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Welcome to the Living Lomonds!

Welcome to the Living Lomonds website! Our website is part of the legacy of  a landscape conservation programme which was delivered by the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership, an association of organisations in Fife and Perth & Kinross.

The aim of the programme was to re-connect people with the living legacy of the Lomond and Benarty Hills through a range of community based activities, volunteering opportunities and projects.

We hope that you will use our website to plan visits to the our area, to download leaflets and reports about the fascinating area, which was home to the Living Lomonds for three years. 

Click here to check out the Scottish Outdoor Access Code before you go!

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code is the place to find out more about everyone's access rights and responsibilities in Scotland’s outdoors.

Our Partners

LLLPA - 	ONFife Website LLLPA - Fife Council Website LLLPA - Fife Coast and Countryside Trust Website LLLPA - Falkland Centre For Stewardship Website LLLPA - TRACKS (The Rural Access Committee Kinross-shire)  LLLPA - Portmoak Website LLLPA - Forestry Commission Scotland Website LLLPA - Markinch Heritage Group Kinross (Marshall) Museum Woodland Trust Benarty Community Forum Group

Lochore Meadows Country Park

Welcome to Lochore Meadows Country Park, once at the heart of the West Fife mining industry, but now a wonderful 1200 acre country park with something for everyone; walking, cycling, birdwatching, golf, watersports or just a space to enjoy peace and quiet. Visit the Park Centre to find out more about Lochore Meadows past and present.

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Falkland Centre for Stewardship

The Centre for Stewardship is located on the outskirts of the beautiful conservation village of Falkland, Fife, Scotland. As well as caring for the A listed House of Falkland with its arts and craft interiors and historic landscape, we are now developing Falkland Estate as a place where people are learning how to live and work more sustainably. Our interests span from the value of re-skilling our communities to the impact of today’s decisions on climate change for future generations. 

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Glenrothes Heritage Centre

Glenrothes was born on 30th June 1948 when the Development Corporation was set-up under the New Towns Act. However, the history of the land on which the town was built and of the dynastic families that owned the land together with those men, women and children who worked the land on behalf of the titled landowners, spans thousands of years –  a truly exciting story!

The Glenrothes and Area Heritage Centre was formed 2010 and works hard to promote the history of the area, maintains a substantial archive of documents, artefacts and photographs as well as staging exhibitions on a variety of themes included the Countess of Rothes and the Titanic and the First World War.

Lochore Meadows

Once part of Fife’s mining industry it is now a breath-taking country park. With the Loch Ore at its centre, it offers a huge range of leisure activities, from walking, birdwatching and geo-caching, to cycling, fishing, golf and water sports. The park also has a fascinating historical past, with Bronze Age round houses, mediaeval rig and furrow ploughing, a 14th century castle, and links with Sir Walter Scott.

The main centre building houses a cafe, shop, public toilets as well as facilities to hire for a meeting or a training day.

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Markinch Railway Station

Markinch is the main rail access to the Lomond Hills and is an excellent starting point for any adventure.

Once surrounded by marshland, Markinch takes its name from  the for “horse-island”. It is close to Dalginch where legal disputes for the whole of Fife were once settled, and is thought to be the  site of the ancient Pictish capital of Fife. The Parish of Markinch was once known as the Shire of Strathleven and encompasses Balgonie Castle and the motte of Maiden Castle near Kennoway. The importance of the area from earliest times is indicated by the massive henge monument at Balfarg dating back to Neolithic period. Until recently, paper-making, textiles and whisky bottling contributed to the wealth of the town.

Glenrothes Bus Station

Glenrothes is the gateway to the Living Lomonds; a dramatic landscape of wild open spaces interwoven with farmland, towns and villages. The area is rich in natural and cultural history with lots of opportunity to explore and learn more whilst enjoying amazing panoramic views and a great sense of space. Whether you are interested in walking, cycling, watersports, wildlife and nature, or discovering the rich history and archaeology of the area, the Living Lomonds has something for you. 

Glenrothes Bus Station is centrally located on Church Street adjacent to the Kingdom Shopping Centre. Glenrothes Bus Station provide excellent transport links across Fife. 

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Lochore Meadows Country Park - Main Centre

Welcome to the Lochore Meadows- Main Centre Trailhead, a great stating point to explore over 1,200 acres of woodland, paths and meadows.

Situated in the heart of Fife, Lochore Meadows is a great place to visit with a wide range of leisure and recreational activities that cater for all the family. With the loch at its centre you can spend time walking, bird-watching, cycling, fishing, paddling, playing in the playpark or enjoying a picnic or barbecue with friends and family. We even have a beach!

Within the park you can also find an incredible variety of habitats such as wildflower meadows, park land and ancient woodlands. Much of the park is suitable for wheelchairs and buggies and we also provide all terrain mobility scooters for hire to help you explore.

Lochore Meadows is Fife’s biggest free visitor attraction. Come along and find out why!

