A circular walk around Blairadam Forest and its environs. As well as the forest, this walk also includes the open fields of the Blairadam Estate. Some of the walking is on forest track but this walk also makes use of rougher paths and mountain bike trails. If you would like a walk on forest track only, there are some waymarked routes available in the forest.
Distance: 4 miles / 6.5 km
Ascent: 490 feet / 150 m
Start / finish area: Kelty
Other walks in Blairadam:
Start from the Forestry Commission Clentry car park at grid ref NT 129 946. This is the lower car park at the forest workshops. From the picnic area beside the public road, follow the tarmac road down into the forest for 950m to reach the main car park.
Leave the car park heading north into the forest downhill. As you go down the hill you will pass a totem pole on your left then some brickwork with an inscription. This may refer to big cat sightings that have occurred in the area.
At the junction of tracks at the bottom of the hill, go through the green gate but don’t veer left onto the main forest track, instead keep straight on using a rough path through the trees. The path will take you over a couple of wooden footbridges before turning left to go uphill to join a forest road. Turn left onto this road and follow it round to the right when it reaches a house.
Continue onwards on the track which leads to Blairadam House. At the junction with a sign for a private road, keep to the right. You will now walk through an open area of fields and pass through some gates. At the next junction you need to turn to your left towards a house. Before doing so however, note the walled garden to your right. Although you can’t get access to it, you can peek through the door/gate. Walk past the house on your left and where the track comes to an end in the field, follow a wall/fence on your left to the edge of the forest where there is a stile.
Once in the forest there is a rough path which takes you to a forest track where there is a new signpost. The signpost points in all directions except the one you are going in! Turn left on to the forest track. This area of the forest as well as being made up of the usual forestry sitka conifers also has many deciduous beech trees which make for pleasant walking. The, at times, muddy surface of the forest track soon becomes a new grey gravel surface which is a lot drier.
The path curves round to the right to follow a westerly direction. As it starts to turn left you will reach another junction. Here a cluster of trees forms a roundabout in the junction. Go left here onto a rougher track which can be muddy. This track initially heads back in an easterly direction but soon curves right to head south and then west.
At grid ref NT 121 956 approx 500m after the junction, look out for a mountain bike trail that crosses the forest track (if you reach a horse step you have gone too far). At this point we are going to turn left on to the mountain bike trail. However, if you are not confident of your route finding in the woods or it is particuarly muddy you may prefer to stay on the track. If so after a further 750m you will reach a T junction where you should turn left. Another 350m in a roughly south direction brings you to a crossroad. Turn left at this point. This path starts to wind its way downhill and after about 900m you will spot a waymarked (yellow) track on your right hand side. Continue on the same way ignoring the waymarked track for about 200m where the mountain bike trail joins this track.
If following the mountain bike trail, it will lead you through the woods on a rough path with tree roots along the way and some muddy sections. Follow the bike tyre marks and footprints if you are uncertain of the route. Initially a ditch to your left, then an area of uprooted trees are useful landmarks as is an old wall that you need to cross. After the wall go straight on (don’t go left alongside the wall) to cross a more open area (marked as The Rirum on some maps). After this area, the trail joins back with one of the main forest tracks. Turn left on to the track.
A third option is to use a fire break in the trees which connects the two forest tracks. After passing the mountain bike trail the fire break is another 100m further on your left hand side.
As you walk down this track you will have open views to your left across the Blairadam Estate where you were earlier. After a crag on your left with some pine trees growing on it, you will see a well surfaced path on your right hand side with a red waymarker post. Turn right onto this path. This is the Glen Trail, one of the waymarked routes through the forest so you may find it is busier than the areas where you were earlier. This path winds its way along the Glen alongside the Kelty Burn. Look out for the remains of the 100 foot bridge which used to carry a mining railway across the Glen. At the end of the Glen the path turns left and climbs uphill. Keep left at the junctions until you reach a wide forest track on to which you need to turn left.
From here it is a straighforward walk back to the car park through a well frequented area of the forest. On your way back though when you spot a waymarker post with a red and yellow band on it on your left hand side, you can make a short detour to a view point on the route of the railway looking over the Glen from the 100 foot bridge. Just beyond this point veer right when you reach an old mining area on to the route of the railway. If you follow this path to its end it will bring you out at the totem pole close to the car park. However, if you would like a little to avoid the main path you can turn right onto a rough path in the trees at a point where a path crosses the main path. This rough path brings you to a fenced off area of unstable ground where you turn left to follow the path back to the car park.
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View / download this route from the Ordnance Survey website.
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