Routes in East Ayrshire
East Ayrshire has a variety of path networks suitable for a range of user groups which take in some of Ayrshire’s finest and varied countryside - from river valleys with their wooded gorges to the glacially carved valleys of the Southern Uplands.
Loch Doon and the Doon Valley Area
Loch Doon is the largest inland loch in Southern Scotland with spectacular scenery, surrounded by rugged mountains and unspoilt landscapes. Craigengillan is a beautiful estate with meandering paths through a variety of habitats and it links to Loch Doon via Ness Glen – a spectacular rock gorge and home to a myriad of mosses and ferns. Auchenroy Hill offers unsurpassed views over the sea to Arran and Ailsa Craig and the spectacular Dalcairnie Falls are 40 feet high with a sheer drop of 20 feet.
The Lugar Water
This trail begins in Cumnock and follows Lord Bute’s Walk as it skirts Knockroon Wood and follows the Lugar Water to Ochiltree also taking in the beautiful Dumfries Estate.
This small village, 5 miles south of Ayr is home to a grand Elizabethan Hollybush House, which is set in 37 acres with an extensive scenic woodland walk through the grounds.
Hannahston Pond, Drongan
This community woodland site has over 18 hectares of new native woodland and many wild flowers. The wetland at Hannahston also provides suitable habitat for a range of bird life.
Kilmarnock Town Trail
These paths take you through the historical heart of Kilmarnock, taking in some of the town’s most important historic sites.
The Irvine Valley Trail
This is the main route of paths linking the towns of Darvel, Newmilns, Galston and Hurlford. It is a walker’s paradise with a myriad of footpaths through tranquil open countryside, high moorland, dappled riverside and shaded woodland, rich and diverse in wildlife.
East Ayrshire not only offers recreational activities for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, but also for those with an interest in water access. Popular canoeing spots in the area include Loch Doon, the River Doon, the River Ayr and Ness Glen which has been given a grade 3 (3+) rating although during sustained wet weather the rapids are much faster and the grade is raised to a 4. Visit www.canoescotland.org for information on getting started and local clubs.