Formonthills and Coul Den

This pleasant 4 mile circular walk with 200m of ascent, uses paths in the recently planted Formonthills Community Woodland and the Coul Den nature reserve to the north of Glenrothes. A short diversion to the top of Rhind Hill is included.Most of the paths have reasonable surfaces and are relatively unmuddy compared to some areas. They could however be wet and slippy after heavy rainfall. There is a whole network of paths in the area, with many more to explore. The route described below has been planned to cover as wide an area as possible.


The walk starts from the car park at grid ref NO 258 035 next to Formonthills Farm at the end of Ben Vane Road to the north of Glenrothes. There are also car parks at the Pitcairn Centre and Coul Den nature reserve which could be used as start points.

The path from the car park starts on the opposite side of the farm road from the car park and is signed with a wooden post. The well surfaced path takes you to a junction where you turn left following the black arrow marker posts. Keep on this path until you reach the next junction where you want to keep right instead of following the arrow markers. A play area on your left will confirm you are on the right track. You will quickly reach a Y junction where you need to keep right to follow a path through more mature woodland.

The path crosses the road that leads to the car park (Ben Vane Road) and immediately after crossing over, pick up an unsurfaced path on your left leading into the trees. Follow this path round to the left, through a strip of woodland at the back of houses. Cross over Formonthills Road and pick up a path on the opposite side of the road which again takes you through a woodland strip. After 250m you will reach a wooden arrow marker post where you turn right.

Follow this path through the woods keeping straight on at a crossroad junction after a stone bridge. The path turns right to head north through the woods which border the houses. Keep straight on at a marker post and follow the path as it curves right. Approximately 200m after the marker post is an unsurfaced path on your left hand side which is not marked. The path soon joins one of the main paths where you go straight on following a red arrow marker post onto a wide grassy path.

After the next red arrow marker post you can make a diversion onto Rhind Hill. Alternatively, stay on the main path until you reach the totem pole. To go to the summit of the hill, turn left after the marker post  on to an unsurfaced path that follows the edge of a line of spruce trees. Keep to the outside of the trees as you follow the path round to the right and then across the open hillside to reach the white trig point.

From here there are views in all directions although the rising ground of the nearby Lomond Hills restricts the view northwards.After enjoying the views turn right at the trig point to head back down the hillside, on a grassy path, in a southerly direction, to a totem pole.

Turn left at the totem pole back on to the main path. You will pass some wooden mushrooms at a viewpoint which make a good lunch / coffee stop. The wide path narrows as it keeps to the outside edge of a plantation of pine trees. You will enter the woodland for a short distance at a red arrow marker post. At the next junction, marked with yet another wooden post, go straight on along a narrow path instead of following the arrow to the right. The path reaches an old wall which it crosses and then continues its journey along the edge of the woodland.

When you reach an open area with a crossroad junction turn left to follow the path downhill. Pass through a wooden gate and turn left to go down to the river. After crossing the river via a bridge turn right (left takes you to East Lomond Hill). After passing a sluice gate, the path surface improves and you are now in the Coul Den nature reserve area. At a Y junction keep left to go round the north side of the “reservoir” crossing over two bridges at a weir.

Soon after the weir you can decide whether to stay on the main surfaced path or whether to veer right on a grassy path up a hillside for a higher level walk overlooking the reserve. If you choose the latter it will bring you back to the main path at the southern end of the reservoir. Once back on the main path at an open area (just past a bench on your left if you stayed on the surfaced path), turn right alongside an old lade. Pass some picnic tables with a good view over the reservoir and follow the path as it curves left. At the obvious junction, turn left and follow the path through a gate to a car park at the end of a road.

From the car park, walk out to the public road through a vehicle gateway. Immediately turn right onto a path with a Woodland Trust sign (be careful not to turn right in the car park itself). At the next junction go right through a gate onto a grassy path. Follow the path straight onwards at a crossroad junction. After passing through a gate, turn right and then left to reach the Pitcairn Centre (a ranger base).

After entering the centre grounds turn right into the woods on a path next to the recycling bins. You will reach an obvious junction where you turn right to head back to the newly planted woods. Turn right at the next junction onto a surfaced path with black arrow marker posts. To your right is a stone circle art installation. Keep following the marker posts through the woodland until you reach a sundial. Turn right at the sundial, still following the marker posts, and follow the path round to the left and then back to the car park where you started the walk.

If you make a mistake at any of the path junctions, don’t worry too much. There are a lot of paths in a relatively small area. Try to find one of the more obvious surfaced paths and follow this until you reach an obvious location. Both the red and the black waymarked routes will bring you back to the Formonthills car park. There is a helpful sketch map of the area that can be downloaded although do note that there are a few paths which are not shown on this map! Ordnance Survey maps only show the main paths. A better option fot this walk is Open Street / Cycle Map which has good detail of the path network.

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.