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Kelty Car Park

Welcome to the Kelty Trailhead, Lochore Meadows Country Park. Just a stone’s throw from main route is the wheel chair accessible Kon Lipphardt bird hide, this overlooks the North and South Ponds, which make up part of the nature reserve. Watch out for the kingfishers’ one of the nature reserves most colourful visitors, or the elusive otters

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Benarty Bay

Welcome to Lochore Meadows, Benarty Bay; deep in the heart of Lochore Meadows Country Park, a great starting point for a walk or a cycle through Harran Hill wood or around the loch to visit the Park Centre. Keep an eye out for wild flower meadows, Roe Deer and a mass of bird life.

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Lochgelly Access

Welcome to the Lochgelly Trailhead, Lochore Meadows Country Park, once at the heart of the West Fife mining industry, but now a wonderful 1200 acre country park with something for everyone. You are walking through an area undisturbed  by the areas mining past, so retaining many archaeological sites dating back to the Bronze Age. Look across the loch to the fields behind the Mary Pit Head where the marks of rig and furrow mediaeval ploughing can still be seen. This trailhead is within easy walking of the Lochgelly Train Station. 

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East Lomond

Welcome to East Lomond one of the highest points in Fife with undisturbed views across the Firth of Forth and to the southern Highlands. The summit of East Lomond was once the site of the chief fortress of the Venicones tribe (a Celtic name meaning ‘the hunting hounds’). After the collapse of the Roman Empire in c.410AD the fort was re-organised by Pictish kings as part of the Kingdom of Fib, from which Fife takes its name.

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Leslie

Welcome to Leslie set in the foothills of the Lomond Hills. Leslie has a fascinating history, once a thriving industrial town, harnessing the power of the River Leven to develop a thriving of textile and paper industry from the 18th century until the 1960’s.  Leslie played an important part in the war effort during the Second World War, when the Royal Mint was relocated to the De La Rue factory in Leslie from 1940 to 1956. One of Leslie’s most famous residents was Noël, Countess of Rothes a heroine of the Titanic disaster.

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Craigmead

Welcome to Craigmead gateway to the Lomond Hills, with the summits of East and West Lomonds within easy walking distance. The area has a rich archaeology heritage including Bronze Age, Pictish and more modern industrial archaeology.   Alternatively take the Coalpit Den path down into Falkland Estate and explore the 19th century Victorian designed landscape with its follies, bridges, waterfalls and specimen trees.

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Chancefield

Welcome to Chancefield, a name thought to mean ‘a happy or fortunate place’.  The old sawmill was built in the 1890’s and operated till the1970s after which the building went into decline. In recent years, the estate has been looking to make better use of the forest’s resources. Today Chancefield is again home to skilled makers who are processing timber and forest products. 

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Strathmiglo

Set in the shadow of West Lomond, Strathmiglo was once home to a thriving linen and jute weaving industry. In the 1840s more than 500 weavers, many of them Flemish, lived and worked in the village, shaping the architecture we see today.

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Glen Vale

Welcome to Glen Vale the most remote and rugged part of the Lomond Hills, follow the path to West Lomond up through the dramatic Glen Burn Gorge. The area is rich in geology and folk lore with a number of strangely eroded sandstone outcrops, including the Bunnet Stane, John Knox's Pulpit and Carlin Maggie. Legend says that Carlin Maggie was a local woman who was turned to stone by the devil who threw a lightning bolt at her.

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Coul Den

Coul Den once had an industrial past tied to the Haig's Distillery in Markinch and Wemyss. Now it is a haven for wildlife and a great open space on the edge of Glenrothes to explore with all the family. Look out for the many types of birds, animals, plants and insects who make their home in this fascinating place.

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Falkland Stables

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Pillars of Hercules

Welcome to Falkland Estate Pillars Trailhead. Steeped in royal medieval history with a nineteenth century designed landscape created for society’s elite. Today Falkland Estate  welcomes everyone to explore what lies in this “hidden place” the 'likely meaning of the original name of Falecklen'.

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RSPB Scotland Loch Leven

Set on the southern shore of Loch Leven, RSPB Scotland Loch Leven nature reserve offers a great day out for families, nature lovers and wildlife watchers alike.

Formerly known as Vane Farm, the RSPB Scotland bought the reserve in 1967 as a centre for environmental education and it is still a fantastic place for children to explore and discover nature today.

In the summer, you could see ospreys on the loch, and in the winter, thousands of pink-footed geese, swans and ducks make the reserve their home.

The café serves delicious, local and ethical food all year-round, all with a fantastic view over Loch Leven itself.

RSPB Scotland Loch Leven is linked to Lochore Meadows Country Park by the new 'Sleeping Giant Path'.

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Holl Reservoir

Welcome to the Holl Reservoir Trailhead one of six reservoirs in the Lomond Hills. The reservoirs supply local towns with drinking water and support recreational fishing. An excellent starting point to explore the Lomond Hills and glimpse the animals, birds and plants wildlife that their homes in this special upland habitat.

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Falkland Village 1(Car park)

In the year 1458 Falkland was declared a Royal Burgh by King James II. This act conferred status on the village and allowed for the dispensation of justice and promotion of commerce by way of weekly markets and an annual fair. The site of the market cross can still be identified by the cobbles laid in the shape of a cross on the High Street.

