Smailholm Tower stands on a rocky crag that is just large enough to support the tower and the courtyards to its east and west. These were surrounded by a tall barmkin wall, now not standing to anything like its original height only at the west end.
The tower was once the centre of a thriving settlement. The west courtyard was originally home to a hall and a kitchen, though in the 1650s the hall was replaced by a house. Outside the barmkin wall would have once stood cottages, stables and cattle enclosures, and traces of some of them can still be seen on the ground. There would also have been a mill, on the site now occupied by Sandyknowe Farm to the south east of the tower. The millpond still exists.
Ref: Smailholm Tower
Photographer: Martin Skidmore