“ Pittencrieff Park or "The Glen" as it is more commonly known as by the local people extends to 76 acres of grass areas, landscaping, statues, ponds, rockeries, nature walks, dog exercise area, play areas, historic areas, and was given in trust by Andrew Carnegie to the people of his birthplace, Dunfermline. „
Pittencrieff Park, know locally as The Glen, is the jewel in Dunfermline's crown, an oasis of calm just a few moments walk from the town centre. When Andrew Carnegie was a boy he used to look longingly through the gates of the glen which was off limits to the ordinary people of the town and once he made his millions he bought the park and gifted it to the toiling masses of Dunfermline in 1902 in perpetuity so that they may see some sweetness and light.
The Glen is set over 76 acres of parkland and comprises woodland walks, statues, Pittencrieff House museum, the greenhouses and formal gardens, children's play areas, the lily pond, the Glen Pavilion and the ruins of Malcolm Canmore's Tower. There are several entrances to The Glen, the most spectacular being the Louise Carnegie gates on Bridge Street where you will be met by a statue of Andrew Carnegie. The entrance at Pittencrieff Street has a large car park with plenty of spaces for both cars and coaches.
Pittencrieff House museum is set in a seventeenth century house which was once a private dwelling. It has now been refurbished into a museum which tells the story of The Glen and Dunfermline in general. A favourite exhibition for the kids is the story of the Dunfermline Giant, an extraordinary tall man who lived in Carnegie's time and his huge suits and boots are on display. The exhibitions on the top floor regularly change and if you look at one of the windows on this floor you can see where one of the former young occupants of the house has left his mark by etching his name here.
The greenhouses are split into three different sections with a selection of tropical plants, cactuses and a wishing pool with fish swimming in it. They are an interesting and attractive place to wander around for half an hour or so. The formal gardens are just outside the greenhouses with seating areas where you can sit and enjoy the views. They were once used as a kitchen garden to Pittencrieff house but are now ablaze with colourful flowers which you can enjoy in the shadow of Dunfermline Abbey.
There are two main play areas within the park. The smaller of the two is in the south side of the park and has chutes, swings and climbing frames on a safety surface set amongst the trees. The more spectacular park was built at a cost of £1 million and opened by the Queen in 2003 and is brilliant. This play area has an section for smaller kids with swings, roundabouts and a fort to climb. The area for older kids is out of this world with rope swings, huge enclosed slides, loads of places to climb, trampolines and much more. There are also picnic tables around this area so mum and dad can sit and enjoy a flask of tea while their little ones happily play.
The Glen is a lovely place to go for a walk, either with or without a dog. If you enter the park at the southern entrance at Nethertown Broad Street and turn left you are taken on a lovely path through the woods and along the Tower Burn (stream) with the sounds of wood pigeons cooing around you. If you enter by the Abbey, you can take two paths; the first which will take you to the cave where Robert the Bruce was famously inspired by a spider to never give up. A second path takes you to the ruins of Malcolm Canmore's Tower and you can climb amongst the ruins of what was a fortress in the 11th century. There's lots of little paths for you to follow and you might come across a waterfall or the tiny house if you are lucky. It is possible to spend many hours exploring the walks in The Glen without getting bored.
If walking seems too energetic then you can just join the hordes of people who flock to the open green spaces when the weather is nice to relax. Take along a rug and a book and relax in the sun when it makes an appearance.
The Glen Pavilion is a bit of a disappointment, it is a lovely building which can be hired for weddings or conferences and I have been inside occasionally for special events but I think it is such a pity that it is not open to the public as a coffee shop or café during the summer. The only refreshments available in The Glen are from an ice cream van which sells nothing but junk food, I'm sure visitors would welcome the chance to sit down and enjoy a coffee and sandwich too.
Pittencrieff Park is home to several special events. The Louise Carnegie gates are where a monthly farmers market is held. The children's gala is staged here every year and the children of Dunfermline all march down the High Street and into the park to enjoy an afternoon of fun and games. November the 5th sees a spectacular firework display and when the Christmas lights are switched on there is a fairground and children's events in the Glen.
Pittencrieff Park is a really special place to visit, Andrew Carnegie's legacy to the people of his hometown is still popular with residents after more than 100 years. It's amazing that such an unspoiled area of green space exists only a few minutes from the town centre and is a place that both locals and visitors to Dunfermline talk about with a great deal of affection.