A fine example of Scottish Renaissance architecture, Falkland Palace was used for hunting and recreation by the Stewart (Stuart) monarchs from the late 15th to early 17th centuries. Built originally by James IV, extended and remodelled by James V, Mary Queen of Scots loved to hunt, play Royal (Real) Tennis and fly her birds of prey here. James VI used it until 1603, when he moved to England as James I following the death of Elizabeth I of England, and the Union of the Crowns.

After its partial ruin by fire in 1654, the 3rd Marquess of Bute carefully restored the Palace for use as a grand family home in the late 19th century. These days the Palace is a popular attraction run by the National Trust for Scotland, and the Chapel Royal continues to be an active place of worship and music.

Evidence of Falkland’s rich historic past is all around you – crests, coats of arms, carvings, statues, buildings and the estate itself. Enjoy your visit to the village and the Estate of Falkland.

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Falkland Village 2 (Beside Fayre Earth)

In the year 1458 Falkland was declared a Royal Burgh by King James II. This act conferred status on the village and allowed for the dispensation of justice and promotion of commerce by way of weekly markets and an annual fair. The site of the market cross can still be identified by the cobbles laid in the shape of a cross on the High Street.

A fine example of Scottish Renaissance architecture, Falkland Palace was used for hunting and recreation by the Stewart (Stuart) monarchs from the late 15th to early 17th centuries. Built originally by James IV, extended and remodelled by James V, Mary Queen of Scots loved to hunt, play Royal (Real) Tennis and fly her birds of prey here. James VI used it until 1603, when he moved to England as James I following the death of Elizabeth I of England, and the Union of the Crowns.

After its partial ruin by fire in 1654, the 3rd Marquess of Bute carefully restored the Palace for use as a grand family home in the late 19th century. These days the Palace is a popular attraction run by the National Trust for Scotland, and the Chapel Royal continues to be an active place of worship and music.

Evidence of Falkland’s rich historic past is all around you – crests, coats of arms, carvings, statues, buildings and the estate itself. Enjoy your visit to the village and the Estate of Falkland.

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Glenrothes Bus Station

Glenrothes is the gateway to the Living Lomonds; a dramatic landscape of wild open spaces interwoven with farmland, towns and villages. The area is rich in natural and cultural history with lots of opportunity to explore and learn more whilst enjoying amazing panoramic views and a great sense of space. Whether you are interested in walking, cycling, watersports, wildlife and nature, or discovering the rich history and archaeology of the area, the Living Lomonds has something for you. 

Formonthills, Coul Den and Pitcairn on the northern edge of Glenrothes are fantastic locations to explore and offer easy access to the Lomond Hills.

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Markinch Train Station

Welcome to Markinch! Markinch takes its name from the Scots word Merkinch, from Scottish Gaelic Marc Innis, meaning "horse meadow. Once called Dalgynch, the town is believed to have been the Pictish capital of Fife. The earliest record of a settlement in the area is Balfarg stone circle, which is said to date back to 3,000BC from the Neolithic period. Until recently paper-making, textiles and whisky bottling contributed to the wealth of the town.

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Scotlandwell

Welcome to Scotlandwell, which takes its name from the Well whose health-giving waters bubble up under a canopy erected in 1858 by local laird Thomas Bruce of Arnot (1808-91).  First recorded c.1245 as Fons Scocie, ‘the well of Scotland" was situated on the main route linking Inverkeithing with Perth and was clearly of national significance in medieval times. 

Situated above the village of Scotlandwell and built from 1659 to 61, Portmoak Parish Church was built to replace the old kirk that once stood by the loch side. Within the church is the Portmoak Stone, a thousand-year-old Celtic cross-slab discovered at the site of the old parish church in 1976. This stone was, in 1993, installed and rededicated in the parish church which was enlarged to its present size in 1832. The church bell, dating from 1642, was recast in 1843. The Rev. Ebenezer Erskine (1680-1754), father of the Secession Church, was minister of the parish from 1703 to 1731 and Kinnesswood-born Michael Bruce (1746-67), ‘The Gentle Poet of Lochleven’, lies buried in the kirkyard. A service of commemoration for the poet is held on the first Sunday of July each year, and a wreath laid on his grave.

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The Avenue

The Avenue Trailhead is a great place to start exploring Lochore Meadows Country Park or the RSPB Loch Leven and the Loch Leven Heritage Trail. Follow the path down through Harran Hill, with its ancient trees or climb Benarty Hill with its stunning views across Loch Leven and beyond.

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Falkland's Lost Landscape

The landscape of Falkland Estate has been created by generations of human activity including the prehistoric (4000 to 1500 BC) and medieval periods (1000 -1500AD) as well as the more evident nineteenth century legacy, creating the environment we enjoy today. 

Pitcairn

Pitcairn has been developed as a native woodland since 2012, with local school children from Colliedean Primary School helping to plant thousand of native species of trees, including aspen, rowan, hawthorn, birch, beech and field maple. The combination of native woodland and wildlife ponds (Riparian Habitat) encourages a diverse range of wildlife including frogs, toads, sticklebacks and newts. 

