Kemback Woods

A short walk exploring the area of Kemback Woods and Blebocraigs near St Andrews. This is an area of mixed woodland and is a delight to walk through. There are many paths and trails in the woods and the suggestion below is just one possible option. The viewpoint of Clatto Hill can also be included as an option.

  • Distance: 4.8 km or 6.7km (3 miles or 4.2 miles)
  • Ascent: 200m or 225m (650 feet or 740 feet)
  • Terrain: Mostly unsurfaced and uneven woodland paths. Can be a bit muddy in places and some paths may be overgrown in late Summer.
  • Start/finish: Car park near Kemback Church. Grid ref NO 417 151.

Route Map

route map for Kemback Woods walk

From the car park head towards the church turning left through a small metal gate on to a woodland path. Keep to the right away from Kemback House, into the woods, and passing an ornamental pond. The uneven path now takes you along the edge of the woods. At the time of writing fallen trees may be encountered. However, these are all negotiable either by walking round, climbing over or crawling under. The path bears right uphill away from the forest edge. At the top of the hill turn left at the path junction for 250m. When the path splits bear left downhill heading back towards the forest edge.

The path now becomes a bit narrower along this section and may be overgrown in places during the Summer months. However, it is still useable. Stick with the path as it bears right ignoring any minor paths to the left. At the northern corner of the woods, the path makes a sharp right turn and starts to climb up the hill. On reaching the top of the hill, you can choose to include Clatto Hill (includes a bit of fence/gate climbing) or stay in the woods.

Without Clatto Hill

If missing out the Clatto Hill section, follow the path round to the right through an area of spruce planting followed by more mixed woodland. After passing an old wooden stile on the left a path junction is reached. Turn left here uphill as the path bears round to the right. After about 150m, the route from Blebocraigs rejoins this path from the left.

With Clatto Hill

To include Clatto Hill and Blebocraigs, keep left so that a field is on your right hand side. Follow the path round to the left alongside a wall. When a fence is reached, this can be crossed by climbing the wooden section in the corner (avoids barb wire). Pick up the path on the other side along the field edge beside the gorse bushes. Sheep may be encountered in the fields at this point. A metal gate (awkward to open) provides access out of the field and onto a track. Go right (south) on the track for 200m and then turn right at an obvious track junction. After 150m a double metal gate into a field on the left is reached.

At this point you still have the option to miss out Clatto Hill and take a short cut by staying on the track to reach South Flisk. However, to include the viewpoint, go through the gate into the field and then walk around the edge of the field to reach a gap in the opposite wall. Go through the gap into the next field and take the right hand animal track path option around the right hand side of the stand of trees. Follow the path to a gap in the trees and the fence on the far side of the field, after which it turns left and heads for the summit of Clatto Hill and the triangulation pillar.

Descend southeast on the grassy reservoir track passing through a gate to reach the public road. Turn right on the road heading towards Blebocraigs village. Keep straight on for the next 500m including a section of track at the road junction. Turn right up a lane opposite the first house on the left. The lane becomes more of a path as it makes its way through woods to reach the track at South Flisk.

Turn left onto this track. If you took the short cut at the double gate you just keep straight on at this point passing South Flisk on your right. 100m along the track from South Flisk is the entrance road to North Flisk. Turn right up this road for about 170m and before reaching the sheep field on the left hand side, turn left into the woods on a mountain bike trail. This soon becomes a more obvious path. Keep right on the main path when minor splits are reached until a T junction is reached. Turn left at this T junction on to the main path.

Both Routes

Pass an old quarry area to your left and keep straight on at the first cross road type junction. On reaching the second (more obvious) cross road, turn right down the hill. After about 250m a T junction is reached at an obvious path. Turn left here passing another disused quarry area to reach the southern edge of the forest. Keep left following the path with a field to the left and the grounds of a house to the right. The path joins a well maintained gravel road where you should turn left. As you pass the houses please stick to the road and keep dogs off the grass which is somebody’s well tended lawn! The public road is soon reached.

Turn right onto the road for 150m to reach the sign at the top of Jenny’s Steps. This flight of stone steps heads directly back down the hill to Kemback Church. However, the steps can be omitted by turning left on to a woodland path. After 300m turn sharp right heading in a northerly direction down the hill back to the church.