre tall marble structure was handmade by the highly renowned stone carver Michelle de Bruin (one of a number of artists with studios at Marchmont) in 2021.
Erected after the breeding season it has never been occupied and but hopes are high that the perfect tenants will swoop in during 2022.
Key points are:
- Large entry and exit
- Generous internal space that’s perfect for raising a young family
- Wide parapet where owlets can exercise before they learn to fly
- A perch created from an Arts & Crafts chair leg made in the Marchmont Workshops.
Other advantages include that the property will be serviced each year (at times when it’s unoccupied) by Shaun Adams, estate gardener and bee keeper, who looks after around 170 bird boxes across the Marchmont Estate.
Indeed, if potential residents are birds of a feather and wish to stick together, there are 18 other owl boxes in the neighbourhood and several of them were used to raise young families over the past year.
Shaun said: ‘The area is perfect for owls, with just the kind of landscape that they love to hunt in. We’ve got a really successful programme for attracting birds of all kinds to the estate, but it’s one of the most magical things when barn owls take up residence and you get to see them in flight.’
The Owl Temple is located in the walled garden of Marchmont House, which is superbly planted and contains a magnificent collection of contemporary sculptures.
Human visitors will have the chance to see it during a series of organised tours of Marchmont, its garden, grounds and outstanding collection of sculptures that are being planned for 2022.
Hugo Burge, Marchmont’s Director, who commissioned the temple said: ‘The Owl Temple brings together art and nature in way that we love to try to explore at Marchmont. We all hope that the extraordinary craftsmanship of Michelle’s art will attract owls that will enjoy it.
‘We get excited by art projects that help to explore and bring balance between humanity and the natural environment, so this very much fits in with that theme.
‘This is a real “des res” for owls – and we very much hope that it will prove as successful as some of the other initiatives we have been taking to encourage wildlife on the estate.
‘We look forward to sharing all that Marchmont has to offer with the public and will soon be unveiling a programme of events, sculpture tours and activities for 2022.’
For more about Michelle de Bruin visit HERE.