The Kenmure Hill Temple is a folly that sits on the former estate of the ancestral homeland of the Clan Semple. It is found in the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park, Scotland’s largest regional park located in Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire. Whilst there are various theories about the purpose of the Temple the reason it is on the estate is not clear. However, whilst it now stands alone at one time it was one of a number of structures. There is a distinct possibility is that it was built purely as a ‘folly’ with no other specific use than for its appearance. To reach the Temple on Kenmure Hill visitors will need to follow the ‘Semple Trail’ walking along loch trails taking in the wonderful views across the water. Bird watchers might even see the rare Hen Harrier that breeds in the area. For those who enjoy cycling there is a special track along quiet country roads and pavements.
Little is sadly known about the Temple, other than that was built around 1760. Col. William MacDowell was instrumental in its construction but its exact use, if any, remains a mystery. Local stories range from a house for an ill child to a watch tower or vantage point for ladies to observe the stag hunt. Even the use of the word ‘Temple’ is misleading in that there is no suggestion that it had anything to do with religion – current or historic. The temple has no roof and is octagonal in shape with large arched windows on all sides. It stands alone on a grassy hill.
The Semple family moved from Elliston Castle to the Castle Semple Estate in 1500. Unfortunately all that remains of the 900 acre estate is the Temple, a walled garden and gate arches. Castle Temple House was destroyed by fire in 1935.
Castle Semple Visitor’s Centre is open from March through to November and is where those wishing to visit the monument can find maps and information relevant to their journey. The park itself has beautiful scenery, country walks, cycling routes and boating at Castle Semple Loch. Picnic areas are spread around the park and for those wanting to enjoy a hot meal the site has a number of cafes.
This area is ideal for those who love the outdoor life. Reaching the Temple does require a fair degree of fitness and stamina but the views from the top provide an excellent reward for the effort.
The nearby village of Elderslie is recognised as the birthplace of William Wallace and history documents that Elliston Castle is reputed to have been the location of one of the battles in which he fought.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
A82 (Rd), Luss, Loch Lomond, Alexandria,
Nr Glasgow, Scotland, G83 8NT
+44 (0)1436 860 658
- Address: Station Rd, Howwood, Castle Semple, Renfrewshire, Scotland, UK, PA10 2PG
- GPS: 55.80835917794442,-4.5912981033325195
- Part of UK: Scotland
- Sat Nav Postcode: PA10 2PG
- Entrance Fees: Free Access
- Disabled Access: Poor
- Visibility from Road: Good - from a distance
- Image Credits: Header Image: Maria Gaellman