Balgownie and Devilla

Two walks linking Devilla Forest and Balgownie Woods using the new West Fife Link path constructed by West Fife Woodlands group.

Distance (short): 7.4 km / 4.6 miles

Distance: (long):  13.2 km / 8.2 miles

Ascent (short): 100 m / 330 feet

Ascent (long): 130 m / 425 feet

Start / finish: Balgownie Woods near Culross

Facilities: Parking area at Balgownie Woods or Devilla. Refreshments and toilets in Culross.

Other walks in the area:

Both Walks

Start the walk from the small parking area in Balgownie Woods at grid ref NS 982 886, located about 200m from the public road.

Leave the car park heading back towards the public road but almost immediately go left onto an unsurfaced woodland path. Follow this path through pleasant mixed woodland, turning right at a T junction. Turn right again when you reach a further junction this time with a wooden bench seat. Heading west the path now passes through more open woodland. Don’t take the first exit to the road but keep on the path which runs parallel to the road. When you join the quiet road, turn left and aim for an obvious gate on the opposite side. This is the start of the new West Fife Link path.

The new path provides easy walking on a red ash surface with views north to the Ochils and partial views south across to the Forth. Part way along the route another wooden bench seat is reached. The path finishes in Devilla Forest close to the Walled Garden after approximately 1km.

Cross over the forest road and pick up an unsurfaced path on the opposite side indicated by a sign post for “forest walks”. This 300m path, which can be muddy, meets with the network of forest tracks in Devilla Forest where you turn right. Keep right when you reach a junction and approximately 500m from where you joined the track it takes a sharp left hand bend. At this point pick up an unsurfaced track, which again can be muddy, and follow it through the forest until it rejoins the forest track.

Turn right on to this track and walk slightly uphill to a crossroad junction. Go straight on at this crossroad following a signpost for the cycle way and core path. Take care at this point as there may be vehicles from the quarry on your left. Keep on the main track and don’t head into the quarry area! 2020 Update: recent quarry activity may mean a diversion to the described route is in place. Keep to the track as it bears right alongside the quarry (which is fenced off) to reach a green barrier gate. Go round this gate and then bear left following a field edge alongside the quarry perimeter. When the path re-enters the forest it becomes a surfaced track again and heads downhill. A small parking area is passed on the right hand side which could be used as a start point for this walk. After the car park keep to your left at the junction with a farm track. Stay on this track/road keeping an eye out for occasional vehicles. Keep left when the next farm track is passed to reach the West Fife Cycle Way.

Short Route

Turn right on to the cycle path at a point where there is a convenient bench seat. Keep to the tarmac cycle path for the next 1km until you spot a cottage on your right hand side. A path leads up the banking to a pedestrian gate beside the cottage. Go through this gate onto the access road for the cottage (Bramble Brae). Use the access road to reach the public road where you turn right. If you miss the gate, don’t worry as there is further access to the road 400m further along the cycle track.

Turn right on to the public road (heading south) and follow it for 650m (from the cottage access) to the entrance to Balgownie Woods where you started the walk. If you stayed on the cycle path for the extra 400m then you should turn left onto the road and follow it south over the bridge and round the corners to Bramble Brae.

Long Route

Turn right on to the West Fife Cycle Way as above but follow it for approximately 3.7km crossing under one road and over a second road before reaching  the Comrie Dean Viaduct.

As an alternative to a long walk on the tarmac, you can leave the cycle way at Middle Grange after 1.8km (300m after passing under a road bridge). The cycle way passes over a bridge and on your left hand side there is a steep (and potentially slippy) path down a bank connecting with the track that passes under the bridge. It’s unfortunate that despite both the lower level track and the cycle track being core paths that they do not connect together particularly easily. Go down this path and turn left to walk under the bridge. Follow the track round the back of Middle Grange house where it swings round to the left. There are newly planted trees in the fields at the sides of this track so in future years this section of the walk will be through woodland. Keep on the path until it reaches a wider vehicle access track where you turn left to East Grange farm. Follow the track past the farm to reach a public road.

Turn left onto the quiet road and after about 150m pass under the bridge carrying the cycle track. Go round the corner until you reach the access path to the cycle track on your right hand side. On joining the cycle track turn left to head eastwards towards the Comrie Dean Viaduct.

After passing over the Comrie Viaduct an obvious path on your right hand side leads into the woods. Take this path and from time to time look back for glimpses of the viaduct between the trees. As this path is also a cycle track it has a reasonable surface. Follow the path round to the right (there are a few benches along this section if you need a rest) through a more open area, keeping right at two junctions. There are core path arrow posts at both junctions although the second one points to the left which will take you to Valleyfield Woods. Keep right at this junction and go  downhill for about 300m to reach the public road at the eastern end of Balgownie Woods.

Cross over the road into the parking area and go through the pedestrian gate into a wooded area with young birch trees. Very soon you will reach a signpost for “Balgownie”. Keep right here to follow the signpost although it is also possible to go left to make a slightly longer loop. Both routes will bring you to a picnic bench beside the Grange Burn.

After the picnic bench you cross the burn on a new bridge and walk on a good path across a wetland where bulrushes grow in the Summer. Beyond the wetland another bridge takes you across the Bluther Burn and into the Forestry Commission managed Balgownie Wood. Turn left on to the forest track for about 300m until you see a small path heading off into the woods on your left hand side. Follow this pleasant path firstly through birch trees, then oak and later an “avenue” of beech and what looks like garden conifers. This path takes you along the southern edge of the wood close to the boundary fence before turning right and the wooden bench you passed earlier to follow the western edge fence.

The path starts to head into the woods away from the boundary fence but look out for a path off to your left that will take you back towards the western edge of the forest and into deciduous trees. You will quickly reach the main forest track at the entrance to the woods where you started from. There are a number of tracks through these woods and you could choose a shorter route but the beech avenue along the southern edge is particularly attractive.

4.6 mile route

View / download shorter route from Viewranger.

View / download shorter route from Ordnance Survey.

8.2 mile route

View / download longer route from Viewranger.

View / download longer route from Ordnance Survey.

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