Suggested circular routes along the coastal path with inland returns using old railways and woodlands. Other variations of these routes are of course possible
- Terrain: Mostly unsurfaced paths which can be a bit muddy at times.
- Start / finish: West Wemyss Harbour, KY1 4SL. Other start points are possible.
- Facilities: Free car park, refreshments available in West Wemyss.
- Distance / Ascent: 7 mile route – Distance: 12km / 7.3 miles – Ascent: 130m / 420 feet
- Distance / Ascent: 6 mile route – Distance: 9.5km / 5.9 miles – Ascent: 110m / 350 feet
- Distance / Ascent: 5 mile route – Distance: 8km / 5 miles – Ascent: 90m / 300 feet
- Distance / Ascent: 3 mile route – Distance: 5.9km / 3.2 miles – Ascent: 80m / 290 feet
7 mile route (shown in red on route map)
The walk start from the harbour car park at the west end of West Wemyss. Follow the path along the sea front to reach the east end of the village at St Adrian’s Church. The well made path now passes in front of the church and Wemyss Castle (a private residence). The castle above you looks somewhat forbidding from this angle. The next section of the walk, along the coastal path is just over 1.5km from West Wemyss to East Wemyss with woods to your left and the sea to your right. As you start to approach East Wemyss, the path goes slightly inland and into some woods to avoid a scrap yard. After the scrap yard, at the edge of the village, the coastal path goes right to return to the sea.
The 3 and 5 mile routes branch off from the full route at this point.
Continue along the coastal path through East Wemyss passing a memorial to musician Jimmy Shand and nearby a more recent memorial to three men who lost their lives in a tragic boating accident.
Immediately after the village are the first of the Wemyss Caves. Guided tours are available from time to time if you are interested in seeing inside. The path now turns inland and goes up a flight of steps to reach the ruin of Macduff’s Castle. Another flight of steps going down the cliff from the castle takes you to yet more caves. However, the coastal path continues inland to almost meet the main road but turns to the right before doing so.
The 6 mile route branches off from the full route at this point
Continue on the coastal path route across farmland. After going up a few steps a signpost is reached. Turn left, signed for East Wemyss and Wellsgreen, along a grassy path across the field. When you reach the main road, turn left, cross over and turn first right into Alexander Street and Summer Road. Follow the green sign for Summer Road and Wellsgreen.
The road becomes a farm track and after about 500m from the main road when the track turns right the walk turns left onto a rough track. The track soon becomes a path and starts to become muddy. To avoid the mud, go up the bank to your right and use a grass path along the edge of the adjoining field. When you reach the end of the field the path will come back down the bank to rejoin the original path which is now not so muddy.
Follow the path through a broadleaf woodland with a small burn to your left. When you reach a junction with a choice of 3 paths choose the middle one staying close to the burn (the left one just goes to the burn). Soon you will emerge from the woods onto a football pitch. Walk round the pitch on the right hand side to find a path in the far corner (there are one or two paths but they all go pretty much in the same direction). You will meet a constructed path where you go right and up a few steps.
The 6 mile route rejoins the full route at this point.
This next section is along the route of an old mineral railway line on a grassy, and sometimes muddy, path at the back of houses with fields to your right. Keep going straight on passing two green signposts for Coaltown of Wemyss. About 700m after joining the path you will reach a point where a farm access road crosses the path with a sign for Coaltown of Wemyss.
The 5 mile route rejoins the full route at this point.
Continue straight on along the railway with trees to your left and fields to your right. After about 1.25km you will reach a wooden signpost. Go left crossing over the burn and immediately turn left again at a second wooden signpost for Coaltown of Wemyss. You are now walking back the way you came but on the opposite side of the burn.
The path enters some woodland and swings right. At a muddy bit the path becomes a track and starts heading towards Coaltown of Wemyss which you can see ahead of you. However, when you reach a green sign post turn right for The Red Ash Trail across unfenced fields (keep dogs to the path). When you reach a muddy bit just before the farm there is a path on your left avoiding the mud. There is a signpost at this point although it seems to be designed for people walking in the opposite direction! This next path is constructed from red ash!
At the end of the path you will reach an information board just before the main road where you turn left. Cross over the road and go up the driveway of Wemyss Castle on your right, opposite the bowling club. There is a small car park just inside the gate which could be used as alternative start point for the walk.
The 3 mile route rejoins the full route at this point.
The walk is all downhill now, along the tree lined avenue to Wemyss Castle. When you reach a split in the road at a stand of beech trees go right (there is a small wooden marker post with an arrow). At the other side of the beech trees there is another marker post pointing to a grassy path to your right away from the castle grounds. The path heads into woods and swings right becoming a wider path before turning left. Go through a doorway in the wall on your right to emerge on to a on old wynd. Turn left down the hill to reach the main street then go right to finish your walk with a wander along the main street with its picturesque buildings, tolbooth and community run heritage centre / cafe.
6 Mile Route
This is very similar to the 7 mile route described above. However, it shortens the route by missing out the Wemyss Den woodland. The magenta line on the route map shows this short cut.
Follow the 7 mile route along the coastal path as far as MacDuff’s Castle. After the castle the coastal path turns inland towards the main road. Walk out to the main road leaving the coastal path. Almost immediately opposite is the line of the old railway which is walkable. The grassy path runs at the back of some houses and will bring you to an area with lots of steps. Go up the left hand set of steps keeping a football field to your right and pick up the railway line again through the trees. Go up a few steps to rejoin the 7 mile route along the railway line.
5 Mile route
Again, this is a shortened version of the full 7 mile route and the short cut is shown in green on the above route map. This time the village of East Wemyss is omitted heading inland at the west side of the village, to meet the old railway line.
Cross a grassy area and walk up either St Mary’s Terrace or Randolph Street to reach the main road. Turn left and walk along the pavement until you reach a farm track on your right at the very edge of the village. Walk up the farm track to the point where the old railway line crosses it and turn left to re-join the full route.
3 Mile route
The 3 mile route is a shortened version of the 5 mile route and uses core paths through mixed woodland for the return rather then the old railway. This return route is shown in blue on the route map.
When you reach East Wemyss turn left off the coastal path, past a play area and up some steps to a road. Cross a grassy area and go left along Randolph Street until a path bears left over grass. Pass behind the houses and into the woodland. The path meets a track at a marker post where you should turn left. The next junction is indicated by a signpost where you should turn right for Coaltown of Wemyss. Follow this core path to the outskirts of Coaltown of Wemyss where you re-join the longer routes at a small parking area.