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Michael Bruce Walk Naming Your Place

Created in 1997 and known as the Tetley Trail until 2008, the Michael Bruce Way connects the Kinross-shire villages of Kinnesswood and Scotlandwell via the lower slopes of the Bishop Hill, Kilmagad Wood and Portmoak Moss. It is named after Michael Bruce (1746-67), the ‘Gentle Poet of Lochleven’, whose birthplace in The Cobbles, Kinnesswood, is now a cottage museum. This self-guided walk allows you to explore the trail and find out more about the landscape, taking the names as your guide. How did the Fairy Steps and Friar Place get their names, what is Camel Drum and why is Kinnesswood sometimes known locally as Kinnaskit?

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Falkland to Strathmiglo Naming Your Place

A walk from Falkland, with its famous royal palace and gardens to Strathmiglo, on the River Eden, cuts across a wide valley that lies between the Lomond and Ochil Hills. On the way you will encounter the names of settlements that range from former burghs to farms such as Chancefield, Barrington and Easter and Wester Cash, where the ancestors of the American Country and Western singer Johnny Cash came from.

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Loch Leven Heritage Trail Naming Your Place

Completed by the Rural Access Committee of Kinross-shire (TRACKS) in 2014, the Loch Leven Heritage Trail offers walkers and cyclists the opportunity to explore the history, nature and beauty of the lands lying around the loch. This self-guided walk allows you to find out more about place-names in the landscape to the south and east of Loch Leven. The names encountered on the trail are guides also to the languages of the past, which for Kinross-shire are chiefly Gaelic and Scots with some Pictish, together spanning around 1,500 years, with the last names in Gaelic coined 800 years ago.

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Lochore Castle Archeaology

As part of the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership, Lochore or Inchgall Castle was consolidated, making the structure safe for future generations. A community archaeology dig was carried out at the castle in 2015, the excavations found pieces of medieval pottery imported from France, fine window glass, a carved stone shot-hole and evidence that the island that the castle stands on was once a made crannog.

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Chancefield Trenches Archaeology

Chancefield Trenches are large V-shaped earthworks are the remains of old road-ways that may have been used for driving deer into the hunting park of Falkland Palace. There are five trenches that overlap in places, each around 2.5m to 3m deep and up to 220m in length. Originally they stretched 45m farther east.

West Lomond Cairn Archeaology

West Lomond has many archaeology sites including a Bronze Age burial cist and prehistoric hut circles (c.700BC–500AD) at Balharvie Moss. A carved boulder with an Early Christian cross and fish motif can be found just a short walk from the main path. South of the path at Craigen Gaw are the earthworks of medieval farming enclosures.

1818 Boundary Stones Archaeology

Boundary Stones finely carved with ‘WR 1818’, were laid down as the result of an Act of Parliament for the division of the Commonty of the Lomond Hills. The stones marked out boundaries of new landholdings, roads and quarries. The letters ‘WR’ stand for Sir William Rae (1769-1842) who supervised the process.

 

Craigmead Quarry Geology

Dolerite was quarried from Craigmead Quarry during the 19th century when it was used to construct drystone dykes, houses and road setts. In the quarry floor there is a large boulder with drill holes and a fracture created by the quarrymen.

 

Clatteringwell Quarry Geology

The dolerite was quarried from Clatteringwell Quarry during the 19th century when it was used for drystone dykes, houses and road setts. On the quarry floor there is a large boulder with drill holes and a fracture created by the quarrymen.

 

Bonnet Stone Geology

The Bonnet Stone, or Bunnet Stane, is made of grey sandstone laid down as desert sand dunes in the late-Devonian age, 410-353 million years ago, when this part of the Earth lay close to the Equator. You can detect layers in the stone arranged at different angles to the horizontal, a feature known as dune-bedding. This is the result of the dunes migrating downwind with sand tipping over the edge to form a slope. The orientation of this slope changed with the direction of the wind. Shaped by erosion to look like a giant mushroom, the Bonnet Stone takes the form of an elevated table of rock perched on a thin column

 

Carlin Maggie Geology

The cliff face seen in the upper parts of the Bishop Hill and cliffs of the West Lomond is made of dolerite that was intruded as molten rock between the layers of sedimentary rocks and about 307 million years ago. The 10m high pillar known as Carlin Maggie is an isolated outcrop of thw dolerite sill. The lower part of the cliff was the site of an old quarry, but the pillar itself is believed to have been created by the natural erosion of the dolerite.

 

 

Leslie Naming Your Place Leaflet

This circular walk from the old common on the north side of the ridge-top settlement of Leslie takes you gently upwards onto the south-facing slopes of the Lomond Hills from where there are stunning views north to the summits of East and West Lomond and south across the Firth of Forth to the Lothians. Here you will encounter farms with fascinating names like Balsillie, Little and Meikle Balquhomrie, and Balgothrie. How did all these names come about? Our downloadable leaflet will be your guide, helping you explore the landscape and uncover the meaning of place names in this fascinating corner of Fife.

