He ran the largest steel and iron empire ever owned by an individual in the United States, yet there was a corner of his native Scotland that never failed to provide repose to Andrew Carnegie.

The Dunfermline-born industrialist and philanthropist loved to return to Skibo Estate with his family after he bought it, along with Ledmore and Migdale woods, in 1897.

Carnegie emigrated to America with his parents when he was 12, later becoming one of the richest people in the history of his adopted country as he led the expansion of its steel industry.

But he never forgot Scotland and hoped Skibo – where the Carnegies spent the summer holidays until the outbreak of the First World War –would help his daughter, Margaret, develop a love for the land he left behind as a child.

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One woodland picnic area within the grounds in Sutherland so enchanted the family that they named it The Fairy Glen and, in1907, opened it to the public.

Now the spot, which is crossed by a sparkling burn, has been acquired for the nation by Woodland Trust Scotland (WTS).

To mark the purchase, an overgrown, carved stone, originally placed by the Carnegies, uncovered last week by Woodland Trust Scotland volunteers Jim and Saddhavati Mohahan, and site manager Ross Watson, last week uncovered an overgrown, carved stone which was originally placed by the Carnegies.

It reads: “Fairy Glen – Opened By Mr, Mrs and Miss Carnegie, 10th September 1907.”

WTS purchased Ledmore and Midgale in 1993.

At nearly 700 hectares it is one of the Trust’s largest sites, and its most northerly wood in the UK. The 2.5ha Fairy Glen remained in private ownership, however, until this week’s completed purchase.

For Andrew Carnegie’s descendants, memories of its secluded woods and paths are still vivid.

His great-granddaughter, Margaret Thomson, speaking in 2014, recalled that he built a log cabin therein the The Fairy Glen.

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Constructed on a flat bit of ground overlooking the burn, it was still standing when she was a child.

“We always knew the burn as The Fairy Glen,” she said.

“He [Carnegie] bridged this beautiful burn with very attractive wooden bridges, I think there were nine, that led you all the way down to the Spinningdale road and the stone bridge there.

“When we were children, we did go there occasionally but not very often because the cabin had already been boarded up

“It was getting older and they reckoned it wasn’t very safe for children.

“They finally recommended to my grandmother that she pull it down.

“I don’t know if it was burnt or just taken apart, but anyway it went.

“Many years later we went back and we found the [concrete] foundations.

“So the cabin had gone and eventually all of the bridges were taken down because they were really unsafe.”

Ms Thomson also revealed that she had a memento of her great-grandfather and great-grandmother’s frequent retreat.

“We have the old pine cupboard that came from the Fairy Glen log cabin and inside the doors they’ve written their log, with every date,” she said.

“So far as we could see the main thing they did was cook potatoes.

“My great-grandmother loved it, she loved the whole thing of cooking potatoes.

“And you look on the cupboard doors you realise they went there a lot.

“It’s all written in pencil.”

Welcoming completion of the purchase, Mr Watson said: “This is a beautiful little glen with a charming burn tumbling through oakwoods dripping with mosses and ferns.

“It would be a lovely addition to Ledmore and Migdale on its woodland merits alone, but the Carnegie connection makes it all the more fitting.”

He added: “We are extremely grateful for the support of The Carman Family Foundation which enabled us to acquire this site.”