Walk 63 – Caprington Castle via Earlston, Kilmarnock – 4 miles

This is a really pleasant walk in Kilmarnock. It starts by crossing Caprington Golf Course on a grassy footpath to reach the village of Earlston and then follows a minor road along to pass Caprington Castle. From here you enter some woodland and visit the Walled Garden before following the River Irvine along (usually muddy) earth footpaths to the edge of Caprington housing estate. 

Caprington Castle

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

parking available icon  Large car park at Caprington Golf Clubhouse (KA1 4UW)

route image  Route: Leave the car park and turn right onto B7038/Ayr Road. Just before reaching Dewaldens Garden Centre look out for a lane on the right to reach Caprington Golf Course. Cross the golf course using the grassy footpath straight ahead and continue in this direction, passing some ruins then eventually reaching a gate onto some farmland. Cross through the gate into the field and follow the track which bends to the left before straightening up and emerging out onto a minor road at the small village of Earlston. Turn right here and continue until you reach a crossroads. There are two roads on the right, take the first one to enter Caprington Woods through a gated entrance. In front of the castle you will be at another crossroads where you turn right along a tree-lined track. After a short walk you will come to an indistinct footpath on your right heading slightly uphill towards some stone ruins. This is the Walled Garden. Follow the footpath around the outskirts of the gardens then at the other side loop back down onto the main track, turning right to continue all the way along to a bridge crossing the River Irvine. You are not going to cross the bridge on this occasion; instead look for a narrow (often very muddy) path heading off to the right alongside the river. Follow this along until you emerge out onto Maxholm Road. Continue straight – Maxholm Road becomes Fleming Street then you come to a roundabout where the street crosses through the barriers and onto a pavement beside the A71 slip road. Turn right here to follow the pavement round the roundabout and onto Campbell Street then B7038/Ayr Road. After approx 1 mile you will arrive back at Caprington Golf Club. 

Gatehouse at the castle entrance


WALK REVIEW: 1st June & 26th August 2016, updated 29th January 2017

In order to publish this route I ended up having to do it twice and almost 3 months passed between each trip. The first time I was with my mum and friend LJ and there were a couple of concerns I had with that route, namely a busy B road with no pavement which wasn’t enjoyable and us getting lost on a  minor road inside Caprington Estate which suddenly ended at a large house despite the map showing it as a through-road. The owner came out and showed us through his garden onto what looked like an overgrown field and pointed out where to cross into the woods. Neither of these sections were ideal when it came to publishing a walk other people might like to try so I wanted to return another day to find a way of avoiding them.

Do you fancy going a wee walk?” asked my husband one child-free afternoon 12 weeks later. “I would love to” was my reply and I immediately thought about my unfinished Caprington Castle walk which was within walking distance from our home. Turns out we do not go by the same definition of ‘a short walk’: my husband was thinking of a 20 minute stroll, not the 4 mile walk complete with Viewranger tracking and photography that he got! Oops…..

The start of the walk is this rather ugly lane leading off Ayr Road and onto Caprington Golf Course


The walk across the golf course is really interesting, and it isn’t long before you feel as though you are far from the town out in the open countryside. The path is wide and grassy and you pass some old ruins along the way.

When you get to this tree there is a notice on the gate which advises against crossing the field between June-Sept due to potential dangers caused by cattle protecting their young. If you don’t wish to take the risk follow the path to the right instead which goes into the woodland. If you do that then follow the track along to the end and turn left to see the Castle and Walled Garden.  From there pick up the route as above, retracing your steps from the castle to reach the river.
Crossing the style into the field, this is the path you follow. It looks fine in this picture but it can be pretty muddy in places!
Beautiful woodland walk once inside Caprington Estate
The grand 15th century Caprington Castle, a category “A” listed building which is still occupied
The walled garden is well worth exploring. Although you can’t go inside (well, technically you probably could because on my visit the gates were unlocked – do have a peek if you dare), the external features of it are really interesting, such as this gate which has become overgrown after years of lying unused.
The woodland opens up at one section. This photo looks back on the track you will walk along. The field is empty most of the time, with a fine view through the trees back to the castle.
River Irvine as seen from the bridge.
Looking back from the muddy footpath to the bridge across the river Irvine. On this visit the river was very swollen and I was amazed at the speed of the current!
A different type of woodland now, less frequented than the other paths in the Estate, most likely thanks to the mud!
Footpath leading out of the woods and onto Maxholm Road. Unfortunately a lot of litter around 😦 I have however spotted deer in the open grassland to the right of this path before, so keep your eyes peeled!

Published by gillianswalks

Just a normal girl who loves the great Scottish outdoors!

6 thoughts on “Walk 63 – Caprington Castle via Earlston, Kilmarnock – 4 miles

    1. How exciting Cate! As you will have seen from my post and photo, the gatehouse is very much still there if a tad overgrown but it will amazing for you to visit it in May. There should be lots of bluebells around the woods at that time of year too 🙂


  1. Did this walk this morning, very muddy at the start but an excellent trail. At the castle I cut up to the right and followed a snowdrop lined path that brought me to a crossroads. Right to the golf course and left to the castle. We went to the castle and rejoined the route.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi James really glad you enjoyed this one! There are so many little trails in the woods to discover, I keep finding new ones! Mud – yes. A day earlier and you’d have got it dry 🤣


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