A former mining town in W Fife, Cowdenbeath lies to the southwest of Lochgelly on the railway line from Dunfermline to Cupar. Originally a small agricultural settlement with a coaching halt on the route north to Perth, Cowdenbeath expanded rapidly with the development of the W Fife iron and coal fields between 1850 and 1914. The population grew during this period from 1000 to 25,000 but declined to its present level following the pit closures of the 1960s. The town was finally bypassed by the M90 motorway in 1970.

Cowdenbeath now supports a wide range of light industries, including engineering, textiles, food processing, construction and plant hire on its Woodend, Glenfield and Thistle industrial estates and the town is a focal point of coach bus communications.

There is a Community Leisure Centre, Community Education Centre, Vocational Training Centre and a stock car racing circuit (Cowdenbeath Racewall).

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