Downing Point

battery hdr.jpg

The land donated by ASP Ltd included Downing Point and the associated gun battery installations. In 2018 Historic Environment Scotland designated this as a scheduled monument of national importance because of the part it played, along with other similar sites, in the defence of the Fife coast and the Royal Naval Dockyard at Rosyth.

Adjacent to the battery and included in the designation is Bathing House wood. It was here that men of the Royal Engineers, Infantry and Forth Royal Garrison Artillery that manned the battery and searchlights had accommodation blocks and other supporting buildings.

Other local and significant military fortifications, with commanding views out to the River Forth estuary, can be seen on the top of the steep sided hill overlooking Braefoot Bay. On the other side of the hill facing Dalgety Bay there is an array of supporting buildings for stores and accommodation.

Donibristle Estate

coastline 4.jpg

Dalgety Bay is built on Donibristle Estate that belonged to the Earls of Moray for 700 years. Donibristle House stood where Donibristle Gardens is today. The house comprised a main dwelling on an upper level and two servants’ accommodation wings at a lower level. The main house was destroyed by fire in 1592, and after being rebuilt, destroyed again in 1858. Its remains stood until 1912 when it was demolished. Since then and before the construction of Donibristle Gardens the area has been used as a cricket pitch by Dalgety Bay Cricket Club. It was also the site of some of the early Dalgety Bay Galas. The two wings remained standing although the west wing was destroyed by fire in 1798, rebuilt and gutted again in 1984. Both were reconstructed into dwellings as can be seen today.

The nearby Bathing House Wood was so named in the 1800s. Early maps show a summer house within Bathing House Wood with a path along the shore of Donibristle Bay from Donibristle House to the steps up to Downing Point.

Industrial Estate

Hillend and Donibristle Industrial Estate, adjacent to the town, is situated mainly on the sites of the RAF Donibristle airfield built during the First World War and the Fleet Air Arm’s aircraft repair yard built in the Second World War and still in used up until 1959. In some places the concrete hanger floors including the door runners and parts of the runway are still visible. One of the earliest and biggest employers on the estate was Marconi-Elliott Avionic Systems where the Maritime Crew Trainer for the Nimrod Maritime Patrol aircraft was designed and developed. At its peak the estate provided employment to almost 6000 people.

Woodlands

 

 Bathing House Wood

Bathing House Wood

At the end of 2011, Alfred Stewart Properties Ltd (ASP), in memory of the wishes of the late Alfred Stewart MBE, a Dalgety Bay resident, and as part of the winding up of his Company, approached the Community Council to see if it was interested in receiving the free donation of the three woods - Hopeward Wood, Bathing House Wood and Crow Wood. These had remained in the ownership of the company after the completion of housing development.

Long story short - the ownership was transferred in 2013 and soon after, the Dalgety Bay Community Woodlands Group was formed to manage the woodlands on behalf of the Community Council. Details of the DBCWG and the work it does keeping the woodlands in good shape can be found on its website https://www.dbcwg.org that also includes a link to its Facebook page.

Most of the information here can be found in Dalgety Bay, Heritage and Hidden History, a book written by Eric Simpson and produced by the Community Council. Copies price £6 are available from the Community Council Secretary, email secretarydbhcc@gmail.com

Eric Simpson has also written a number of other books on the history of our area.