Walk 228 – Barony A Frame to Dumfries House Estate – 3 miles

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Take yourself back to a time when coal mining was the main industry in this part of East Ayrshire with a visit to the Barony A Frame. The walk down into the Dumfries House Estate is only 1.5 miles away and gives you the opportunity to enjoy open views across the grassy farmland towards the neighbouring villages.

The walk can be extended by exploring Dumfries House Estate – I recommend this route which takes in all the best bits.

TERRAIN: Surfaced paths and gravel trails which can become muddy in places. Downhill most of the way there and uphill most of the way back.


Dog-friendly walk

Car parking at Barony A Frame. Local bus service stops on Barony Road a short walk from the start point. There is cycle parking on the Barony A Frame site, next to the pump track (see map on arrival).

Route map - Barony A Frame to Dumfries House Estate

Walk Report: 15th Feb & 28th July 2023

Believe it or not, the February visit was my very first time out at Barony A Frame! What an amazing place.

Before setting off on our walk to Dumfries House Estate we spent ages exploring and reading all the historical info boards. I really love when effort is made to preserve the heritage of an area and this site is a brilliant example of that.

Beneath the A Frame itself were at least a dozen information boards detailing everything from how coal is formed, the layout of Barony, what life was like for the miners and some important historical events which impacted the site. It was utterly fascinating.

Whilst I stood reading all of that my kids were in their element running around the pump track and climbing on the kids play equipment. There were even a handful of picnic benches. We’d definitely be back!

I could have spent longer there taking it all in, but there was a walk to be done and a deadline to be back for my son’s karate training and so we got going.

Barony A Frame and coal wagons
Barony A Frame
Pump track at Barony A Frame
Pump track
Rusting machinery left behind from coal mining days
Old machinery

In my research for this route I had read several accounts of the path being muddy and my visit in February was no exception. Not only was it muddy, when we reached the lowest section the “path” was completely waterlogged and we had some trouble getting through with dry feet. I was delighted to learn that not long after work started on resurfacing the path all the way down to Dumfries House Estate. This encouraged me to return in July and what a difference! The path is now fine gravel all the way and some new drainage has been installed which is very much doing its job. 

Fine gravel footpath
Newly resurfaced path between Barony A Frame and Dumfries House

We didn’t meet a soul on this walk until we reached Dumfries House Estate. We went down to the pagoda to eat our packed lunches and a enjoyed quick wander around the walled garden and sadly had to head back already.

Round stone structure in Dumfries House Estate
The pagoda, as I call it. Dumfries House Estate. This is where we enjoyed our packed lunch before heading back.

On the way back I realised how much of a hill we had come down. Why doesn’t it seem that steep and long when you are going down the way?! 🙂

My youngest kept finding lumps of coal along the path which he hadn’t seemed to notice on the way there. They intrigued him. Looking at the colour of his hands after touching it for a few seconds led us to chat about how dirty the miners must have got working with it for 7 hours a day. He wondered if they walked around all day like he had, looking for coal…. I’d taken it for granted that he understood they had to go underground for it and so that realisation opened up a whole other bunch of questions from him (most of which I could answer thanks to having read all those information boards earlier!) My mum told him that if he had a fire at home he would have been able to take some home and burn it….. “Oh is *that* what people used to burn in their houses?!“…. Isn’t it great how a short walk in the great outdoors can be so educational.

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