Alyth Auld Town

A traditional Scottish Market Town whose history stretches back 1,000 years.

Alyth is a small town, a little over half an hour’s drive northeast of Perth and northwest of Dundee. It overlooks the broad expanse of Strathmore close to Perthshire’s eastern boundary with Angus. The name is probably Pictish, containing a cognate of Gaelic meaning ‘rock, cliff’, perhaps the steep slope rising from Alyth Burn to the knoll on which the ancient kirk was built, or below the steep ridge of hills immediately to the north of the town. The name would confirm the longevity of settlement in Alyth perhaps reaching back to the sixth century or earlier.

The earliest document to name Alyth is a charter signed in AD1200 by King William the Lion. Several other Scottish kings visited Alyth, notably Robert the Bruce, and probably hunted in the royal forest here. In 1488 it was created a Burgh of Barony by King James III with the right to hold fairs and markets which enabled the town to grow.

The economy of Alyth really picked up in the 1700s with large-scale agricultural improvement and cattle droving to the south, and the development of linen production in the town. In the following century Alyth greatly expanded, particularly with the arrival of the railway in 1861. Steam-powered textile mills were established and there was a growth in retailing, while new hotels catered for holidaymakers, golfers and country sports enthusiasts.

Today, industry has largely gone, but Alyth retains many shops and businesses as part of a varied and vibrant community. It has the only museum in Perthshire outside of Perth, a flourishing community of artists and a growing tourism economy, which is building on the many natural and cultural heritage sites and places of interest in and around the town, many of which are part of this Alyth Auld Town itinerary.

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