Clatteringwell Quarry Geology

Clatteringwell Quarry is an excellent example of a limestone quarry, which was worked from medieval times until the late 19th century. Lime kilns were used to heat limestone in order to create a substance known as quick lime. This was then utilised in the production of mortar for building in agriculture to reduce the acidity of the soil and as a flux in iron furnaces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

East Lomond Geology

The Lomond Hills, the Bishop Hill and Benarty are the result of the intrusion 307 Ma ago of a layer of molten magma between layers of sedimentary rock, to form a sill of the dark-coloured igneous rock quartz dolerite. Rock previously overlying the sill has mostly been eroded away, and the hard dolerite has protected the underlying sedimentary rock from later erosion. The sill forms the ridge between the Lomonds, the shoulder at the west end of the West Lomond, and the upper parts of the Bishop Hill and Benarty. The Lomond Hills peaks are two extinct volcanic pipes, which cut through the sill and are now filled with 297 Ma old olivine dolerite.

Stones of Falkland Geology

A self-guided walk around the picturesque village of Falkland, examining the different stones used in the construction of many of the buildings.

 

 

Coul Burn Walk

Explore the Coul Burn Walk as winds its way through Markinch, Balbirnie, Balfarg and Coul Den. Our walk leaflet highlights key points of interest along the way.

Markinch Naming Your Place Leaflet

This walk around the historic Fife settlement of Markinch explores a varied landscape that connects with place names created over a long period of time. You will encounter sites, such as the Parish Church of Markinch, the Bow Butts and the ancient legal assembly place of Dalginch, that date back to medieval times. The changing face of urban and rural settlement in the 18th and 19th centuries is reflected in the exchange of old names for new, Prickhilly becoming Northall and Glass Street replacing The Causey. How did all these names come about? Our downloadable leaflet will be your guide, helping you explore the landscape and uncover the meaning of place names in this fascinating corner of Fife.

Vane Hill Naming Your Place

This self-guided walk allows you to find out more about place-names in the landscape to the south of Loch Leven and on Benarty Hill. The names encountered on the trail are guides also to the languages of the past, which for Kinross-shire are chiefly Gaelic and Scots with some Pictish, together spanning around 1,500 years, with Gaelic being spoken extensively around Loch Leven into the 14th century.

East Lomond Hill Fort

East Lomond Hillfort was probably the chief fortress of the Venicones tribe (a Celtic name meaning ‘the hunting hounds’). It is thought to date from the Iron Age (700BC – AD 500) to the Early Medieval Pictish era (AD500 – c.900AD). The site comprised a summit enclosure, with ramparts and terraces on the N and NE sides. In 2014 an archaeology dig identified the site of Late Prehistoric settlement on the southern side the hill, with evidence of industrial activities.

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Mary Pit

The Mary Pit was opened in 1904. The huge reinforced concrete winding gear was the first to be built in Scotland in 1921. The structure is 34m high and served a pit shaft that was 600m deep, transporting both men and coal to and from the surface. The railway engine situated beside it is known as a pug, this particular engine came from the Michael Pit in Kirkcaldy.

Pug Engine

The railway engine situated beside the Mary Pit is known as a pug, this particular engine came from the Michael Pit in Kirkcaldy.

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Clune

Clune Craig or The Clune, on the south of Loch Ore, was undisturbed during Lochore’s mining past. It is made up volcanic dolerite or whinstone, a hard rock often used for making roads. The Clune is an important site because of its variety of wildlife, including rare Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary butterflies and Coralroot Orchid. The area is rich in archaeological features dating back to the Bronze Age; these include hut circles and animal enclosures.

 

Lipphardt Hide

The Kon Lipphardt Hide (wheel chair accessible) overlooks the Nature Reserve ponds is situated at the west end of The Country Park. Within the reserve are a number of different habitats including are mixed woodlands, open grassland and the margins of Loch Ore itself. Places where two habitats meet are often rich in wildlife. The Nature Reserve is a great place to spot one of the park's most elusive residents the otter.

Benarty Hill

Seen from the north, the long ridge of Benarty Hill looks like a sleeping giant – so be careful not to disturb him as you explore the lovely woodland on its southern slopes. It’s a steep, rough climb up through the trees to the heathery ridge, but well worth it for the panoramic views over Fife, Loch Leven, the Lomond Hills and the Firth of Forth.

Markinch Parish Church

The church was established as a preaching station in the sixth century by St. Drostan, a Culdee monk, (an early Celtic missionary). The Norman tower dates from around 1180. It is a category ‘A’ listed building and is one of five similar towers close to Markinch. The tower is 16 feet square and 80 feet tall. The current church building dates from 1786. A spire was added to the tower during the period 1807-1810 at which time the church was extended. A clock was installed in 1839 and then was renewed in 1929.

