Walk 57 – Peden’s Cove, Failford – 2 miles

Peden’s Cove is hidden inside Ayr Gorge Woodland, a Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve. This beautiful and ancient woodland is formed around an incredible red sandstone canyon, which gives the water of the River Ayr a vibrant red appearance when the sun shines directly onto it! Peden’s Cove, a set of steps carved into the red sandstone cliffs, is reached a mile along the footpath. This is a fantastic walk for the whole family; not to be missed if you are in the Ayrshire area! 

Print  Dog-friendly walk

Peden's Cove

viewranger-logo-new-jan-2017  Download the route to your mobile phone HERE  (Viewranger app required)

parking available icon  Car parking available at Failford Inn, KA5 5TF

route image  Route:  From the car park cross the bridge and head into Ayr Gorge Woodland on your left. The footpath goes up a steep staircase and then follows the River Ayr along to a fork. Keep left and at the end of the track you will come to Peden’s Cove. Retrace your steps back to the car.  Total length 2 miles there and back.




WALK REVIEW: 21st May 2016

When I completed the Annbank to Failford section of the River Ayr Way, I vowed to bring my family back to Ayr Gorge Woodland reserve. I couldn’t believe that such a lovely place existed so close to home and I had never heard of it before! The river is lined by red sandstone cliffs forming a canyon and if you go early evening as we did when the sun is shining directly into River Ayr, the water actually appears red thanks to the sandstone beneath it.


Throughout the woods the beautiful smell of wild garlic followed us. This is the first year I have noticed that it actually flowers, lovely white blossoms lining the floor making it look like a dusting of snow.


It is a short enough walk to take small kids on. My two enjoyed throwing stones into the river from the path! Can anyone see the rainbow just where the stone hits the water??


When you reach the red sandstone steps of Peden’s Cove, take some time to read the information board which explains it’s fascinating history. What a peaceful spot!



5 thoughts on “Walk 57 – Peden’s Cove, Failford – 2 miles

  1. Excellent post and a very enjoyable walk. However, I feel it needs to come with a clear warning!

    I’d like to bring it to the attention of anyone who wants to enjoy this walk with young family that the sandstone steps at Peden’s cove are very eroded and slippery, and should not be accessed without an adult. At the top of the steps the path disappears to nothing and is extremely dangerous. Although the steps are very inviting, especially for adventurous young children, they are very dangerous.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Neil thanks for your comment! I’m glad you enjoyed the walk to Pedens Cove. You are of course absolutely correct that the steps are dangerous and in fact the information board onsite asks the public to refrain from going onto them at all (adults and children alike) in order to preserve them. However, anyone who doesn’t read the information board will miss that instruction and likely be intregued into climbing up the side of the fence and onto the sandstone steps. I have actually had conversations with the SWT about them putting up an additional sign on the fence specifically asking people not to go any further however I’m aware this hasn’t happened. Not sure if it’s in their plans…. In any case, what I really should do is add a note to this blog post about it. I assumed I had, but your comment made me take another look and I haven’t. I guess I thought people would see the instruction once there but it doesn’t hurt for me to also point out the dangers/conservation issue here. Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

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