Walk 50 – Craufurdland to Fenwick via Suspension Bridge – 6 miles

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This suspension bridge can be found in the Craufurdland Estate. It is wobbly! I was a little anxious crossing it: how old is it?  Is it still safe or is it going to give way when I am halfway across? There isn’t really anything to hold onto either. It is definitely fun though and I can see myself bringing the kids here another day 🙂

This circular route is a longer version of my Craufurdland Countryside Walk. It takes you from Kilmarnock through the beautiful (and usually muddy) Estate and into Fenwick via a suspension bridge.  You will then return to Kilmarnock via a public right of way across some fields to Bringan Ford. Several stiles to cross on this route.

  Car parking available next to the Tesco store, Glasgow Rd, Kilmarnock (KA3 1UT). Rather than using the supermarket car park, use the area beside the row of shops/takeaways, close to the Glasgow Road/B7038. Closest train station is in Kilmarnock, 1.5 miles away. Local bus service from Kilmarnock town centre and buses to/from Glasgow stop on Glasgow Road, at the start of the walking route.

route image  Route: From the car park next to the Tesco supermarket, head across the grass verge and onto the pavement of Glasgow Road/B7038. Turn left (North East) and walk along the pavement for 450m until you see a single track road on your right, signposted “Borland” (street name on the map is Meikle Road). Cross the Glasgow Road onto Borland. You’ll cross the Fenwick Water then the road will start to go uphill. Near the top of the hill there is a crossroads – continue ahead (East) past the brown access information sign. The road takes you onto the A77 flyover. 140m beyond the flyover, turn left (North East), signposted “Borland Lane walking and bike trails”. This takes you into Craufurdland woods. At the end of the long, tree-lined track turn left, picking up a woodland trail running along the edge of the trees, eventually reaching a suspension bridge. Cross with care then turn right to follow a grassy footpath towards Dalmusternock Farmhouse B&B. Turn left at the B&B to emerge at B7038. Turn right and continue along the pavement towards Fenwick. Shortly after arriving in the village, turn right onto Waterslap. This minor road takes you past the vehicular entrance to Craufurdland Estate then downhill past a small cottage. Beyond the cottage there is a bridge over the Craufurdland Water and immediately after crossing a bridge look for a ‘Footpath’ sign on your right, where there is a gap in the stone wall, leading onto a narrow woodland trail. Go through the woods. The trail will emerge onto a field at a stile. Cross the stile. There is no visible path beyond this point – just stick to the perimeter of the field, keeping the fence on your right-hand side. This will lead you to another stile. Cross it and the field beyond, then repeat again once more. When you arrive into the fourth field, cut straight across it in a south west direction (rather than following the perimeter fencing), and the same on reaching the final field. You will arrive at a final stile leading onto Wardlaw Road. Cross the stile then turn right (West) to reach a ford. Cross the ford via the footbridge then continue along the road for 800m, walking beneath the A77 flyover on the way. Turn right (North) at the end of the road junction. This takes you back to the crossroads you were at earlier, at the bottom of “Borland”. Turn left (South West) and retrace your steps back to the car park.

Fenwick via Suspension Bridge

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WALK REPORT: 10th May 2016

I have been a little behind in writing up my walks since being on holiday in France and so had lost count as to where I was in my 100 walk challenge. For this reason I wasn’t actually aware at the time that this was walk #50! A huge milestone and it means I have completed more than half in the first 5 months of the year 🙂

Since doing a couple of walks in this area recently, I had been wondering if it was possible to walk out to the woodland burial grounds near Fenwick, part of Craufurdland Estate. My Gran is buried there and so far I had always driven out. Today proved that you can, however we didn’t go as far as that due to it getting dark. Another walk for another day! My mum accompanied me tonight and it was a pleasure to take her on her first trip to Craufurdland woods.

What I really enjoy about walks like this is stumbling across unexpected things which you have passed in the car very close by thousands of times but never actually seen. Like this lovely 17th century farmhouse! It sits just off the B7038 between Kilmarnock and Fenwick and I have never even noticed the sign for Dalmusternock Farmhouse B&B at the edge of the road. Perhaps I am not the most observant!  Tonight a friendly little dog came out to greet us and followed us part of the way up the drive.

Muddy path into Craufurdland Estate – if it is really bad when you go try walking beneath the trees to the right of the path. It is normally much better in there.
The footpath through Craufurdland woods en route to the suspension bridge
Grassy path after the suspension bridge, leading to the B&B
Dalmusternock Farmhouse B&B

In typical Gillian & mum style, instead of trusting the map and turning left after the farmhouse to loop onto the B road, we decided to turn right onto a farm track to see where it led. We hoped it would take us into Fenwick without having to walk along the main road, it certainly started off in the right direction. We did not expect what we would find! A dark smelly tunnel awaited us, only normally used by cattle judging by the stench. It was so dark I had to use the torch on my phone to avoid walking in the manure. It led us underneath the B7038 and the A77 then started to loop round in the opposite direction from where we wanted to go! We had the choice of going back through the tunnel or continuing further and see where we ended up…. I am sure you can guess what we chose! A footbridge eventually took us back across the A77 and onto the B road just outside the farmhouse: back where we had been half a mile ago! Never a dull moment on my walks!

Smelly, muddy tunnel

Once through Fenwick, the last section before returning to minor roads is a series of fields to cross. It is an official right of way complete with way markers, however you would be forgiven for thinking you had taken a wrong turn because there is nothing in the way of a path.  

The last time I walked this route the fields were grassy and walking was easy apart from the stiles to cross. That is therefore what I had promised my mum tonight. I had not anticipated the farmer having ploughed his fields since then! It made the walk a little more difficult because he had only left a very narrow stretch of grass at the sides for us to walk on without disturbing his crops. Additionally the grass was pretty long which meant wading through it: sore on the legs after a while.

You get a glimpse of Craufurdland Castle in the distance from here but sadly we missed it tonight as we were too busy with our heads down making our a way across the field avoiding the nettles, and pressing on to get back before dark. A shame since seeing the castle was the whole reason for mum wanting to try out this route ha! Oops, not a very good guide am I…. Another day!

A photo taken in late summer of the Footpath sign next to the cottage on Waterslap. As you can see it can be almost completely hidden by vegetation. You turn right through this gap in the wall, down some steps and on to a narrow woodland trail.
My mum loves a bluebell so it was a treat to come across a cluster of them lining the narrow woodland trail leading to the fields. This is perhaps my favourite section of the walk: high above Craufurdland Water winding it’s way along towards Bringan Ford.

Definitely a highlight of the walk was the amazing sunset. If I am honest I was starting to get slightly worried as we progressed: I knew it was still quite a way back to a place with street lights and it was becoming progressively darker with each step we took. It was 10pm by the time we arrived at the end of the walk, but all worth it! A huge plus side of walking at dusk is gorgeous photo opportunities like these….

What a sky!

Liked the sound of this one? Here are some suggestions for you in the same area: 

Craufurdland Woodland Trail

Craufurdland Countryside Walk (via Grassyards Road)

Craufurdland Countryside Walk (via Field Path)

Bringan Ford 

Dean Castle Country Park via Borland

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