Two options are available for this walk; 7 mile and 9 mile. The full walk utilises the Fife Coastal Path through Culross, does a loop around Preston Island then returns via Valleyfield Woodland, the West Church and Blair Castle. Most of the walking is on reasonably well surfaced paths although the section near the West Church is unsurfaced and can be very muddy at times.
If you want to make the walk a bit shorter, you can omit the loop around the outside of Preston Island and stay on the official coastal path route which follows the railway line to reach the footbridge. This reduces the walk length to 7 miles.
Distance: 9 miles / 14.5 km
Ascent: 490 feet / 150 m
Distance: 7 miles / 11.3 km
Ascent: 440 feet / 135 m
Start / finish: Culross
Other walks in the area:
Start from the Culross West car park next to the village green, although there are also a couple of other car parks on route which could be used instead.
From the car park, pick up the coastal path alongside the Forth. This surfaced path hugs the coastline behind the village. After crossing a level crossing (take care because this line is used for freight trains from time to time), keep to the right at a path junction to go round Preston Island.
7 Mile Option
If you want the shorter option, keep left at this junction on the official Fife Coastal Path route until you reach a footbridge over the railway where you rejoin the 9 mile route.
9 Mile Option
The right hand path stays close to the shore line to circle around the reclaimed land of Preston Island now the site of ash lagoons for the Longannet Power Station (closed). There are views across the Forth. As the path goes inland you will reach an information point at the site of 19th centuary salt pans.The path then continues on to bring you back to the railway line and into woodland. Keep an eye out for a footbridge over the railway.
Cross over the railway bridge into a car park. Follow the path at the east end of the car park which is now on the opposite side of the railway. When this path joins the public road turn right for a short distance to reach the road junction. Take care when crossing the road here on to the north side.
Enter Valleyfield Woods on the path at the information board and follow the path above the river which will take you under the A985 road bridge.The path continues on the other side of the bridge now at river level. Stay on this side of the river until after you reach an obvious junction with a core path sign (purple arrow). Bear right at this junction to stay close to the river and cross over the river at a bridge. The path continue on the opposite side of the river until you reach another junction. Turn left to cross back over the river on a stone bridge. The path now goes up hill slightly and the previous core path rejoins from your left. You will now be into more open ground and can follow the path as it takes you south back to the A985 and under the road via an underpass.
After the underpass stay on the same path until you reach a path on your right hand side leading into a new housing estate. Take this path and walk through the houses to reach the B9037 road. Cross over this road and on the opposite side slightly left you will spot another path.
This next path is a pleasant though slightly uphill walk in a westerly direction with open stretches giving views over the Forth. At the end of the path you will join a quiet road. Follow the road (in the same direction as you were walking) until you reach a junction where you turn left onto another very quiet road.
After 120m turn right onto another quiet road. When this road turns sharply left, an unsurfaced track continues straight ahead. Follow this track to reach the remains of the West Church. After the church the path continues onwards but can be quite muddy after heavy rain. After passing through farmland you reach a woodland on your right hand side. Look out for the information board regarding the plague grave in these woods.1.2km after the church you leave the muddy path and reach a farm access track.
Turn left onto this track and walk back down towards the Forth passing Blair Mains Farm. When you reach Blair Castle keep left on the access drive and then keep right to walk out to the public road past West Lodge.Cross over the road and go through the gate opposite to reach the coastal path / cycle track. Follow this back into Culross to reach your start point.
View / download the 9 mile route on Viewranger
View / download the 9 mile route on Ordnance Survey.
View / download the 7 mile route from Viewranger.
View / download the 7 mile 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.