Carden Den woods are mixed woodlands to the south of the Cardenden area on the banks of the Den Burn. Adjoining them are the plantation forests of Tullylumb and Sunnyside. There are unsurfaced paths in the woods alongside the burn along with forest tracks in other areas. Some of the paths can be muddy at times. Of historical interest are the Carden Tower remains and a cairn to commemorate Scotland’s last duel.
Carden Den and Sunnyside suggested route
This suggested circular route has a number of options that can be used to shorten the route by omitting the Bairns Bridge and / or Sunnyside loops. The route map shows these options.
Distance: 9.5 km / 6 miles
Ascent: 170 m / 550 feet
Terrain: Mix of surfaced and unsurfaced paths / tracks which can be muddy. Short stretch of road walking.
Start / finish: Cardenden Primary School, KY5 0EW (parking available nearby at the library).
Access into the woods is possible via a farm track next to the play area. After 230m there is a path to the right into the woods and down some steps to the Den. The route goes left on the main path (though it is possible to go right to do a wee detour loop beside the river) following the river downstream. The woodland changes from mixed to spruce. After passing under a road bridge the path splits. Left is a short cut up the steps to the Duel Cairn which can be used to miss out Shawsmill / Bairns Bridge. Keeping right, at this and the next junction, the path stays close to the river until it reaches a public road.
Turn left onto the road for about 850m to reach a green barrier gate at a forestry commission entrance. Although this is not a busy road it still sees some traffic and it is advisable to walk on the right hand side of the road towards the oncoming traffic. Return into the woods at the barrier gate on a forest track. After 450m keep straight on at a crossroads to reach an open area. To the right is a cairn commemorating Scotland’s last duel and nearby are the remains of Carden Tower.
Continuing onwards the route passes a motocross track and heads across farmland. There is a bridge over the busy A92 road, soon after which a junction is reached. Keeping left heads directly back to Cardenden via Cardenbarns Farm. Right however, takes the walker to Sunnyside Plantation.
On reaching the plantation keep to the middle path into the wooland. Keep right at the next junction (left goes back to Cardenden). The path now hugs the southern edge of the forest and becomes a more defined track. At the eastern tip of the woods are some new build houses after which a track doubles back to the left. The route is now along the northern edge of the forest passing an Ordnance Survey Trig pillar. After about 1km there is an obvious tree lined track to the right. This track can be used to return to Cardenden via New Carden Plantation. At the end of the first field is a feint trodden path through the woods on the left. The path may be a bit indistinct in places but navigation is straightforward along the southern edge of the woods. On reaching an obvious path at the western edge of the woods, turn right for Cardenden Library. Alternatively, instead of following the tree lined path, stay on the west bound path for a further 250m to reach the direct path back to Cardenden.