The Temple

Contact the Temple Project

If you would like to contact the project team or to submit creative work, historic images, recollections or other ideas relevant to the project, please contact us by email at:

The Cally Temple Project

The Cally Temple, Conservation and Historic Environment Awareness Raising Project

The Cally Temple Project is a new project led by the Gatehouse Development Initiative in partnership with the landowner Forestry Commission Scotland, to conserve the Temple, a two storey stone tower of 1779.  The Temple once looked out across the elegantly laid out parkland of Cally House.  It was built as a feature in the landscape, visible from the house, and to impress visitors.  Today, deep within the woods that have long since grown around it, the Temple has a hidden, mysterious quality.  However the condition of the building has begun to deteriorate.  

As part of the Designed Landscape of Cally, the building is nationally recognised in the Historic Scotland Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes.

James Murray and his son laid out the designed landscape in the eighteenth century and included a number of prominent buildings, boundary walls, an artificial lake and wooded areas.

The B listed Temple, which was built in 1779 is an impressive neo-gothic structure, once visible from Cally House. Although roofless today, research by local volunteers shows that in the 1780s it housed the family of the man who looked after Murray’s drove cattle. The Murrays had estates in Ireland and sent their drove cattle to the growing markets in England. Related documents and the discovery of an Irish coin at the site suggest that the building may have been built with Irish labour.

Work on the consolidation of the building will begin in late summer 2014 and last several weeks. Smiths Gore have been appointed to oversee the conservation work.

The Temple project will leave the building in a better physical condition, and better interpreted and explained. The structure of the building will be fully consolidated, preventing further deterioration. Information boards will tell the story of the Temple and its place in the Designed Landscape of Cally.

There will be an exhibition probably during 2015 in the Mill on the Fleet Exhibition Centre in Gatehouser, and new media will be used to complement traditional methods and draw the project to a wider audience.

A literary project is being run as part of the project with a writer/poet Liz Niven, called Cally Voices, and local groups will become an important part of interpreting the building and the surrounding landscape.  Workshops started in August 2014 and will continue throughout the project until mid 2015.  As with other Initiative projects we will look forward to involving as many locals and visitors as possible in the various activities and build on our 'pool' of  ambassadors for our local heritage.



The Cally Temple, Conservation and Historic Environment Awareness Raising Project has been made possible by the generous support of the following funders

Heritage Lottery Fund
SWEAT landfill communities fund
Solway Heritage landfill communities fund
Forestry Commission Scotland
The Galloway Association of Glasgow
Dumfries and Galloway Council
Live Literature Funding, Scottish Book Trust
Murray Usher Foundation
Galloway Preservation Society

Contact the Temple Project

If you would like to contact the project team or to submit creative work, historic images, recollections or other ideas relevant to the project, please contact us by email at:




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Temple Location

The Temple is well hidden within Cally Woods but makes an excellent destination using the network of paths in the woods.  It is approximately half an hour to 40 minutes from the car park by the Murray Centre on the Cally Drive.  Alternatively it is possible to park in the layby on the Sandgreen Road, just off the A75, and follow cycle route 7 across the field and into the woods - about 10 minutes.  A pdf of the Cally Trail leaflet, with a map showing the many paths and other things to see in the Cally Woods can be downloaded below. Click the OS map to be taken to a Bing map with satelite image option, or the Trail Map below that.

The Cally Trail

The Temple

James Ramsay, a landscape gardener, is credited for adding new elements to the designed landscape of Cally House, including the gothic ‘Temple’, built in 1779.

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Guided walk to the Temple and creative writing session

Have you been to the Temple in Cally Woods, would you like to write a poem about it?

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Cally Temple receives Heritage Lottery Funding

The Cally Temple project has won Heritage Lottery Fund support to conserve the historic eighteenth century Temple within Cally Woods at Gatehouse of Fleet and provide an education and information programme.

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Report on the Temple at Cally

Survey shows the Temple at Cally was lived in when first built.

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  • The Temple - Poems and Writing

    Cally Temple by Lucy Hadley

    An important part of the Cally Temple project is raising awareness through creative writing.  Starting  with an impromptu meeting with Gatehouse residents and visitors during Gala Week 2014, poet Liz Niven has since worked with a wide range of groups, encouraging them to think about the Temple and its setting in the Cally Woods through the medium of creative writing.  Liz has been to the Temple with a group who met afterwards at the Bakehouse in Gatehouse; she has taken Gatehouse Primary School children to visit the old school, where they worked on a tableau of school days long ago.  She has walked to the Temple with a group  staying at the Cally hotel and with postgraduate students from Glasgow University. the students had a follow up session back at the Crichton campus.  Most recently Liz set up a stall with National Scenic Area Officer, Anna Johnson at the Dumfries and Galloway Environment Fair, also at the Crichton campus and this created a lot of interest.
    Meanwhile Gatehouse Development Initiative members have been carrying out research on the history of the Temple and other features of the designed landscape of Cally.  All this information has provided ideas for poems which are flooding in and enriching our understanding of the Temple and its surroundings.


    As readers will see the Temple has inspired Liz and many others to put pen to paper.  If you have visited the Temple or Cally Woods and feel inspired to submit a poem, some writing, or a drawing or painting, please send via email to:


    Drawing by Lucy Hadley

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