An assessment of contemporary values

The Newhailes site covers 86-acres and is located in Musselburgh, on the boundary between East Lothian and the city of Edinburgh (see map below). The main house and the remains of other structures are set within a designed landscape with walks and raised terraces, farmed parkland, woods, a walled garden (formerly the site of a garden centre), visitor amenities, and a recently added playpark. The house is listed as nationally important on account of its architectural design (dating from the 17th and 18th centuries) and several other aspects of the site also have formal heritage status (see records on the Historic Environment Portal).

Following centuries as a private property and home to members of the Dalrymple family, ownership passed to the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) in 1997, with the site opening to the public in 2002. The estate is a significant green space within the local area and the network of paths are well used by walkers. The house is open to visitors on pre-booked tours and there are a number of public events throughout the year. Visitor numbers for the year to date (2021) are estimated at over 100,000.

From November to December 2021, Dr Elizabeth Robson will undertake an independent assessment to explore how Newhailes is valued by people today. The assessment aims to help NTS staff better understand the importance of Newhailes to different communities and will be an input to future management decision making.

As part of the assessment, people who live nearby to, have visited, or have expressed an interest in Newhailes will be invited to share their experiences, memories and feelings about the site.

Please click on the button below to access a short survey, which you can complete in your own time and return by email (you may need to click ‘Enable Editing’ at the top of the screen when the document first opens before you are able to type into it):

If you are interested to know more or keen to be involved in other activities, please contact Elizabeth at

When you are invited to participate, further information will be shared with you about the activities. You do not have to take part if asked. If you do decide to take part, you can withdraw your participation at any time without needing to explain, and without penalty, by advising Elizabeth of this decision. If you withdraw, no further data will be collected from you. However, any data collected up to that point that has already been used in data analysis or reports will be kept.

All contributions will be anonymised in the final report. If you have any concerns about being identified, or if you share very specific data that is likely to be identifiable, this may be omitted or only included as part of a consolidated dataset. Data will be processed in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Personal details will be kept securely for a maximum of 3 years and then destroyed.

If you have any questions about the assessment, please contact Elizabeth Robson (Independent Researcher and ICO registered Data Controller) at

Alternatively, you can contact Paula Whitelaw (Senior Heritage Planner, National Trust for Scotland) at

If you have concerns regarding data protection practices, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s office (ICO), see:

The Newhailes assessment has been commissioned by the National Trust for Scotland, who are funding the research. It will pilot the methods developed by Elizabeth as part of the Wrestling with Social Value project. Further information about that project is available elsewhere on this website, but please note that the Newhailes assessment is an entirely independent activity and does not involve the original project partners, the University of Stirling or Historic Environment Scotland.

View Newhailes House and Gardens on GoogleMaps:

Cover image: Newhailes House [photo credit: Elizabeth Robson]

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