It’s that time of year when we are all looking for fun ways to fill the days. On a dry day nothing beats getting everyone outside for a bit of fresh air and exercise. But, where do you go? In my experience with a 5 and a 4 year old, they need places which engage them. As adults we are quite happy wandering along quiet farm tracks or through the local woodland, but kids – my two in any case – quickly get bored and generally don’t get far before they start asking where the park is or when they can have a snack! I have tried and tested all of the walks below so they come with my personal recommendation and a big thumbs up from my boys!
Along the cliffs at Troon South Beach
Choose either to walk along the cliff path or the Ballast Bank to Troon South Beach where there is an excellent play park, ice cream shop, toilet facilities and a long stretch of sand to play on.
2. Rozelle House & Pond, Alloway
A short and easy walk taking in some of the highlights of the Rozelle Estate, including Rozelle House and gardens, as well as the duck pond. Rozelle House has a lovely tearoom and the estate has plenty of grassy areas perfect for a picnic or a kick around with the football. To extend the walk you could visit the Remembrance Woodland at the end of the pond.
3. Loudoun Hill, near Darvel
At just 361m elevation, the volcanic plug of Loudoun Hill near Darvel, East Ayrshire is where Robert the Bruce had his first major military victory. It is reputed that in 1307 he led an army against the English in a battle which took place beneath the hill. Despite being small, it’s steep slopes certainly pack a punch and on a clear day the views from the top make it a must-do in the area. A favourite with children and adults alike! There are two route options that I know of and both are described on my blog.
4. Fullarton Fairy Trail, Troon
Fullarton Woods near Troon is home to some fairies and you are invited to come along and discover the tiny world they live in! There is also a play park, picnic benches and toilet facilities onsite. Take your wellies, it can be muddy!
5. Irvine’s Stone Dragon
A great short walk to visit the stone dragon at Irvine Beach. It can be found perched high on the sand dunes overlooking the sea, and is said to be guarding the coastline from future Viking invasions 🙂 The view from the top of the hill is one of my favourites in Ayrshire! Take a picnic if the weather permits and extend your walk by looping around the pond at Irvine Beach Park.
6. Lady Hunter Blair’s Walk, Straiton
One of those hidden gems Ayrshire has to offer! This is an easy walk starting in the village of Straiton and taking you into a wooded glen to visit some surprisingly spectacular waterfalls. The ground surface is a mixture of tarmac roads and earth footpaths.
7. Nature Trail/Wood Spirit Hunt, Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park
Quirky and fun! This trail starts along The Greenock Cut before heading off into some lovely woodland on a hunt for the 18 wood carvings hidden inside. A mixture of earth footpaths and boardwalk with some easy uphill and downhill sections. Look out for the impressive waterfall near the start and the view down the glen towards the Firth of Clyde.
Eglinton Country Park, Kilwinning
Eglinton really is a unique Country Park in Ayrshire – unlike any other I have visited. It is spread over a vast area and has so many quirky parts, full of surprises. This short route is ideal with the kids and takes in the all-abilities play park, courtyard and cafe, headless statue (!), castle ruins and Eglinton Loch. Take a picnic on a nice day!
9. Gorge Walk in Rouken Glen Park, Giffnock
One of the most important geological sites in Scotland, the 143 acre Rouken Glen Park has some lovely walks, this one taking you through it’s famous gorge along the banks of Auldhouse Burn. See the boating pond “Swan Lake”, wander through the glen with it’s impressive waterfalls, try out the new boardwalk built along the historical “lover’s walk”, let the kids burn off steam at the massive play area and then try your hand at the outdoor gym before having a well-earned coffee at The Boathouse café. There is a reason Rouken Glen was voted the UK’s Best Park 2016!
10. Lanfine’s Wild Boars, Darvel
A semi-loop through the spectacular woodland of Lanfine Estate in Darvel, passing alongside it’s infamous wild boar family en route. Just outside the estate entrance gates you will find Morton Park which is an excellent play park for children of all ages.