Welcome to Newport! We hope you enjoy your visit, and that you are able to take advantage of our suggested walk around the village.
Most of Newport’s development has taken place over the last 200 years, although ferries had crossed the Tay here for centuries before that. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Newport consisted of about 20 cottages scattered along the shore and around the old harbour area. The population was about 100, and mostly worked as boatmen or fishermen, and some as tradesmen. Agriculture and whinstone quarrying were the only other occupations at that time.
Major expansion of the village took place in the nineteenth century, and this increase was triggered initially by the development of the modern ferry service between Newport and Dundee. We therefore suggest that you start your walk by heading down to the old ferry terminal (point 1 on map) on Boat Road. There you will find an excellent information board giving details of the ferry service.
On the way down to the ferry you will pass the Newport Inn (7), now in 2014 undergoing an exciting refurbishment programme. The hotel’s importance as a major coaching inn is explained on the board. A reminder of the old coaching days can be seen near the information board. This old milestone (1) indicates the main stops on the Great Road between Forth and Tay. When this turnpike road was built into Newport in 1808, it linked the village to Cupar and the main road network to the south.
Also on the board is information about the Seamills. These corn mills stood near the water here, in the area marked on the map (2). The large hole in the stone wall shows where the water wheel was situated. This wheel provided power to the mills and later to the smiddy which was on this site.
While the ferries were operating this area around the pier was the real heart of the village. The ornate ferry buildings were erected in 1878, and along with the buildings opposite, housed many shops such as chemist, post office, grocer, fishmonger and optician. Look for the old stamp machines on the wall of the old post office opposite.
From the ferry, head west up Boat Brae. At the top of the brae, you will turn sharp left along the High Road. Before turning, look ahead. On the other side of the road were three magnificent Victorian mansion houses, Balmore, Kinbrae and Westwood. Westwood (3) was built for Mr Harry Walker and is now St Serf’s care home. Immediately opposite is the Kinbrae housing development (3). This was built in the 1960s on the site of Kinbrae House, home of Sir John Leng. He was editor and manager of the Dundee Advertiser and from 1889 until 1906 was Liberal MP in Dundee. Hidden in the trees is Balmore (3). This was built for William Robertson, an ex-provost of Dundee, and is the only one of the three still occupied as a private house.
Turning back along toward the village you come to Seamills cottage (4). This really is the only reminder of the old name for the village. Just past Seamills cottage is the entrance to Tayfield Estate (5).
Continue along the High Road passing Trinity Church (6) on the left. It was built in 1881 and before that Newport’s first post office stood here. Turn right and climb the steps past St Mary’s Episcopal Church (8), opened in 1887.
Diagonally opposite the top of the steps is the site of Newport Public School (9). The school here was opened in 1878 after the Education Act of 1872 legislated for school boards to oversee education in every parish. The school was demolished in 1977 when the new primary school was built on the outskirts of the village. Go left along Blyth Street to see the Blyth Hall (10). It was gifted in 1877 to the inhabitants of Newport by Mrs Blyth-Martin in memory of her three brothers. The flag pole was gifted by her husband. Next door are the Parish Church (11) and previously the church manse, but now used for social purposes. As Newport grew through the nineteenth century the Parish Church out at Forgan could not cope with the demands of the increasing population, so this new Church of Scotland was built in 1871. The manse was built in 1902 after a Grand (huge!) Bazaar had been held in Dundee to raise funds.
Turn right into Cupar Road, head uphill then turn right into Scott Street, named after Newport’s first provost in 1887. On the left is the Bowling Club (12). The Club was founded in 1869, the bowling green was opened in 1877 and the club had 100 members by 1890. At the end of the road turn left and walk up Kilnburn to meet Cupar Road again. Admire Darvel Lodge (13) on the opposite corner. Built by the Morton family in 1888, it was named after Darvel in Lanarkshire where the family came from. There was previously a smiddy on this site.
Turn right and head up Cupar road passing the tennis club (14) on the left. The club was established in 1884. Also on the left is Victoria Park (15). This park has been used since the 1960s. Prior to that Windmill Park was used, but as this was situated on the hill behind Newport, construction of the road bridge access roads cut it off from the village. Up in the top corner of the park is a fenced off triangular area (16). This was the quoiting ground. This club was active in the village until the 1930s.
Cross Cupar Road and climb the steps on to the nature trail (17). This is the track of the original Newport Railway. Newport was linked to the rail system in 1878 when the first bridge opened, and a line was built from the bridge to Tayport via two stations at Newport, Newport East and Newport West. This further improvement in communications speeded up the village’s development, and it was around that time that many of its most elegant villas were built. The new railway bridge also provided a new water supply for the village as water was piped over the bridge from Dundee’s new supply to a reservoir on Wormit Hill. The bridge disaster of December 1879 caused more inconvenience by the loss of the water supply than by the loss of railway communications. Both were restored with the opening of the replacement bridge in 1887 and the railway and stations served the village until 1969.
Continue along the track, enjoying the fine views of the river and Dundee, until steps take you down to Victoria Street. Cross over and walk along either Linden Avenue or Albert Crescent until you come to Station Brae. Ahead, behind the station fence, is the easily recognisable East Newport station (18), now converted to a private house.
Walk down Station Brae until you meet Cupar Road once again. Turn right, still heading downhill. The house on the opposite side is Lovaine (19) and housed the village surgery for over 100 years. The house was built in 1870 for the village’s first doctor, Dr Stewart.
Bear right into Hillside Place. The house on the corner (20) of Cupar Road/Hillside Place was for many years a private school, at first for girls only. Keep straight along Hillside Place until you reach William Street. Beyond William Street you will see Maryton (22), a modern block of flats. Maryton was the early name for this area of East Newport. On the opposite corner the new houses stand on the site of St. Phillans Free Church (21). The church was demolished in 1979 but as you head down William Street you can still see the old church hall (23) on the right, now converted to houses. Continue down William Street and on the left you come to the Rio (24), now a community centre but opened as a cinema in the 1930s. In its heyday the programme changed three times weekly, but sadly it closed in the 1960s.
Cross over Tay Street and go through the wall onto the Braes (25). This was always a very popular leisure area with both the people of Newport and with the many visitors crossing from Dundee on the ferries. Both the bathing and boating clubs had sheds here, and regattas and galas were held regularly. Further along the Braes is the Blyth fountain (26), gifted by Mrs Blyth-Martin in 1882, and beautifully restored in 2013.
Head back along Tay Street towards the High Street. On the right is the war memorial (25), unveiled in 1922 and designed by Sir Robert Lorimer, designer of the National War Memorial in Edinburgh Castle. Looking over the wall here at low tide you may just see the stumps of the old pier (27). After the construction of the new ferry pier in the 1820s it was only used for commercial purposes until around the time of the First World War.
Immediately opposite the bottom of Cupar road was the site of the old granary (27). It was disused as a granary by 1900, was converted to housing and demolished in the 1960s. Granary Lane houses in the High Street are a reminder of this old building. Also down below the High Street was the site of the first village gasworks (27). The gasworks operated here from 1856 until they were moved in 1903 to a new site on the Tayport Road.