Walk 187 – Lainshaw Woods & the Annick Water, Stewarton – 5.3 miles

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A scenic and varied circular walk which follows the Annick Water on its journey through Stewarton, including through the town’s popular Lainshaw Woods and Cunningham Watt Park, beautifully maintained by a dedicated volunteer group - Stewarton Woodlands Action Trust.

TERRAIN: quiet roads, residential pavements, woodland trails, surfaced footpaths and grassy tracks. Can be muddy in places. Several sets of steps, some of them steep. No stiles or kissing gates. Mostly flat with a couple of hills inside Lainshaw Woods and at Cunningham Watt Park.

orange circle with white dog icon inside Dog-friendly route

Car parking available at Rose Reilly Sports Centre (KA3 3DN) or Stewarton Train Station, just off Standalane – both are a short walk from the start point. There are also frequent bus and train services into Stewarton.

Route map for Lainshaw Woods and Annick Water walk


My adventure to Stewarton this morning came about through my involvement with the Kilmaurs Walking Festival and our desire to include walks in the neighbouring towns and villages on this year’s program. One of the team had suggested contacting the Stewarton Woodlands Action Trust (SWAT) with a view to leading a walk along their woodland paths at Lainshaw.

I had been meaning to get out to Stewarton for months now to explore the area more – I still didn’t have a single route from there on my website despite many people telling me what a great walk Lainshaw is! So when Susan Williamson – SWAT Chairperson – offered us a walk round of her proposed 2 hour route I was delighted and jumped at the chance!

I was hugely impressed with what I saw and the work that SWAT has done over the past 10+ years to maintain the beauty and safety of the woods. When we started the walk a group of 5-6 volunteers were beginning their morning’s work which included emptying dog poo bins, doing a litter pick, and other small maintenance jobs. As we progressed along our route we saw another volunteer out clearing a drainage ditch to keep the path dry and we heard stories of the group’s recent chainshaw training which has allowed them to prevent a dangerous trees from falling/remove fallen trees blocking the pathways. If the number of people out for a walk today is anything to go by, Lainshaw is clearly much-loved by the local people. And it is easy to see why…..

arched entrance to Lainshaw Woods
Riverside trail in an area of greenspace, with long grasses and trees
Young trees lining a woodland footpath in winter, all of them bare

Our ramble took us through Lainshaw Woods and across a residential area before we entered Cunningham Watt Park and followed the River Annick back to the start. We really got an impression of the number of new houses in Stewarton – areas which once were fields now unrecognisable. On the plus side, footpaths had been developed, linking the residents to the woodland trails, which makes them easily accessible to much of the town. Great to see this happening! Although I understand it took a bit of campaigning for this to be the case….

Cunningham Watt Park is a pleasant tree-lined path running alongside a bambling burn, with small picnic areas and benches dotted along it. Litter did seem to be a bit of a challenge, as with a lot of places these days. However seeing past that it looked a nice place to come a wander and again, it was well linked to adjoining residences. Having said that, I did remark on the difference I felt walking here compared to in Lainshaw Woods in terms of how well-loved and maintained each felt. Lainshaw very much more so than here. Credit to SWAT again for that.

Wooden footbridge crossing a fast flowing burn inside a woodland
One of the bridges across the burn in Cunningham Watt Park

From here we headed along the River Annick to return to the start. This was more of a grassy footpath than what we had experienced so far and possibly muddy on a wetter day. We were fortunate that the ground was solid today thanks to a hard frost last night and this made it easy to walk across. I understand there are plans to possibly upgrade the path over the coming years. In the meantime SWAT continue to strim the long grass over the summer to keep the path from becoming overgrown. Great view of the railway viaduct (which we were soon to walk beneath)! Had I waited 30 seconds longer before taking this photo, a train would have been visible on top of it! Too late… 😉

Gravel track leading across a flat area of long grass towards a large railway vaiduct

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