Tentsmuir offers an expanse of golden sand facing out to the North Sea, backed by pine forest. The area consists of Nature Scot’s Tentsmuir Point, Morton Lochs and Tayport Heath reserve along with Forestry and Land Scotland’s Tentsmuir Forest. Both organisations have published visitor information on their respective websites and produce leaflets that can be downloaded in advance of a visit.
There are three main points of access to the area:
- Kinshaldy car park (parking charge applies)
- Morton Lochs car park
- Lundin Bridge, Tayport car park (also accessible via public transport) – NO 465 280
There are many many miles of forest track, informal woodland paths, sand dune paths and beach walking, just waiting to be explored. There are sites of historical and natural interest, in addition to wildlife spotting opportunities. As well as walking the area is also good for cycling and horse-riding (and of course just sitting on the beach). The route suggestions outlined below are only suggestions and there are many more options and adaptations possible. Key forest track junctions are numbered to assist with navigating around the forest. Please note that the colour coding of these routes does not reflect coloured waymarkers on the ground.
- Ice House Circuit (red) 10.3 km / 6.5 miles
- Morton Lochs Circuit (blue) 12 km / 7.5 miles
- Kinshaldy Circuit (green) 15.3 km / 9.5 miles
The routes start from Tayport and all three commence with a walk along Tayport Heath. At low tide it is possible to walk along the beach and at high tide there is a shoreline path on the edge of the trees. A gate into the Tentsmuir Point reserve is reached and there is an information board at this spot. The walker has a choice of how to round Tentsmuir Point, either close in against the trees or across the dunes to the water’s edge. Both options are equally good. This is an amazing area of shifting sands and dunes, where the dunes are actively reclaiming land from the sea. An old wind pump (now solar powered) lies to the right. This is used to flood the area to preserve the habitat for wild flowers, though the paths are dry underfoot!
Please note that whilst in this part of the reserve, Nature Scot request that dogs be kept on a lead.
Once around the headland it may be possible to spot seals basking on the sand bars. Sand is continually being deposited here and the whole area is growing as the shoreline moves further out to sea as vegetation becomes established. Continue along the beach or through the dunes / heath aiming towards a green hut on stilts. Close by, a path heads into the forest passing the new education centre (information boards and sheltered seating area) and a couple of sculptures.
It is at this point that the three suggested routes diverge.
Route 1 – Ice House Circuit
The red route shown below, turns inland at this point. There is a picnic spot at the ice house just inside the forest for a well earned stop. The route then heads northwards through the forest following the route of the Fife Coastal Path back to Tayport.
Route 2 – Morton Lochs Circuit
The Blue route shown below, also turns inland to the ice house. However, it only goes north along the Fife Coastal Path for about 600m before turning left at junction 3 into the heart of the forest. It’s approximately 4.5km from here to the Morton Lochs along forest tracks. There are convenient signposts at the main junctions. Once at the lochs it is possible to make a diversion around the Feather Walk (information board gives details) before continuing northwards alongside the lochs. From here the path goes through woodland, passes a farm and crosses a golf course to reach the road at Tayport.
Route 3 – Kinshaldy Circuit
The Green route shown below, continues along the coastline down to Kinshaldy car park (may be busy) where there are picnic benches, toilets and a snack van. From the car park the Fife Coastal Path uses forest tracks parallel to the coast to return northwards and then west to Tayport. On route the ice-house picnic area is passed.