Brodick Castle has been in the care of the National Trust for Scotland since 1958 when it was acquired in lieu of death duties from Lady Jean Fforde following the death of the Dowager Duchess of Montrose. It is the seat of the Dukes of Hamilton. It has a long and fascinating part in the affairs of Scotland and the site history can be traced back to the 5th century.
The castle gave refuge to Robert Bruce when he was on his way to exile in Ireland and when he returned Brodick Castle is where he launched his campaign to regain Scottish independence. Arran is also the place where it is said Bruce had his experience with a spider, in a cave near Blackwaterfoot.
Brodick Castle is the only place on Arran where Taxus baccata grows which is unusual given the size of the island. On the lawn in front of the castle is a dense, flourishing male yew but measuring a girth is not possible as there is no access to the trunk. Developments at the castle suggest this yew may have origins in the mid-17th century and if so means it is around 350 years old.
Within the castle’s courtyard area some small yews grow along a wall and they appear to probably belong to when an extensive renovation of the castle was carried out in 1844. There is also a female yew near to the car park entrance. It stands alone at the corner of a lawn and at the end of a fence which abuts the yew’s trunk. A girth measurement is not practical due to low growth of branches and size suggests it may also belong to when the castle was last renovated in the mid- 19th century.