Certain buildings are protected in Scotland because they represent a key part of Scotland’s heritage. As well as providing a link to Scotland's past, historic buildings help to generate tourism and promote Scotland's culture and identity. The organisation which oversees the protection of all listed buildings in Scotland is called Historic Scotland, which is an agency within the Scottish Government.
Historic Scotland is directly responsible to Scottish Ministers for safeguarding the nation's historic environment, and promoting its understanding and enjoyment. All functions performed by Historic Scotland are carried out on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
Certain historic buildings, which represent either special architectural or historic interest can be designated as Listed Buildings.
All listed buildings in Scotland receive equal legal protection and protection applies equally to interior and exterior of all listed buildings. Historic Scotland assigns each listed building to one of three categories to reflect their degree of interest.
In 1971 Nether Ardgrain was listed as Grade A by Historic Scotland. This listing includes the curtilage, or adjacent surroundings, to the main house, encompassing the outbuildings, bothy, track and drystone walls. Within the listing Nether Ardgrain was described as:
One of the crispest, sparest and most truly Scots houses in the north-east.
Two storeys and attic, harled with skewputs, thin jambs and a central, slightly projecting, one-window gable which is the pleasing focus. Steeply battered walls (including the centre gable), roll-moulded doorpiece and chamfered jambs to all front windows are 17th-century work. The doorpiece is crowned with an arched panel inscribed HOW HAPPY WOVLD THE HVSBANDMAN BE IF HE KNEW / HIS OWN GOOD (VIRGIL) LET IMPROVEMENTS AND LIBERTY FLOVRISH which could stand as a text for the whole Improving Movement, and there is a sundial over. The interior woodwork is all 1751.
Of all buildings listed by Historic Scotland, only 8% are Grade A listed. Within Aberdeenshire there is only a single farm complex which is Grade A listed - Nether Ardgrain.