Irvine & Kilwinning New Town Trail

An entirely flat 12 mile circular walk makes for easy walking and feels surprisingly rural, often accompanied by either the Lugton Water, Annick Water or the River Irvine. Sights to look forward to include Eglinton Castle, the Cairnmount Hill standing stones, Sourlie Woods and Garnock Floods Wildlife Reserves, Robert Burns statue, plenty of bridges, and if you do it in summer, apple trees and wild flowers galore!

Technical sheet
No. 23286717
A North Ayshire walk posted on 24/06/22 by Gillian's Walks. Update : 27/06/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 5h35[?]
Distance Distance : 12.1mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 56ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 56ft
Highest point Highest point : 102ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 10ft
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : North Ayshire
Starting point Starting point : N 55.641433° / W 4.671307°
Download : -
River Irvine Standing Stones Eglinton Castle

Description

(D/A) Start the walk at Eglinton Country Park at a wooden gateway with “Visitor Centre” marked above it, close to the main car parks. There is also a statue of a horse here.

Facing away from the Visitor Centre, turn left (South East) to follow the road towards a car park.

Walk into the car park then move across to a footpath on your right.

(1) Follow this through the trees to pass the remains of Eglinton Castle and then after a short uphill section you will reach the Lugton Water.

(2) Turn right (South East) at the Lugton Water (don’t cross the bridge) and continue on this gravel track.

This section is well way-marked so follow the New Town Trail marker posts to stay close to the river at first, keeping right at two forks.

(3) The path will start to veer away from the river, skirting the edge of a field to arrive at a crossroads after 800m.

Turn right (South East) and after 300m keep left at two forks to enter a small area of trees.

(4) The path continues along a fence line, bending right to cross a small burn then veers right, away from the fence and into Sourlie Wood Wildlife Reserve.

(5) Follow the main path through the woods and just as you leave Sourlie Wood, there is an optional short de-tour of 230m to the right to see the Eglinton standing stones with lovely views over the Dalry Moor – if doing so, turn right (North West) at the Eglinton Country Park information board. Return to the main path via the same route.

The path leads you through the A736/Cairnmount Road underpass. From here use the New Town Trail marker posts to stay on track, along a variety of the tree-lined surfaced paths. At each road crossing (Lochlibo Road, Littestane Road and Girdle Toll and B769/Middleton Road), continue straight ahead to pick up the trail at the other side of each.

(6) The trail then leaves that urban area onto more open countryside and approx 700m from Middleton Road you will reach a confusing crossroads where the way marker appears to point both left and right. Technically you can go either way, but the “correct” course is to turn right here (West) and then almost immediately left (South). This takes you through some trees then across a large area of open ground.

(7) After a short uphill section at the far end of the area of open ground, you will emerge at a road. Cross it and turn left (South East) along the pavement.

(8) After approx 150m at a bus stop, look out for a way marker inviting you to cross back over the road (left - North East) and into the Bourtreehill residential area on Heatherstane Way.

(9) Where the pavement runs out, head to the right onto the road and continue along Heatherstane Way until you see a sign for Lowther Bank. Note: approx halfway along Heatherstane Way there are New Town Trail way markers directing you off to the right at a metal barrier – do not follow these as they just take you round in a circle back to this point!

From the Lowther Bank sign turn left (North East) and you will reassuringly see the New Town Trail way markers once again. Turn right (South East) to come off Lowther Bank and onto a footpath. This footpath crosses a grassy area and heads into the trees.

(10) Stay on the path closest to the Annick Water to cross over Towerlands Road and join up with the NCN73 cycle track.

Turn right (West) and follow the NCN73 signage for the next 10km...

(11) The cycle path leads you through Annick Park, behind Greenwood Academy, then follows the Annick Water on your right-hand side until passing a hotel and out onto the B7081/Annick Road close to a roundabout.

(12) From here the cycle path continues with the river on your left-hand side for 600m before taking a right turn (West) just as it reaches Milgarholm Park.

Almost immediately turn right again (North) to reach A71. Cross over at the pedestrian crossing then turn left (West) along the pavement. Before reaching the bridge, turn off the pavement to the right (North West) onto a riverside path.

