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06 June 2019The Japanese Garden at Cowden, Dollar

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The Japanese Garden at Cowden, Dollar
Thursday 06 June 2019

Our visit begins in the town of Alloa where we will be given a conducted tour of Alloa Tower, a fine example of a late 14C fortified tower house and home of the Erskines, who were promoted to the Earldom of Mar in 1565. The Earls of Mar were great supporters of the Stewart dynasty and this is why they moved closer to Stirling, seen as the capital of Scotland at the time.

The Tower has some interesting family portraits along with a lovely collection of silver and items connecting the Tower to royalty, in particular Mary, Queen of Scots and her son James VI. The current Earl of Mar & Kellie will join us to tell us about his family history.

After lunch we will gather at the Cowden Japanese Garden near Dollar for a guided tour followed by the opportunity to take yourself on a Woodland Walk. The Gardens were created in 1907/08 by Taki Handa, the first and only Japanese woman credited with designing a garden of that nature. In the 1930s it was recognised as a particularly authentic example of a Japanese Garden, cared for by Shinzaburo Matsuo until his death in 1937. The Gardens were closed for 50 years; suffered extensive vandalism in the 1960s but in 2018 they were reopened after four years of restoration work under the guardianship of Sara Stewart - Sara is the daughter of Sir Robert Stewart of Arndean, the great nephew of Ella Christie who had the original gardens created on the Cowden Estate. Earlier this year the Gardens were visited by the Japanese Consul General, based in Edinburgh, when he planted 25 cherry trees as part of the Sakura Trees Project.

Time-table for the Day:

10.15am - Assemble at the entrance to Alloa Tower, FK10 1PL - maximum of 3 hours parking at Tesco nearby with limited parking next to the stable block close to the Tower

10.30am - Guided Tour of the Tower; NTS members remember to bring your Membership Card; non-NTS members will be charged £4 per person

12.30pm - Lunch - to make your own arrangements - once your place on the visit is confirmed I will supply suggestion for lunch if required - there are various places in Clackmannanshire.

2.15pm - Meet in the car park at the Cowden Japanese Garden, FK14 7PL

2.30pm - Guided Tour of the Gardens followed by time to take yourself round the Woodland Walks You will note that no refreshments have been booked, either at the Tower or the Japanese Gardens - this is very much a day for exploring Clackmannanshire if you are not already familiar with it - again happy to suggest venues.

People are encouraged to ‘car share’ as parking, especially at the Japanese Gardens, is limited - it may be that if you know who you are car sharing with that all booking forms for the people in a particular car are sent together. The charge is for the Guided Tour of the Japanese Gardens - it will be £9 per person.

The Booking Form can be found in Documents under the Our Society Tab