Hill of Beath

A 5.5 mile circular walk to the summit of Hill of Beath incorporating the Dalbeath Marsh local nature reserve.Although only a modest height, Hill of Beath offers panoramic views over the surrounding low lying countryside. This walk involves 180m of ascent on some rough paths and locked gates need to be climbed over. There is a network of grassy paths around the nature reserve through newly planted woodland which can also be followed to vary the walk.

Dog owners note that sheep are likely to be encountered around the Hill of Beath so ensure that your dog is under close control or on a short lead at all times. The woodlands are also home to roe deer which your dog should not chase.

Park at the small parking area at Dalbeath Marshes off the B917 at grid ref NT152 907 on the edge of Cowdenbeath. From the parking area, go through the left hand gate onto a reasonable track. Follow this track to an information board. Turn right on to a smaller path at the information board for a pleasant walk alongside the lochan. The path rejoins the main track where you turn right for a short distance to reach a metal gate on the opposite side.Go through the gate onto another path. Before you reach the next gate across the path, look out for a metal field gate on your left. Climb over this gate and step across the small burn in front of you. Please note that when climbing gates you should aim to climb them at the hinged end as this causes least amount of damage.

Turn right to walk on a grassy path alongside the edge of the field parallel to the burn you just crossed. At the field corner don’t follow the path left but climb another gate into the next field. The path now takes you across two fields before it turns left to go up hill away from the burn. Follow the path with a fence to your right until the field opens out in front of you. Turn right keeping the fence and a line of trees to your right and follow this along the edge of the field. At the next boundary, the fence turns left and you climb further up hill. Just after the brow of the hill you reach a gate on your right hand side.

Climb over the gate and follow the left hand (straight on) track across the grassy field. This track goes directly up the hill but disappears before reaching the summit trig point.

Enjoy the views from the summit and have a well earned rest before continuing on in the same roughly west direction.When you reach a fence, the grassy path turns left to start going down hill.  Very soon it turns left again so that you start to walk in an easterly direction along the side of the hill. The remains of a grassed over old stone wall run alongside the path.

When you reach the woodlands you could turn right to follow a path downhill which provides a short cut but if you continue onwards you will be on core paths. It’s good to keep the core paths used if at all possible (use it or lose it). Don’t go back up the hill but keep an old stone structure to your left hand side as you walk along the obvious path through the trees. Climb over the next gate where there is a purple arrow core path sign.

Follow the grassy track across the open field to reach another purple arrow sign where you turn right Continuing straight on would take you to Torbeith Gardens in Hill of Beath village which provides another access point to this walk. After turning right and reaching the trees, go through a pedestrian gate on your right hand side into the woods. Follow the path through the trees in a south west direction. Another core path signpost points you to the right onto a path along the edge of a field. After nearly 0.5km this track joins a vehicle track. If you turned left onto this track it would take you to another access point at Netherbeath Road. However, we are going to turn right and walk for 1.6km to reach a bridge over the motorway. This point also provides access into the area.

Turn right onto another track before your reach the bridge and walk northwards. This next section of the walk runs parallel to the motorway but trees do provide some sound deadening. After about 700m the track turns left to cross a bridge over the motorway. There are a number of gates on your right hand side at this point. Go through the gate with the purple core path arrow sign to pick up a rough path on the otherside.

This path circles around the west side of the hill. As there are less trees, the sound from the motorway does become a bit more intrusive at this point.Once round to the north side of the hill, the path starts to move away from the motorway still circling the hill. A barb wire fence crosses the path at one point but it is easy enough to squeeze through without catching against the barbs. The path soon reaches a junction with a track/path coming down the hill at NT 138 904. Turn left onto this track which leads to a wooden gate. Before you reach the gate however, look for a suitable route off to your right across the field to reach the high metal gate which you should be able to see. If you can’t find the metal gate, walk to the wooden gate, turn right and walk alongside the fence to reach the gate.

After passing through the gate the ground is quite rough and the path might be difficult to follow. Turn right and walk alongside the fence until the path turns left to go up hill away from the fence. It should be possible to pick a route up the hill through the vegetation. You will know you are on the right route if you reach what looks like a bench made from old tyres. Go past this, still heading up hill on the line of least resistance which should coincide with the rough path. When you reach an obvious wide grassy path, turn right.

This is one of the main paths around the Dalbeath Marshes Nature Reserve. Initially it starts to go downhill before rising again to a small summit where there is a cairn on your right hand side.The path is now easy to follow along the crest of the hillside (ignore paths branching off and stay on the high ground). The path will curve right as it starts to go downhill passing a large (locked) gate on your left hand side. Continue straight on to reach the path at the bottom of the hill where you turn left. Pass through a pedestrian gate and walk past the gate that you climbed earlier in the day before crossing the burn.

From this point if you have had enough you could walk straight back to the car park but for a final detour to the top of the hillock next to the car park, turn left at the next path junction to bring you back to the other side of the high locked gate. Turn right onto a good grassy track which soon meets a surfaced track . Turn left onto this track and walk to the large grassy field on your right.

This grassy area is actually the infill of an old quarry which has been reclaimed. You can either walk up the steep grassy path on the right hand side of the quarry or walk across the grass to the north side where a rough path goes up beside the scrub to reach a fence. The path then turns right to follow alongside the top of what was once the quarry sides. Whichever way you go up you will reach the electricity pole close to the summit of the hillock.

To return to the car park, leave the summit in a north east direction turning right at a path junction close to a wooden gate (don’t go through the gate). The rough path will lead you through scrub vegetation and steeply down the hill directly to the car park.

View / download GPX route from Viewranger.

View / download GPX route from Ordnance Survey.


Additional photographs of this walk can be viewed on Facebook.

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