Walk 187 – Lainshaw Woods & the Annick Water, Stewarton – 4.6 miles

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A scenic and varied figure-of-eight walk which follows the Annick Water on its journey through Stewarton, including through the town’s popular Lainshaw Woods and 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: Starting from Stewarton War Memorial, head South onto Kilwinning Road (towards Lainshaw Primary School). Turn left (West) onto Kilwinning Road and walk along the pavement a short distance until you reach a kids play area on your left-hand side. Turn left (South West) here and walk down the lane to reach David Dale Avenue. You will see the entrance to Lainshaw Woods directly opposite on the other side of the road. Go down the steps and cross David Dale Avenue, entering Lainshaw Woods. The footpath initially zig zags downhill towards the Annick Water before following the river through the woods for 1.6km to reach the bottom of the Fisherman’s Steps. Stay close to the river, ignoring any paths to your right as you move along. Turn left (West) at the top of the steps (wooden way marker points towards Kilwinning Road) and continue along the footpath through the woods. After 1km you will reach a possible exit onto Kilwinning Road – ignore this exit, turning right (North East) to remain in the woods on a footpath running parallel to the road. After a further 700m you will reach the end of the woodland trail at a gate leading onto Kilwinning Rd. Turn right (East) along the road for 360m until reaching a red bin with a footpath on your left-hand side leading to a kids play park and residential area. Turn left here (North). Follow tracks and paths along the edge of the housing estate, with a field on your left until you reach Elm Walk. Turn right (East) along Elm Walk to reach Hayfield Drive. Turn left (North) onto Hayfield Drive and at the end of the street turn right (East) onto Standalane/B778. Walk along the pavement of Standalane/B778 (which becomes Dalry Road a bit further along) for approx 600m passing behind the Sports Centre. You will arrive back at the War Memorial. Turn left (North East) off Dalry Road onto Ravenscraig Road. Continue north, with Ravenscraig Road becoming Lamberton Road and leading you on to A735/Dunlop Road. Straight ahead across the road you will see a lane to the right of a cottage. Take care crossing over and go down this lane (Clark’s Wynd/Piggery Row). Keep going West until you reach the Clerkland Burn. Cross the footbridge then go some steps, turning right (South East) halfway up to go onto a footpath with the burn on your right-hand side. This area is known as Cunningham Watt Park. There are some more steps then you will reach another footbridge. Cross over and turn left (East) with the burn on your left-hand side. You will pass a couple of benches and very quickly arrive at another footbridge. Cross over and follow the path right (East), the burn now on your right-hand side. Continue, keeping the burn on your right, until you reach the exit of Cunningham Watt Park, next to a stone memorial and some benches. Cross over High Street/B769 and turn left (North East) to pass The Millhouse. Follow the pavement along with some metal fencing on your right. Take the first road on the right (100m along). The street name is Gilbert Sheddon Court and there is also a tall, black finger post which says ‘River Walk‘. Cross the Annick Water by way of a stone bridge then immediately turn right (West) onto a lane, keeping the river close to your right-hand side for 800m until you emerge onto Cutstraw Road. Turn right (West) onto Cutstraw Road to reach B778/Kirfkord. Cross over B778/Kirfkord and continue straight ahead (West) onto a lane just to the left of the Kirkford street sign. Follow this path West along the Annick, passing beneath the railway viaduct, to reach the A735 600m along. Cross over A735 then turn right (North) to walk along the narrow pavement to the roundabout where you turn left (West) onto David Dale Avenue. After 50m you will reach the steps and lane next to Lainshaw Primary on your right-hand side, and the Lainshaw Woods entrance on your left. Turn right here (North) to go along the lane and past the play park. Turn right (East) onto Kilwinning Road and you will soon arrive back at Stewarton War Memorial.

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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

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.

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… 😉

Other walks close by you might enjoy:

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