Clatto Hill and Downfield
A short walk reaching the forestry clad summit of Clatto Hill (248m) and exploring farmland around Downfield, culminating in a visit to the Down Law hill fort.
The route is described as a complete circuit but could easily be split into two shorter walks by using the quiet Cults Road.
- Distance: 8.8 km / 5.5 miles
- Ascent: 200 m / 650 feet
- Terrain: forest tracks, farm tracks, field edges, muddy in some places.
- Start / finish: Cults Road, small parking area at grid ref NO 347 076
The parking area on the Cults Road at grid ref NO 347 076 makes a convenient starting point albeit less than scenically pleasing due to litter. Turn left out of the car park for 400m to reach the turning for Clatto on your left hand side. Follow this access road for 1.2km to reach Clatto Farm. At this point you need to enter the farm yard and turn right to reach a pedestrian gate in the corner. Please keep dogs on leads at this point and watch out for farm machinery.
Once through the gate you are on to a dirt track where you turn right to reach another metal pedestrian gate to join the route of the Fife Pilgrim Way.
Follow the track through the forest for about 750m to a point where the forest has been felled on your right hand side. If you wish, you can now make a detour up the rough hillside to the summit of Clatto Hill. However, it is quite rough going and there are no views from the top so unless you are bagging hills or trig points it’s probably not worth the effort. Continue on the forest track with an occasional view across to the Lomond Hills and out to the Forth. The track heads downhill to reach another gate at the Clatto Barns access road. Turn right on to this track/road and continue onwards through the forest.
Keep on this road for 1.2km ignoring an obvious turning to your left, until you reach the public road. Go right onto the road for 250m to reach a turning to your left with a public path signpost for Kettle. Turn left down this track towards the farm paying heed to the notice which requests dogs on leads. Pass around the farm (watch out for farm vehicles) to reach a dirt track across agricultural fields. The track is obvious at first but does become less distinct. Cross the open fields either on vehicle tracks (which may change from time to time) or stick to the field edge. Please avoid walking across planted fields or letting dogs roam across them.
A fence must be climbed in an overgrown corner of the field. If you are tempted to cross the fence away from the corner be aware of an electrified strand. Another field needs to be crossed (again stick to tracks or the edge) to reach an old stile at a strip of trees.
Once over the stile, a grassy path takes you alongside the trees to reach a purple core path arrow. Go right at this point, don’t follow the arrow, on another grassy path for 400m to reach a T junction. Turn right at the T junction following a purple core path arrow.
The hedgerows are soon left behind and you will again be crossing open fields with two communication masts on Down Law ahead of you. When you reach the edge of the field follow the purple arrow to the left, keeping to the path (muddy) to pass a sign for “Cults Road”. The path now becomes a track and civilisation is soon reached.
From Downfield Cottages you can follow the track for about 750m to reach the public road where you turn left to return to your start point. However, it is worth making a short diversion to the hill fort summit of Down Law. Before reaching Downfield Cottages, go right, leaving the track, into the open field. Follow the field edge east then south towards Down Law. An openable gate in the field corner allows easy access to the hillside. Proceed to the summit for panoramic views across Fife and the Forth.
Leave the hill in an easterly direction through a gateway to join the grass access track for the communications masts. Follow this out to the road and turn left back to the parking area.
Also in the area is the lovely Clatto Reservoir. It is possible to do an out and back route along the Fife Pilgrim Way from Cults Road via Clatto Farm to the reservoir. Alternatively, there is a parking area at Clatto Reservoir itself.