Plans to save Robert Burns’ farmhouse that inspired ’Auld Lang Syne’ revealed

The entrance to Ellisland Farm on the banks of the River Nith in Dumfries and Galloway. Credit: Robert Burns Ellisland Trust

Plans to save a farmhouse built by the poet Robert Burns have been revealed.

The “FutureVision” project seeks to safeguard the 170-acre Ellisland Farm on the banks of the River Nith in Dumfries and Galloway, where Burns wrote his most famous works, ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and ‘Tam o Shanter.’

It is hoped a new generation of artists, poets and songwriters can be inspired by the rural landscape that Burns described as “sweet poetic ground,” by using the farm for artistic residencies and workshops.

The farmhouse, which Burns built in 1788 for his wife Jean Armour, will become an immersive creative space, with workshops and performances held in restored farm buildings nearby.

The team behind the project say that new planting will improve bio-diversity in the woodlands and fields surrounding the site, and new pathways will improve accessibility for visitors and guests.

A new visitor centre is also planned, offering catering, audio visual experiences and an exhibition space to display items from Ellisland’s collection - including manuscripts and Burns’ possessions such as his flute, books and fishing rod.

An artist's impression of the new visitor centre to offer catering and an exhibition space to display items from Ellisland’s collection. Credit: Robert Burns Ellisland Trust

The £36,000 project was commissioned by the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust charity, and financed by the South of Scotland Enterprise, The Architectural Heritage Fund and The Holywood Trust, a Dumfries and Galloway charity which supports children and young people.

Joan McAlpine, Business Development Manager of the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust, said: “These proposals will bring Ellisland alive by enabling new generations to be inspired as Burns was inspired by what he called the “sweet poetic ground” on the Banks of the Nith.

“We believe people will want to come from all over the world to immerse themselves in the landscape which inspired Auld Lang Syne, Ye Banks and Braes, John Anderson and many more songs.”

Dr David Hopes, Acting Chair of the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust, and a former Director of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway said:

“Ellisland is the place to fall in love with Burns and see nature through the poet’s eyes. These plans mean we will preserve and enhance the landscape which inspired Burns by improving bio-diversity and enhancing accessibility. There will be opportunities to do that working with partners in the community.

“These plans will save the buildings by conserving them through use, safeguard the important collection and allow many more people to enjoy the site and benefit from it.”

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