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A semi-loop through the spectacular woodland of Lanfine Estate in Darvel, passing alongside it’s infamous wild boar family en route. A mixture of surfaced tracks and earth footpaths.
Car park off Randoldcoup Road, Darvel (KA17 0JU). Bus services from Kilmarnock stop on A71/East Main Street, a couple of minutes walk from the start point.
Route: From the car park turn left onto Randoldcoup Road. After crossing the River Irvine pass through the gates straight ahead to enter Lanfine Estate. Continue along this surfaced track for just under one mile, passing alongside the wild boar enclosure, until you reach a stone bridge over Newlands Burn. After crossing the bridge take the footpath on the left to head uphill and across a small stream, emerging onto a minor road further up. Turn left and after a short distance turn left again onto an earth track, this time heading downhill. The path leads you back to the bridge over Newlands Burn. Turn right and retrace your steps back to the car park.
WALK REPORT: 6th July 2017
Back to the Irvine Valley for another walking festival! This time it was the Jim Dunlop Memorial Community Walking Festival, organised by Jim’s family and the East Ayrshire Vibrant Communities team, with whom Jim devoted his spare time volunteering as a walk leader for over 10 years. Jim was a great believer in encouraging people to enjoy physical activity and exercise regardless of their age or ability. I took part in two walks over the course of the weekend and many of the people who came along had known Jim personally or were from the local area and knew of him. It was a real honour to be part of something so special. The kids and I were welcomed with badges and water bottles and before heading off the obligatory group photo was shot 🙂
I knew that this walk would be a good length for the kids and I that if the worst came to the worst Morton Park at the end would serve as a good form of bribery for them to keep moving! As my bad luck would have it neither of them was particularly in the mood for a walk that day so we lagged at the back most of the time as I tried to speed up proceedings with games such as jumping over cracks in the road and racing each other to the next puddle….. They woke up when we arrived at the promised family of wild boar, which had significantly increased in size since my last visit! The mummies and babies were all gathered in one area at the start of the enclosure whilst the daddies seemed to be having a lads day out at the other end. We spent a while watching and chatting about them. I had forgotten how big their enclosure was: around half a mile long!
The short 1 mile stretch of road we had just walked along to get to the bridge had seemed like a lot more to me as I tried to entertain a 5 and a 4 year old, so it was a relief to turn off onto different terrain for a short spell. This section was more like the woodland walks my kids enjoy with narrow winding earth paths and the opportunity to pick up sticks and pretend they are swords or guns…. :-/ There were some lovely views deep into the gully and burn beneath us.
At the bottom of the hill the path joined back up to the road at the bridge and we returned via the same route we had come along. This gave us a second opportunity to pass alongside the wild boar enclosure which the boys enjoyed, although at one part there was an awful smell which encouraged us to pick up the speed somewhat! We were last to finish the walk but everyone was waiting patiently for us at Randoldcoup Bridge and after bidding them a fond farewell it was off to the play park for us!
The Jim Dunlop Memorial Community Walking Festival takes place annually in July. Visit the East Ayrshire Council Events page for more information.