Balbirnie Park comprises 416 acres of attractive parkland and woodland garden. Up until 1969 the estate was owned by the Balfour Family having been in their family for 300 years, the park was then purchased by Glenrothes Development Company.
The Balfour family had lived at Balbirnie since the mid-17th century, but planned development of the landscape was not carried out until John Balfour began to rebuild the family home in 1777. Robert Robinson the landscape designer visited
Balbirnie in 1779 and prepared a plan for the park in the style of Capability Brown. (Brown's method entailed the use of flowing hillock lines and tree grouping on a grand scale to create vistas with contrasting enclosure, presenting a "natural"
landscape effect). Though John Balfour did not follow every detail of Robinson's plan he developed the estate within its broad outlines and provided the basis of a fine landscaped park which was to be improved upon in later years. The 1794
Statistical Account described the park as a "delightfully romantick" place with "a pretty extensive lawn ... planted with different kinds of trees" and "surrounding eminences ... covered with fine thriving plantations." In 1815, when major
extensions were being made to the house, new proposals for improving the park were prepared by the younger Thomas White. White's improvements resulted in a delightful landscape of which the 1845 Statistical Account was able to say,
"These heights, clothed with some of the finest trees in the country are rendered accessible on all sites by means of walks and alleys so contrived as to command at every turn varied and picturesque views of the surrounding country."
The woodland garden surrounding Balbirnie features fine groups of medium and large size rhododendrons, whilst other groups are to be found opposite the house and on the East Drive with the smaller varieties adjacent to the Craft Centre.
for more info about the Rhododendron collection go to Link