The Memorial Chapel

On 4 February 1910 Ninian Patrick Crichton Stuart, known to his family as Ringan, died at the House of Falkland just a few weeks short of his third birthday. He was the eldest son of Lord and Lady Ninian Crichton Stuart who owned Falkland Estate. A few days later, after a Roman Catholic service in the Chapel Royal at Falkland Palace, he was buried on this site, snow was falling and the ground and trees were white. Two years later his parents commissioned Reginald Fairlie, a friend, fellow Catholic and architect whose family home was nearby Myres Castle, Auchtermuchty, to design a chapel to commemorate their young son and which might also serve as the Roman Catholic parish church for the village of Falkland.

Stob Cross

The Stob Cross is a plain stone slab in the form of a cross, greatly weathered, sited next to the East Lodge of Balbirnie House. It is the oldest monument in Markinch, although it is difficult to date to a specific Pictish Period. It resembles elaborately carved Pictish slab crosses such as the Aberlermo Cross in Perthshire.

No traces of Pictish ornamentation can be seen - it has even been suggested that it may have been deliberately effaced during the reformation.

Markinch Hill

The north face of Markinch Hill is cut into five or six clearly defined steps or terraces, their origins now lost in the mists of time. Whether they were built for practical purposes, ceremonial processions, quarry activity or defence, an enormous amount of labour was required. Excavations have uncovered some medieval pottery, but nothing that can provide a clue to the original use of the site.

Balfarg Henge

Balfarg Henge and Balbirnie Stone circle now sit in the midst of a housing estate separated by the A92. The site must have been an important ceremonial site during the Neolithic period.

Built between two waterways by the ‘Markinch Gap’, collectively these sites are the biggest concentration of prehistoric ceremonial monuments in Fife and suggest a landscape revered as sacred over generations. Elsewhere modern ploughing has removed similar sites, such as at Ravenshall  near Dunshalt and Navitie Hill  by Ballingry where cropmarks have revealed henges and timber structures during aerial surveys. These ritualised places were clearly invested with profound religious meanings. They reflect evolving perceptions of the natural world and the transformation of people’s relationship with landscape, religious beliefs and social hierarchies.

The Henge, which was thoroughly excavated from 1977 - 1978 during road widening, dates from around 3200BC, and was built in two phases.

In the first phase the ditch and the bank were constructed, these have long since weathered away. Wooden posts were erected in 6 concentric rings within the henge, some of which were around 4 metres tall.

In the second phase beginning around 2800BC, the wooden posts were replaced by stone megaliths, in two concentric rings. The site then became a place of burial for later generations, a large slab in the centre covered the burial of a young man along with some personal effects.  

Coul Den

Coul Den once had an industrial past tied to the Haig's Distillery in Markinch and Wemyss. Now it is a haven for wildlife and a great open space on the edge of Glenrothes to explore with all the family. Look out for the many types of birds, animals, plants and insects who make their home in this fascinating place.

Portmoak Moss

Between Scotlandwell and the eastern shoreline of Loch Leven lies the 107-acre Portmoak Moss, one of the few surviving raised bogs in central Scotland.  Here, since the last Ice Age, an area of deep, wet peat has developed in a poorly drained hollow.  Once used by local people as a source of peat for the fire, ‘The Moss’ has been managed as a community woodland in partnership with the Woodland Trust since 1996.  Trails provide an opportunity to see a rich variety of wildlife including red squirrels, roe deer, greater spotted woodpeckers, long-tailed tits, damsel flies, dragon flies and butterflies.

Kilmagad Wood

Kilmagad Wood is predominately mixed broadleaf woodland interspersed with open ground. An ideal habitat for a diverse range of wildlife. Sycamore, beech, birch and oak are the main tree species, along with a scattering of mixed conifers on the higher ground. Wood sorrel and bluebell can be seen in season. There is good access to the site from the A911. The site has a good network of paths, two of which interlink with the Lomond Hills path network. The site offers superb views across Loch Leven, the Firth of Forth, and the surrounding countryside.

The site is managed by the Woodland Trust.

The Well, Wash House and the Green

Evidence of Scotlandwell’s  18th- and 19th-century development can still be seen today in former weavers houses and loomshops as well as a surviving Wash House, Bleaching Green and Garden which, with the well, formed part of a mid-19th-century village amenity scheme designed by the noted Scottish architect David Bryce (1803-76) for local landowner Thomas Bruce of Arnot.

Red Friar Friars’ Hospice

Friar Place in Scotlandwell commemorates the site of a medieval hospice for ‘…the reception of the poor and needy…’ as well as pilgrims on the way to St Andrews. First recorded in the 1170s, it was given in the 1230s to Friars of the Trinitarian Order. Here they administered the curative waters of the well, raising money to help redeem captives taken in the Crusades. King Robert the Bruce came to be cured of leprosy and held a parliament here, but today little remains of the Red Friars' Hospital except for a handful of gravestones.

Carlin Maggie

The 10-metre-high pillar known as Carlin Maggie is an isolated outcrop of this dolerite sill that forms the upper part of the Bishop Hill and the cliffs of West Lomond. The lower part of the cliff below Carlin Maggie was the site of an old quarry, but the pillar itself is believed to be a feature created by the natural erosion of the dolerite.

