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A delightful short walk taking in some of Kilmaurs’ best bits, including Morton Park and the war memorial, St Maurs-Glencairn Parish Church, the remains of “Penny Bridge” and the impressive toolbooth known as the Jougs. It is actually much more of a countryside trail than its name suggests, including several field crossings. Wellies sometimes advisable!
There is a train station in Kilmaurs, 0.5km from the walk start point. There are also local bus services which stop on Main Street.There is a small public car park next to the tolbooth, just off Main Street and a larger one behind the Weston Tavern on Fenwick Road.
Route: From the tolbooth on Main Street (known locally as The Jougs), head East down a lane to the right of the Weston Tavern. On reaching the back of the building, turn right (South) to stay on the lane, known locally as ‘Midge Lane‘. It leads you to a bridge over the Carmel Water and into Morton Park. Turn left (North East) after crossing the bridge, passing the bowling green on your right-hand side. Head up the steps to the war memorial, and at the top of the hill continue ahead (North East) on a high path beside a cottage called “The Place”. (Steps can be avoided by continuing on the path to the left at the bottom of the steps, keeping the Carmel Water close to your left-hand side. This skirts around the bottom edge of Morton Park instead of over the top). When you reach the running track walk East along the road then turn right (South) onto Mill Avenue. At Kilmarnock Road/A735 cross when safe, turn left (South East) then almost immediately right (South West) to pass in front of St Maurs-Glencairn Parish Church. The path ends at a field which often has cattle in it. The continuation of the route requires you to pass through the gate and cross the field by following the line of hedges down the middle in a South-West direction. You will reach the famous ‘Penny Bridge‘ at the other side of the field. Cross the bridge. From here the route heads diagonally to the right uphill across the field (West). Head for the corner of the trees/hedges and follow the field edge to a set of gates. Pass through the kissing gate and continue to follow the hedgerow West to a final kissing gate (sometimes overgrown) at the end of the field. The grassy path from here leads to an underpass where it can be very muddy. Turn right (West) to go through the underpass, emerging onto Crosshouse Rd/B751 next to the Jubilee Wood. Turn right (North) and follow the roadside pavement back into Kilmaurs. At the end of Crosshouse Rd/B751, turn right (East) onto Sunnyside. At the end of Sunnyside turn left (North). Cross over when safe – you will see the tolbooth ahead.
WALK REVIEW: 24TH JUNE 2018
Town Trail: the name suggested to me that it was a fairly urban tour of the village, maybe some historical landmarks and some plaques to read. Not particularly my cup of tea… and having been in Kilmaurs countless times in my life I was pretty sure I had seen all there was to see. So when I set off and immediately found myself in an area of open parkland with a small burn and lovely stone bridges, I was completely taken aback. How had I not known about this?! I came to realise that I was in Morton Park. The steps to the war memorial, perched on higher ground, afforded very pleasant views of the surrounding village, including the old Glencairn Church from an angle I’d never seen before. Wow!
After a bimble around the St Maurs/Glencairn churchyard, I was again surprised to realise that the next section of the trail was through a kissing gate and onto a grassy field with cows in it. At first unsure of how the cattle would react to our appearance, my friend & I considered calling it a day and heading back the way we had come. A moment of bravery overcame us and off we trotted, cautiously over to the next gate. Onwards…. a reeeealllly old bridge! (later I realised it is the remains of the infamous Penny Bridge, which I had heard mentioned many times by the locals). After passing through several fields, we emerged at an underpass and out onto Crosshouse Rd, next to some beautifully painted gates belonging to the Kilmaurs Primary ‘Jubilee Wood’. I am told that after a bout of sustained rainfall, this underpass becomes extremely muddy (requiring wellies). You have been warned!
From here it was a very simple walk along the (narrow) roadside pavement back into Kilmaurs. Overall, a really pleasant short walk. Varied, interesting and full of surprises!
Other walks nearby:
Kilmaurs Farm Walk – 5.2 miles
Kilmaurs & Knockentiber loop – 7.3 miles
Watermeetings, Kilmaurs – 7 miles
Lainshaw Woods & the Annick Water, Stewarton – 4.6 miles
Knockentiber/Springside Loop – 4.4 miles or 5.7 miles
Kilmarnock North/Rowallan – 5.8 miles
Dunsmuir Park & Knockentiber loop – 4.5 miles