Walk 50 – Kilmarnock & Fenwick loop – 6.5 miles

A mixture of residential areas, minor roads, woodland and farmland, this walk takes you through Craufurdland Estate and into Fenwick, returning to Kilmarnock via Bringan Ford. It is a more strenuous walk than some of the others, with several stiles to climb.

parking available icon Parking available on-street in the Southcraigs residential area

viewranger image  Click HERE to view or follow a map of the route

route image  Route: Walk along Southcraig Drive, turning right when you reach Glasgow Road. Cross over and turn left at a minor road signposted ‘Borland‘. After crossing the Fenwick Water you will come to a crossroads where you should continue straight along a road marked ‘Private’ (access for Craufurdland Castle). This takes you over A77 and into the Craufurdland Estate woodlands. Keep left at another fork, following signs for Fenwick. As you emerge from the trees, take the track to the left at a final fork and follow this narrow footpath through the woodland and across a footbridge, eventually coming out at Dalmusternock Farmhouse B&B. Turning left here you will arrive at B7038. Turn right and continue along the pavement into Fenwick. Shortly after arriving in the village, you should turn right onto Waterslap. This minor road takes you past the vehicular entrance to Craufurdland Estate then downhill past a small cottage (with noisy dogs in kennels out back). Immediately after the cottage you will cross a bridge over Craufurdland Water and on your right look out for a wooden ‘footpath’ way marker pointing along a narrow track through woodland. After a short walk you will arrive at a stile onto some farmland. Cross this and follow the perimeter of the field to the next stile. You will cross 3 stiles and go through a gate before arriving at a final stile which leads you onto Wardlaw Road. Turn right and cross the footbridge at Bringan Ford. Follow the road under A77 and turn right at the fork onto Meikle Road. You will soon recognise that you are back at the ‘private road’ sign. Return to Glasgow Road turning left after crossing over. When you come to a grassy section just before the Tesco Store, cross through the car park towards a gap in the hedge (known locally as ‘the shortcut’). Cutting across the grass you will emerge into the residential area of Wardneuk on Cumbrae Drive. Continue straight, crossing into Southcraigs along Burns Walk. Turn left onto Donmouth Crescent then right onto Southcraig Drive where you started. 

The footpath through Craufurdland woods en route to Fenwick

 

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.

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This footbridge can be found in 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 🙂

What I really enjoy about walks like this is stumbling across unexpected things which you have passed in the car very closeby 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.

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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 lead. 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!

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My mum loves a bluebell so it was a treat to come across a cluster of them lining the narrow footpath at a later stage. This is perhaps my favourite section of the walk, high above Craufurdland Water winding it’s way along towards Bringan Ford.

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!

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….

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