Local lore tells us that the witch - Carlin Maggie – was turned into stone in a contest with the Devil, never to be released until wind and weather set her free. Unfortunately, Maggie lost her head in the late 1980s when the topmost stones fell off as a result of winter wind and frost action.

John Knox Pulpit

One of several strangely eroded features on the slopes of the Lomond Hills, John Knox’s Pulpit is an outcrop of grey sandstone laid down as desert sand dunes in the late-Devonian age, 410-353 million years ago, when this part of the Earth lay close to the Equator. The rock face shows thin layers called pin stripes which are characteristic of sand deposited by wind in an arid environment.

There was once a cave at the foot of the cliff which was reduced in size by a major rock fall in 2004. John Knox’s Pulpit is still in a hazardous condition and the pathway leading directly below it has been closed for public safety.

Though the 16th-century church reformer John Knox (c.1513-72) is never known to have visited Glen Vale, the natural amphitheatre formed by this outcrop of sandstone was used as a secret meeting place by Presbyterian Covenanters who held conventicles or church services here in the late 17th century.

Bonnet Stone

The Bonnet Stone, or Bunnet Stane, is made of grey sandstone laid down as desert sand dunes in the late-Devonian age, 410-353 million years ago, when this part of the Earth lay close to the Equator. You can detect layers in the stone arranged at different angles to the horizontal, a feature known as dune-bedding. This is the result of the dunes migrating downwind with sand tipping over the edge to form a slope. The orientation of this slope changed with the direction of the wind. Shaped by erosion to look like a giant mushroom, the Bonnet Stone takes the form of an elevated table of rock perched on a thin column.

On the east side of this outcrop there is a cave known as the “Maiden’s Bower.” Local lore tells us that it was a trysting place for a young lady and her lover. The maiden eventually lived in the cave, refusing to return home after her young man was killed by her father’s henchmen. The cave appears to have been carved out by human hand and most likely was used as a bothy by local farm workers. Those who cut it out may well have taken advantage of a pre-existing natural crack or fault in the rock.

Maiden Castle

The Lomond Hills have a rich and varied history. There is evidence the remains of a number of Iron Age hill forts, around the summits of both East and West Lomond as well as at Maiden Castle, a grassy knoll that lies between the two.

Maspie Den

Maspie Den is a steep sided valley carved by the Maspie Burn as it flows down through Falkland Estate. The path which criss-crosses the Den was laid out during the 19th century as part of the designed landscape created by the Tyndall-Bruce Family.

Maspie Den provides a habitat for a diverse range of plants and animals. Look out for Dippers feeding in the burn and ferns, which flourish in the damp conditions amongst the sandstone cliffs.

 

 

 

Chancefield Trenches

A series of large V-shaped earthworks can been seen at Chancefield near Falkland. These may have been used to funnel and trap deer near Falkland’s medieval deer park. The site’s original function however was probably as part of an ancient route-way in the landscape. Up to the 18th-century the main road between Falkland and Kinross was located a short distance south of the site. There are five trenches that overlap in places, and are up to 3m deep and 220m in length. Similar track-ways are known along the boundaries and the gates at medieval hunting parks in England.

An excavation in 2016 revealed the trenches are cut through sandstone bedrock and flanked by man-made earth banks. Flint tools and other worked stones were also found during the excavation indicating prehistoric occupation in the vicinity during the Neolithic to Early Bronze Age.

West Lomond Summit

West Lomond is the highest point in the county of Fife, Scotland and the highest peak in the Lomond Hills. Its volcanic dolerite cone rises above an escarpment of carboniferous sandstone and limestone layers. The conspicuous peaks of West Lomond, and its neighbour East Lomond, are visible for many miles around, which explains their name, the 'Lomond' or 'Beacon' hills.

The summit of West Lomond is occupied by a large prehistoric burial cairn. Probably constructed during the Neolithic (4000BC-2100BC) and Bronze Age periods (2100BC–700BC), the monument marks an ancestral place of burial. Several poorly recorded antiquarian excavations at the cairn have uncovered bones and a fragment of prehistoric cremation urn.

Falkland Palace

Experience a day in the life of the Stuart monarchs at Falkland Palace, their country residence for 200 years – and a favourite place of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Set in the heart of Falkland conservation village, and surrounded by extensive gardens, this partly restored Renaissance palace is the perfect place to while away an afternoon.

Part of the Palace is in ruins but the original and reconstructed rooms are packed with 17th-century Flemish tapestries, elaborate painted ceilings and antique furnishings.

The beautiful, tranquil grounds are worth a visit alone. They are home to the oldest Real or Royal tennis court in Britain, built for King James V. The grounds also include ruins of the 12th century Castle of Falkland, extensive gardens designed by Percy Cane and an ancient Orchard with a wild flower meadow.

To find out more about Falkland Palace, visit the Palace's website.

 

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East Lomond Hill Fort

East Lomond Hillfort was probably the chief fortress of the Venicones tribe (a Celtic name meaning ‘the hunting hounds’). It is thought to date from the Iron Age (700BC – AD 500) to the Early Medieval Pictish era (AD500 – c.900AD). The site comprised a summit enclosure, with ramparts and terraces on the N and NE sides. In 2014 an archaeology dig identified the site of Late Prehistoric settlement on the southern side the hill, with evidence of industrial activities.

