This circular walk takes in the open parkland of Blairadam Estate and farmland to the north as well as Blairadam Forest itself. The walk has been planned to minimise the amount of time spent walking amongst dense conifers. Some of the walking is on forest track but this walk also makes use of rougher paths and mountain bike trails.
Distance: 8 miles / 13 km
Ascent: 1150 feet / 350 m
Start / finish area: Kelty
Other walks in Blairadam:
- Blairadam Estate and Forest (short)
- Blairadam Waymarked Trails
- Blairadam Forest North and Hinterland
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. Turn right, signed for Lochran, onto the forest track until you reach a waymarker post with an arrow pointing right.
At this post turn right off the track to follow an unsurfaced path through the trees close to the forest edge with a few waymarker posts along the way. The path emerges from the forest and turns slightly left to continue past some farms before reaching a crossroads at a road junction. Turn left onto the surfaced road which is a private access road to houses. The road turns left, then right, passes New Flockhouse Farm and turns left again to reach the housing development at Flockhouse. After Flockhouse the tarmac surface ends and the road makes another right turn to reach Ryebog after about 600m. The path at this point goes round the righthand side of the cottage then left of the outhouse and along the edge of the grass.
After Ryebog there is an unsurfaced path for about 150m to reach the corner of the forest. Follow the path into the forest as it turns left and then curves round to the right to enter an area of deciduous trees. After about 200m along the forest edge turn left at an obvious junction. This next section goes through an area of conifer trees before emerging into more open countryside.
At a muddy bit a gate on your left handside provide a detour to the grassy summit of Cowden Hill. This is a good lunch / coffee stop although there are no rocks to sit on. After the gate, the track surface starts to improve and turns right to pass a communications mast on your left hand side. 100m after the mast turn left onto another track which crosses an open felled area with Cowden Knowe to your left.
The track crosses the felled woodland and becomes more of a grassy path than a track. At a Y junction bear left and follow the path alongside a wall/fence (if you go right you will end up in an area of fallen trees that is difficult to cross). The path is fairly obvious as it takes you alongside the boundary wall of the forest. The path becomes less distinct when you enter an area of beech trees but keep reasonably close to the wall and you won’t go wrong as you start to go downhill.
Cross the burn when you reach the edge of the forest and start to climb back uphill on the other side. Again keep reasonably close to the boundary fence of the forest as the path can be hard to follow precisely. The walking in this area is reasonably easy even if you lose the path. Take the easiest line through the trees but make sure you don’t follow the burn as it starts to leave the edge of the forest, as this will take you too far right and you will overshoot the track. The path brings you out at the end of forest track, close to the forest edge where the deciduous trees change predominantly to coniferous trees. If in any doubt at this bit, keep the forest boundary in sight to your left until you reach a change in the trees then look to your right for the track.
Follow this track which will bring to the waymarker post with the arrow that you passed earlier and continue onwards retracing your earlier footsteps to reach the multi-way signpost. This time go straight on to follow the unsigned track. This area of the forest as well as being made up of the usual forestry spruce conifers also has many deciduous beech trees which make for pleasant walking especially in spring and Autumn. 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 particularly muddy you can use a firebreak which is approximately 100m further on. At the end of the firebreak turn left onto the main forest track to rejoin the route as described below.
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.
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 straightforward 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.
The route as described above is shown as red on the map below. The blue lines show alternative routes that avoid the rougher paths.
View / download GPX track of this route from Viewranger.
View / download GPX track of this route from Ordnance Survey.
© 2016 – 2017 Fife Walking. All rights reserved. If using this route for a group or organised walk please credit Fife Walking as your source.