THE DEAN GARDENS
SHORT DESCRIPTION AND HISTORY
The Dean Gardens are the largest of the four 'pleasure grounds' to border the Water of Leith and they are the second-biggest private amenity gardens in Edinburgh encompassing over seven acres. They feature a series of planted slopes and level lawn areas with many delighful viewpoints over the Dean Valley. The lay-out of pathways, lawns and the wooden pavilion are virtually unchanged from the original Victorian era plans but the tennis court has been replaced with a well equiped children's play area.
Strong planting growth including many forest trees had changed the character of the Gardens over the decades. Today, following the removal of most of the elm trees and a variety of other aging trees the Dean Gardens has become a brighter more open space again.
Unlike many of the city centre’s green spaces, membership of the Gardens is available by application, rather than by address. Currently the membership comprises about 600 households who enjoy childrens play, dog walking, a beautiful walk between the West End and Stockbridge or reading and relaxing in peaceful surroundings.
The Dean Gardens was originally founded in the late 1860s by public-spirited, nearby residents who wanted to improve the steep slope then used for sheep grazing and in places, disfigured with piles of building spoil. They also were against plans to construct a new terrace of townhouses (Cambridge Terrace) near the impressive Telford Bridge completed in 1832.
The original work took over 10 years including acquisition of additional land. In today’s money the original Dean Gardens work cost almost £1.8 million pounds. These funds were raised entirely by private subscriptions, modest bank loans and fund raising events - an impressive community feat with an enduring legacy.
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