The model village of Dunmore lies on the south-west shore of the River Forth, a little over a mile north of Airth, and a little further north of the Kincardine bridges. It must be a strong contender for the title of "prettiest village in Scotland".
Having said that, there is very little in Dunmore apart from people's homes, so anyone wanting to visit should be aware of that and respect residents' privacy.
The origins of Dunmore date back to the a settlement known as Elphinstone Pans, which had an early harbour from which locally-mined coal was transported. The name of the village is a clue that some of the coal was also used to heat salt pans on the foreshore to produce salt from the waters of the River Forth.
In 1754 the estate on which the village stood was purchased by John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore, from the Elphinstone family for £16,000. From the mid 1800s Elphinstone Pans was redeveloped under its new name, Dunmore, into a model village for estate workers employed in Dunmore Park and others, including miners and salmon fishermen. (Continues below images...)
The Illustrated Architectural Guide to Falkirk and District says Dunmore contains "cottages variously crafted in contrasting Scots and Cotswolds vernacular: former with bracketed roofs, square-cut chimneys, porches and dormers; latter with clipped eaves, chamfered chimneys, slabbed gable trim and stone transomed windows." Most visitors will pass by the fine detail and simply be struck by the strong visual attraction of the village.
Dunmore comprises a short access road leading from the A905, flanked by houses standing in their own gardens. This leads to a large open rectangular green. Just off to one side is "Lillian's Garden", a lovely little oasis within the village.
Cottages line three sides of the green, leaving most of the fourth side backed by trees beyond which is the bank of the River Forth. Part of this side is also occupied by the wooden clubhouse of the Dunmore Bowling Club, whose well manicured bowling green occupies the half of the village green closest to the river.
The centrepiece of the other half of the green is a columned and slate-roofed pavilion housing a drinking fountain which provides a focal point for the whole village. Elsewhere, the last cottage on the south side of the village was originally the smithy: its identity made clear by a front door shaped as a horseshoe.
Dunmore's river frontage looks north-east over the River Forth to the Ochils beyond. There is also a small inlet which bites into this shore of the river. Here you find a stone pier once obviously used to moor boats, while the far side of the inlet is the location of more houses, these complete with a semi-island feel.
A little south of Dunmore, standing back from the main road in its own grounds, is what you could be forgiven for thinking is the grand mansion of Dunmore Park. In fact it is the estate parsonage, whose grandeur gives some indication of the style and scale of the now ruinous main house, largely hidden by trees in an estate now best known for the marvellous Dunmore Pineapple.
Dunmore In Fiction
The House With 46 Chimneys by Ken Lussey (10 November 2020).
Life changes dramatically for Kaleb, Jude and Sequoia when they move to live with their aunt in a rural corner
of central Scotland. It’s the beginning of April 2020, the early days of the coronavirus lockdown.
This adventure novel for young adults is largely set in Dunmore.