Star Moss and Markinch Hill
This pleasant walk starting from Markinch takes you to the SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) peat bog of Star Moss. Star Moss is rich in natural history and Markinch is rich in human history so there is a lot to discover on this walk. Many of the paths and tracks used on this walk are unsurfaced and could be muddy after heavy rain.
The walk can be started from Markinch as described, but Star and Balbirnie Park are alternative start points that could also be used.
- Distance: 5.8 miles / 9.3 km
- Ascent: 500 feet / 150 m
- Start / finish: Markinch
- Facilities: on street parking in Markinch, buses to Markinch and Star
The walk starts from Northall Road in the north east corner of Markinch (KY7 6JR). Go under the railway bridge at the far end of the road to join the Braes Loan Trail. It is worth taking a few moments to look at the information board at this point about the Moot Hill to your left. Beyond the houses a green arrow points the way on to a surfaced path which soon becomes an unsurfaced path as it starts to go uphill.
When you reach woodland go left through a gap in the wall and then turn immediately right onto a narrow path that goes uphill. When you start to reach the summit of Cuinin Hill go right through a wooden gate onto a path which goes downhill across open fields. If there are crops growing in these fields please keep dogs on the path and don’t let them roam across the crops. Cross over a road and follow the green arrow opposite onto another path across a field to reach another road.
Turn left on this road towards the village of Star (Star of Markinch). Take care as there is no pavement on the road but it is reasonably quiet. After 200m you reach the village where you go straight on rather than following the road round to the right. Your route initially takes you past cottages and then becomes a farm road. At the end of the road when you reach Broomfield Farm go right (straight on) on a track towards the wooded area of Star Moss.
Once in the woods keep straight on (the track goes left) following a purple arrow marker. The walk through Star Moss is very pleasant especially on a sunny day when the sunlight dapples through the tree cover. After the woods you will again be crossing open farmland on a reasonable track. At the junction follow the track round to the left until it becomes a quiet road when it reaches a house.
Stay on the road for about 900m until you reach an area of woodland where an obvious track on your left goes into the woods. Follow this track through tall pine trees turning right at a T junction next to some buildings. Exit the woods and stay on the track crossing open fields and a railway bridge. The track joins a road at a corner. Go straight on (right) walking along the road for about 160m. Take care as there is no pavement and two blind corners. At the next corner a gate on your left takes you into Balbirnie Park.
After passing through the gate keep right on an unsurfaced track in the woods. When the path splits you can take either fork as they both join up again very soon. The route now passes through the pleasant woodland of Balbirnie Park. At a Y junction, keep right, away from the golf course, going downhill to reach the Balbirnie Stone Circle.
At the stone circle, go left on to the red ash path still in the woods. At the next junction go straight on following a red arrow marker post. There are many paths in the park and woodlands which are worth exploring. However, to keep things simple we will follow the trail marked with red arrows.
When you reach the golf club, follow the red arrow left in front of the club house and through the car park to pick up another red ash path on the other side. Keep following the red arrow markers, crossing over the burn for a while and then recrossing back to your original side. After the second crossing the path goes up the slope to reach the next marker post where it goes left. Follow the path round past an open area on your left after which a red arrow marker points left. Another left turn is made at the next junction. Stay on the main path following the red arrows until you reach a cottage at a road.
Cross over the road. Go through the gate opposite and slightly left, into more woodland. An uneven path leads through these woods and gently climbs uphill. There are a couple of wooden engravings along the route of local flora and fauna. The path bears right and will bring you to Markinch Hill viewpoint. A short detour is required to reach the viewpoint before turning left onto the surfaced path which takes you back to Northall Road.
Other walks in the Markinch Area
The Markinch Heritage Group have mapped out a series of short walks utilising the many paths in the area. Check out their website for a full list of these walks.