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Moat Brae



 Moat Brae in Dumfries, South-West Scotland was acknowledged by J.M. Barrie as the inspiration for Neverland.

Where Peter Pan began…

“… when shades of night began to fall, certain young mathematicians
shed their triangles, crept up walls and down trees,
and became pirates in a sort of Odyssey
that was long afterwards to become the play of Peter Pan.

For our escapades in a certain Dumfries Garden,
which is enchanted land to me,
were certainly the genesis of that nefarious work, Peter Pan.”

JM Barrie

A Legend is Born

“And then he flew us all away to the Neverland”
Peter Pan

From the ages of 13 -18, James Matthew Barrie played wild and adventurous pirate games with his friends in the ‘enchanted land’ surrounding the grand Georgian house at Moat Brae.

These games were long after to provide the inspiration behind ‘that nefarious work’ – Peter Pan.

The unique environment and experiences he had here in Dumfries at that time would strongly influence Barrie’s astonishingly successful writing career.


New Adventures

“but this is the Never Land come true”
Peter Pan

Inspired by this cultural legacy, heritage and history, we are creating a place of imagination – a National Centre for Children’s Literature and Storytelling and a Neverland Discovery Garden – offering new opportunities for future generations of children and young people.

Despite years of neglect and decay, the ‘enchanted land’ where young playwright, JM Barrie found his early inspiration and its garden, by the River Nith, will again welcome children to play and explore.


The Garden

“a certain Dumfries garden, which is enchanted land to me”
J.M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan

Tucked away in a secluded and enchanted corner of Dumfries overlooking the River Nith, Moat Brae is widely acknowledged as being the Birthplace of Peter Pan.

Despite years of neglect and decay, the ‘enchanted land’ where young playwright, JM Barrie found his early inspiration, still holds some of its magic and never ceases to spark the imagination.



The House

“I was more in that house than any other in Dumfries”
J.M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan

Moat Brae house is a fine example of Georgian architecture designed by Walter Newall in 1823. The house and garden were in private ownership from 1823 to 1914. It then became a nursing home which closed in 1997. Thereafter it fell into disrepair and was subsequently purchased by a local Housing Association. In August 2009, Moat Brae House was due to be demolished to make way for new social housing… a new chapter in its history was about to begin…