PRINCE Charles took all the headlines last week as he officially opened the new Health and Wellbeing Centre at Dumfries House.

Since saving the estate from being split up and sold over a decade ago, the Prince’s Foundation and its previous incarnations have developed the estate, turning it into a local and national asset.

The new centre continues that theme after transforming part of the estate untouched for over a century.

It is situated in an area of the 2,000-acre estate called Stockiehill, the site of the former eastern gate lodges – an entrance to the estate which was abandoned in Victorian times.

The B-listed lodges were restored to their original form and now each house two treatment rooms and a waiting area.

Architect Keith Ross, has been working on the estate for the last 10 years and has witnessed a lot of change since he joined.

Keith said: “Every project on the estate is very different so you’ve got a new challenge with every project, whether it’s a restoration or a new build.

“Even the new builds are quite unusual because they’re building types that no-one has done before.

“The farm education centre is very original and even this is a health building but it doesn’t feel like a health building.

“There are challenges in everything that we’ve looked at.”

Of the new health and wellbeing centre, Keith added: “This was originally the eastern gate lodges for an entrance to the estate that had been kind of abandoned.

“These were used as staff accommodation and it was decided that we would create a group of buildings here to form a little courtyard.

“That would then provide more of a sheltered area and utilise these but not extend them and add something that would complement them.

“It would probably be in Victorian times that this entrance was abandoned. The road went right down the hill and it joined on to one of the existing farm tracks at the bottom, but it has long gone.

“There had been some commercial forestry along the back which had gone in about the beginning of the 20th century and it was quite mature woodland. It has all been thinned out now.

“These were basically just two dwelling houses latterly and there was no road down here at all.

“It has worked quite well with the way the two sit with the new build sitting behind and it works quite well from the road as well.

“The existing buildings were restored and then we built this as a new building. It contains large spaces and small spaces and the lodges contain treatment rooms.

“They weren’t really in too bad a condition because they had been occupied but they hadn’t seen an awful lot of refurbishment over the years.

“There were rotten timbers in the roof, they needed re-roofed and they were not insulated at all so we had to strip them right back to the bones and then re-insulate them with new linings, new interiors and a new roof. It was pretty extensive.”