This circular walk is a mix of coastal and woodland walking starting from either Inverkeithing or Dalgety Bay. The description assumes a start at Ballast Bank, Inverkeithing. Some sections of this walk can be rather wet underfoot (notably the section through Fordell) and lightweight walking boots may be preferable to trainers.
Distance: 8 miles / 12.5 km
Ascent: 740 feet/ 225 m
Terrain: Very mixed. Some of the unsurfaced paths may be very muddy (especially in Fordell Woods). Hard surface walking also required.
Start / finish: Ballast Bank, Preston Crescent, Inverkeithing, KY11 1NL. Grid ref NT 134 824.
Facilities: free parking, station and buses nearby, refreshments in Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay
Start the walk using the signed coastal path from Inverkeithing to Dalgety Bay. This section of the path is surfaced and can be quite busy at times. On reaching Dalgety Bay follow the coastal path signs for the “official” route of the coastal path, or as an alternative divert around the outside of the sailing club to miss out road sections. At the east end of Dalgety Bay, St Bridgets Kirk is reached. At this point turn left up the hill heading inland. Keep on up the hill passing a farm to reach the Cornerstone Church. Don’t follow the coastal path to Aberdour when it turns right.
After the church turn left towards the edge of the town. Cross the road and walk through the new houses and the industrial estate. Turn right on to Central Way in the industrial estate to reach the A921 main road. Use a side road to the left for a short section, to reach a point opposite an entrance on the other side of the main road. With extreme caution, cross the main road (which is fast and busy) to join this track over a railway bridge. Pass South Lodge following the track to the left through fields with grazing horses. On entering Fordell Woods, ignore the first turn off on the left (the old mine railway) and keep straight on to reach a Y junction. Go left here branching off on a sometimes muddy track towards the back gate to Fordell Castle (a private house).
Before reaching the gate turn left onto a path heading south through the woods parallel to the Fordell Burn. During early Spring a detour through the gate (gap in the fence) to the outer grounds of Fordell Castle to view the snowdrops is recommended. Keep to the higher path, ignoring the lower paths that go down to the burn. The path exits the woods into fields close to Hillend Cemetery, from where a rough path crosses the field towards old pine trees. From here there is a farm track out to the main road over a railway bridge. Turn right at the main road passing Dalgety Bay station.
This next short section is alongside the busy main road and entails two road crossings. It is probably best to use the pedestrian crossing opposite the station car park followed by the one near the BP garage.
Once across the roads keep on the cycle track alongside the main road heading towards Inverkeithing. Less than 100 from the roundabout is a set of steps on the left heading up into Letham Woods. Follow the obvious zig zag path up the hill and along the ridge line through the woods. After approx. 1.5km the path exits the woods at a grassy area with good views to the Forth Railway Bridge. Keep up high (don’t follow the steps down to the coastal path), turning right and follow a path around the edge of Prestonhill Quarry keeping to the outside of the fence. The path makes its way around the quarry and downhill to a group of garages a short distance from the start point.
The route can be shortened by missing out Fordell Woods and walking along Ridge Way through Donibristle Industrial Estate (not particularly scenic). Letham Hill Woods can also be omitted by walking back to Inverkeithing using the cycle track alongside the busy A921 to Hillend Road and then walking down this road (past the school) to Ballast Bank.
Route map showing route in red. Road walks to miss out woods in green. Optional extras in blue.
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View / download this route from Ordnance Survey.