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A very pleasant loop through open farmland behind the village of Darvel, passing the birthplace of Sir Alexander Fleming. Surfaced minor roads the whole way, it is an easy walk although it is pretty hilly. The advantage of this being the beautiful views you will be rewarded with for almost the entire walk!
Buggy friendly walk – please note that there are quite a few uphill sections on the route and being on minor roads you should expect the occasional passing vehicle.
Car parking available on Hastings Square, Darvel (KA17 0DR). Local bus service to Darvel stop on A71/ Main Street where the walk begins.
Route: Exit Hastings Square and turn right onto East Main Street. At the very end of the village, take the road on your left leading uphill (singposted Irvine Valley walks). Continue past the cemetery and turn left at the crossroads. Continue past several farms and after some time you will see a notice on your right indicating the birthplace of Sir Alexander Fleming, Lochfield farm. My route continues past but there is nothing stopping you from taking a de-tour to Lochfield farm should you wish to see it up close. The main route continues to the top of the hill where it zigzags and starts to head steeply downhill to Braidley Bridge. This is a particularly picturesque section of the walk. The road starts uphill again. Turn left at the road end, past Gateside, then left again to cross Mucks Bridge. From the top of the hill the road continues at a high level to become Foulpapple Road where it starts to descend. You will see a cluster of modern-looking houses on your right: turn left here onto Burn Road and follow this steep hill down onto West Main Street. Turn left to return to Hastings Square.
WALK REPORT: 13th July 2016
It was a fine evening as I set off with the Wednesday Walkers to show them this route I knew and loved in Darvel. They are a group of ladies who venture out every Wednesday in all weathers (although they will admit that numbers tend to increase as the weather improves!) Due to other commitments later in the evening they normally stick to the Kilmarnock town and country park areas however being the school summer holidays we had a little longer hence us venturing out to Darvel.
I had walked this route a few times before with my mum, sister,brother-in-law and my baby in a pram! It must be several years since I was last here though because that baby is now turning 5….. It was every bit as beautiful this time around and it was nice to see the addition of some new signage pointing out Lochfield Farm, birthplace of Sir Alexander Fleming. We have never actually taken the road along to the farm before because we didn’t want to bother the residents. However with the addition of these signs it suggests that walkers are welcome to go along and have a closer look (you can’t actually see the farm from the main route). Something for next time! In any case having done a little research it would appear that Lochfield Farm is now rented out as self-catering accommodation, making it seem that bit more acceptable to trod along the road for a nosey.
The part of the walk I always remember is after passing the road to Lochfield farm when you reach the top of the hill and start to zigzag down to Braidley Bridge. The view down into the glen and onto the burn is just stunning, I can never quite believe all of this is hiding a few miles up behind Darvel!
The very last section was much busier with traffic than it had been on any previous visit, I was quite surprised actually. Several trucks and a few cars…. we did wonder what the trucks were doing out and about at 8pm on a Wednesday night…
We contemplated a few things during the walk which I wanted to come home and research: what is the windfarm you can see in the distance and is that the Big Tower up on the hillside on the opposite side of the village? The answers: It is actually Whitelee Windarm (check out the Weaver’s Trail from Darvel to Eaglesham – approx 16 miles!) and yes it is indeed the Big Tower, aka the Darvel Transmitter :-)