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Bishop Hill

The Bishop Hill is 1,500ft (460 m) high. On a clear day the vista from Bishop Hill extends to the Ochil Hills, Fife and further south across the Firth of Forth to Edinburgh & The Lothians. Despite its proximity to population, the upland area retains a sense of wilderness, with open moorland, quiet woodlands and prominent peaks from which walkers might catch a glimpse of distant industry, but still revel in the great outdoors.

Balharvie Moss Hut Circles

The Lomond hill rich in archaeology, with  evidence that our ancestors lived and worked in the hills over 3000 years ago is everywhere. Look out for the remains of Iron Age hut circles at Balharvie Moss on route to West Lomond  c.700 BC – 500 AD.– they now look like slightly raised circles of Heather on both sides of the path.  There are also the remains of a Burial Cist (stone slab coffin) right beside the path.

Yad Waterfall

Follow the path up through Maspie Den, crossing bridges over the Maspie Burn through mature woodlands alive with wildlife, until you reach the Yad Waterfall, the recess behind the waterfall allows a view through the torrent. Always best after rain, as it the waterfall tumbles down through Maspie Den.

The paths were laid down as part of the Victorian designed landscape created by the Tyndall-Bruce's.

 

Westfield Bridge

Westfield Bridge is part of the 'Victorian Designed Landscape' of  Falkland Estate. It took five years from 1839 to build the House of Falkland which overlooks its 'Home Park' and the Mill Burn with its man-made cascades. Other elements of the designed landscape include a tunnel leading to the wilder countryside, scenic walks through woods, stone and wooden bridges over roaring burns and the historic viewpoints of the Tyndall Bruce monument and a Temple of Decision (now ruinous).

The House of Falkland

The House of Falkland has been described as “a rare undiscovered jewel”, nestled at the foot of the East Lomond Hill.

Built between 1839 and 1844 by William Burn, one of the pre-eminent Victorian country houses. Its interiors date from the 1880s onwards when the Marquess of Bute’s craftsmen applied their arts and crafts style to many of the rooms.

The House is in the care of the Centre for Stewardship and it is currently in use as a school specialising in the education and care of boys who require additional support for learning. Access to the House for guided tours can be arranged through the Centre for Stewardship; free tours are arranged for members of the Friends of Falkland Heritage.

Please call the office to discuss on 01337 858838.

The Temple of Decision

The Temple of Decision was designed by Alexander Roos in 1849 for the owners of  Falkland Estate, Margaret and Onesiphorus Tyndall Bruce. Derived from the Temple of Theseus in Athens, it had a single room with a portico and Roman pediment.  The location of the building within the designed landscape was chosen with care.

Over the years the Temple has fallen into disrepair, but as part of the Living Lomonds Landscape Programme it was made safe in 2016.

Tyndall Bruce Monument

The Tyndall Bruce Monument stands alone on the Blackhill, West Lomond, with panoramic views over the Howe of Fife and beyond. It was built in 1855 by Margaret Tyndall Bruce to honour her late husband, Onesiphorus Tyndall Bruce. The Tyndall Bruces were owners of Falkland Estate at that time and benefactors to the Parish of Falkland.

Pillars of Hercules

The name Pillars of Hercules (originally Herculaneum) appears to have been given to the house by the wonderfully named, Onesiphorus Tyndall-Bruce, a 19th century laird with an interest in classical history.

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Glen Vale

Glenvale is the most remote and rugged part of the Lomond Hills.  The area is rich in geology and folk lore with a number of strangely eroded sandstone outcrops, including the Bunnet Stane, John Knox's Pulpit and Carlin Maggie. Watch out for Red Grouse, Ravens and Green Tiger Beetles, which make this area their home.

The Bull Stone

Towards the eastern end of Leslie there is the open expanse of the village green, which was once used for games and sports.  A stone still exists ‘Bull-stone’, which is believed to have been used for bull or bear baiting. It is unusual in that it is a vertical stone and it shows significant wear from where animals were tied to it.  

Robin's Mead Meadow

Falkland Centre for Stewardship

The Centre for Stewardship is located on the outskirts of the beautiful conservation village of Falkland, Fife, Scotland. As well as caring for the A listed House of Falkland with its arts and craft interiors and historic landscape, we are now developing Falkland Estate as a place where people are learning how to live and work more sustainably. Our interests span from the value of re-skilling our communities to the impact of today’s decisions on climate change for future generations..

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Lochore Castle

The ruins of Lochore Castle or Inchgall Castle at the end of the drive probably date form the end of the 14th Century. The castle stands on what on what was once an island in the loch. A recent community archaeology dig uncovered evidence the island was probably an early crannog. The castle was first occupied  at the beginning of the 12th Century by a group led by a French knight, Robert the Burgundian, this may have led to the name of the island, ‘Innis gall’, ‘Island of strangers’.