Balcarres has been in the possession of the Lindsay family since 1586. In 1595, John Lindsay built a semi-fortified house at Balcarres. It has undergone much change over the years including two principal extensions: in 1840, General James Lindsay commissioned William Burn to design the South West wing. In 1864, Sir Coutts Lindsay employed David Bryce to build an extensive addition to the North of the property.
Sir Coutts was also responsible for the design and construction of the impressive garden terraces – part of the extensive garden and landscaped park around the house.
The family has very strong links with the immediate community, in particular, the village of Colinsburgh that takes its name from the 3rd Earl of Balcarres, Colin Lindsay. In the early 18th century, he built the village directly south of the park to resettle soldiers who’d served in his regiment.
Today, the Estate retains strong ties with the village, providing the recreation ground and a woodland area used by the Primary school. In 1986, the family leased the house together with the gardens and park to The Balcarres Heritage Trust and the Trust is responsible for the maintenance of the property.
Through recent years, significant investment has been made in fabric of the estate, improving farm buildings, the housing stock, the woodlands and also the environment to encourage a greater diversity of wildlife.
The main commercial activities are farming and house rentals:
Farming: includes an in-hand organic unit and three Limited Partnerships covering beef and lamb production as well as growing wheat, barley, potatoes and vegetables.
House rentals: the Estate is seen as a highly attractive place to live. There is a range of two and three bedroom properties. Availability is limited due to the low turnover of tenants.
Balcarres has 800 acres of woodland and much effort is made to ensure these are maintained as an amenity for the local community. There is an ongoing focus on environmental issues with particular emphasis on increasing the diversity of wildlife through the creation of grass margins, hedge planting and pond creation. A red squirrel conservation project is also delivering encouraging results.