Cullaloe Follies

The Cullaloe Hills is the name given to the 200m upland area to the north of Aberdour. Clad in both mixed woodland and forestry plantation, with their northern slopes eaten away by quarry workings, they would be fairly non descript if it wasn’t for the two follies to be found amongst the trees. This circular walk includes both follies as well as exploring the surrounding woodland.

The full circular walk is very rough and wet underfoot on pathless terrain at one point. Boots are essential rather than trainers. However, it is possible to do a partial circuit to miss out the worst sections. An easy option to visit the follies on forest track is also described towards the bottom of the page.

Full route

Distance: 8 km / 3.7 miles

Ascent: 200 m / 650 feet

Start / finish: near Aberdour

Facilities: parking in a layby. Other facilities in Aberdour

Other walks in the area:  Old North Road and Cullaloe

 

Start from the large layby opposite Cullaloe Nature Reserve on the B9157 Kirkcaldy to Dalgety Bay road (Quarry Road) at grid reference NT 186 877. The actual start of the walk is about 50m along the road towards Kirkcaldy and it is necessary to walk along the grass verge of the road for this distance to reach the foot of a farm track.

Once on the farm track, follow it across the fields until you reach a woodland area. Go right on the track following it along the edge of the field with the woods to your left. Don’t be tempted to short cut across the field whilst there are crops growing in it and keep dogs away from the crops.

The track takes you into the woodland and soon you encounter some broken wooden gates. At this point leave the main track turning left onto a grass track through an open metal gate. As you progress along this track it starts to become a bit rougher. Cross over (or walk round) an old fence and turn right along a field edge. When you reach the corner of the field go through an openable gate to your right into another field area. Keep left and follow the edge of this field to reach another gate on your left. Although unlocked this gate can be awkward to open. If you climb it please do so at the hinged end which will cause less damage.

You are now back into woodland at the foot of a firebreak. Head up the hill towards the firebreak until you reach an obvious ditch. Don’t cross the ditch but go left onto a rough path, around a fallen tree. There’s a concrete block on the right at the foot of the fire break which also acts as a marker. Keep on the path with the fallen tree proceeding in a south west direction through some more fallen trees until you reach a fence. The path now becomes grassy and follows the right hand side of the fence turning right at a fence corner and becoming overgrown. If you lose the path, just follow the line of the fence uphill for a short distance to reach a T junction with an obvious path.

Go right on to this path which takes you gently uphill to join a forest track. At this point you should be able to see Cullaloe Temple ahead of you. However, rather than go the direct way, go left on to the grassy track for a loop around the back of the hills and views across the open countryside to the north. The track loops around the hill and brings you back to Cullaloe Temple the first of the two follies.

From the temple go left onto the main forest track heading in a north east direction to reach a Y junction. Keep left at this junction leaving the main track for a grassy track which starts to get overgrown and a bit damp. After passing an open area (some maps still show a communications mast at this location), the path becomes rougher underfoot as you approach Cullaloe Tower. Not quite as impressive as the temple, nevertheless the tower is still worth a look perched on the edge of a small cliff / outcrop now surrounded by trees.

Beyond the tower the path becomes hard going and if you are not comfortable with it then you can return to the Y junction and the main forest track to pick up the descent route from there, missing out the roughest parts of the walk.

Continue on past the tower as the path bears left and becomes overgrown and wet in places. When the path swings round to the right in a big curve, leave the path going left up a grassy bank to reach open ground out of the trees. The path becomes a bit easier to follow as you reach the top of the bank. Don’t worry if you lose the path, you just need to aim for the fence which runs across the top of the hill.

Turn right to follow the fence along the crest of the hill on a feint grassy path. From here you have views north of the industrial landscape of this area: a working quarry, wind turbines and the Mossmorran gas processing plant.  At 219m this is the highest point of the walk.

The path starts to head downhill and re-enters the forest. It then bears right away from the fence into the forest. It is easy to follow at this point and a short but steep step brings you back onto the rough wet grassy track that you were using earlier.

You are now just a stone’s throw away from the main forest track but it is going to take a bit of effort to get there. It is not too late to return in the direction you came, back to the Y junction to join the main track at that point. If you choose to do so, simply go right on the grassy track rather than going back up the hill.

Go left onto the grassy “path” which is hardly a path now despite being shown as such on the maps and having core path status. Follow the path to the edge of the forest and then round to the right above the road. Aim to go down hill in an easterly direction. You will almost certainly have lost the path by now and be walking on very rough ground. This is ankle twisting terrain if you are not wearing boots. A fairly reasonable path used to exist around here until a few years ago when the Forestry Commission felled the trees but did not reinstate the path. With some relief, join the main forest surfaced forest track!

To your left, beyond the green gate there is room to park about 2 cars at the forest entrance on the A909 (if parking here do not block the gate as this is still a working forest), which makes an alternative start point for this walk or for accessing this area.

Go right onto the forest track and enjoy the novelty of walking on a surfaced track! You now stay on this track for about 1km with forestry to your right and fields to your left beyond a thin strip of trees. Pass the Y junction where you were earlier (it might not be too obvious approaching from this direction) and keep a look out on your left for where the thin strip of trees turns to a forestry plantation.

About 20m beyond where the forest starts, look very carefully for a feint path to your left leading into the forest. At this point you should just see Cullaloe Temple appearing ahead of you. If you reach a point where you notice a white ribbon tied to a tree on your left you have gone too far. Turn on to this path heading south east downhill into the forest. If you cannot find the path, turn into the forest at approximately the half way point between the white ribbon and the start of the forest.

As you head down the hill you may find you lose the path and need to pick your own way through the trees (which is easily done without any difficulty). To your left you should be able to see the open field and to your right is a fire break – just keep between the two. It is possible to walk down the fire break but the way is barred in places due to fallen trees. If you keep to your right you will be able to join the fire break after the fallen trees at which point there is a bit of a path which makes for easier walking. Try to join the fire break before you reach a ditch at the bottom of the hill.

At the foot of the fire break you will reach the gate that you crossed earlier before you turned left passed the fallen tree. Climb the gate again and go right to reach the second gate which is easily opened. Go left down the edge of the field looking for the broken fence on your left that indicates the start of the path that will take you back to the road. Don’t forget to turn right when you join the more obvious track so that you go round the edge of the fields down to the road.

Cullaloe map.JPG

 

View / download this route from Ordnance Survey.

View / download this route from Viewranger.

Easy Option

If you want an easy walk to the follies, then start from the parking area on the A909 south of the Beverkae Roundabout and walk along the main forest track to Cullaloe Temple. Do the loop around the back of the hill at the temple then start to walk back to the parking area but keep left at the Y junction to visit Cullaloe Temple. Retrace your foosteps to the Y junction. Then return to the parking area along the forest track. This walk is just 2.5 miles with less than 100m of ascent. The majority of the walk is on surfaced forest track although the detour to Cullaloe Temple is on a somewhat damp grassy path.

Cullaloe easy map

View / download this route from Ordnance Survey.

View / download this route from Viewranger.

 

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