(13) Cross a bridge after 250m then turn right (North West). With the River Irvine on your right-hand side, stay on the cycle path for just over 1km, passing under the Rivergate Shopping Centre and emerging onto a residential street called Waterside.

(14) Cross the River Irvine via the footbridge on Waterside, to arrive at Irvine Low Green.

Turn left (North) to continue on the NCN73. It follows the course of the river from an elevated position until it meets up with the railway line, then follows the course of the railway line until emerging onto B779 next to Bartenholm Recycling Centre.

(15) Turn left (North) on B779, passing Garnock Floods Wildlife Reserve and crossing the River Garnock via a road bridge.

After crossing the bridge, turn right (East) to cross the road and enter a small wooded area. You will pass underneath the A78/Kilwinning Bypass before following the Garnock along for 700m to a crossroads.

(16) Turn right (North East) to cross a bridge, signposted ‘Eglinton Country Park 1.25 miles’.

You will then reach the A737/Irvine Road. Cross using the pedestrian crossing and turn right (South), ignoring a tempting entrance to Eglinton Country Park straight ahead of you.

(17) Cross a minor road and shortly after this turn left (East) onto a lane which brings you safely onto the minor road a little further along.

(18) Turn right then almost immediately turn right again (South East) at the Eglinton information board. This takes you onto a pleasant earth footpath through the woods.

(19) The path meets up with the Lugton Water which you follow along for approx 400m to a large suspension bridge.

Cross the bridge then turn left (South East then North East). The Lugton will now be on your left-hand side.

After 240m turn right (South East) to follow the path around the camping ground.

(20) You will reach a large kids play area, followed by a smaller play area. The entrance to the Tournament Cafe and toilets are through the gate on your left-hand side if you need them. Otherwise continue to the end of this footpath to a road.

Turn left (East) to return to the wooden gateway with “Visitor Centre” marked above it.(D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 46ft - Eglinton Country Park
1 : mi 0.29 - alt. 56ft - View to Eglinton Castle
2 : mi 0.35 - alt. 43ft - Lugton Water
3 : mi 0.86 - alt. 62ft - Crossroads
4 : mi 1.78 - alt. 79ft - Sourlie Wood Wildlife Reserve
5 : mi 2.02 - alt. 85ft - Info board & de-tour to standing stones
6 : mi 3.61 - alt. 62ft - Confusing marker posts at crossroads
7 : mi 3.93 - alt. 59ft - Short uphill section
8 : mi 4.07 - alt. 72ft - Bus stop
9 : mi 4.27 - alt. 66ft - Lowther Bank street sign
10 : mi 4.64 - alt. 49ft - Join up with the NCN73 cycle track
11 : mi 6.77 - alt. 23ft - B7081/Annick Road
12 : mi 7.2 - alt. 20ft - Milgarholm Park
13 : mi 7.54 - alt. 23ft - Bridge
14 : mi 8.31 - alt. 16ft - Bridge to Low Green
15 : mi 10.17 - alt. 10ft - Garnock Floods Wildlife Reserve
16 : mi 10.96 - alt. 23ft - Signpost ‘Eglinton Country Park 1.25 miles’
17 : mi 11.27 - alt. 33ft - Lane
18 : mi 11.33 - alt. 33ft - Information board
19 : mi 11.71 - alt. 33ft - Suspension bridge
20 : mi 12.01 - alt. 39ft - Kids play areas, toilets and cafe
D/A : mi 12.1 - alt. 46ft - Eglinton Country Park

Useful Information

The New Town Trail was developed by North Ayrshire Council to link Irvine town centre, outlying residential areas, Kilwinning and Eglinton Country Park giving local people and visitors an alternative to travelling by car.

For more information and a walk review visit Gillian's Walks

Transport

  • Plenty of free car parking available at Eglinton Country Park (KA12 8TA)
  • Irvine train station is approx 500m from the closest entry point to the walk at the Rivergate Centre, between (13) and (14)
  • Kilwinning train station is approx 2.3km from the closest entry point to the walk at (17)
  • If using public transport it is also an option to start the loop in some of the outlying residential areas which this route passes through (eg Bourtreehill or Dreghorn).
  • Much of the route is on the NCN73 cycle path, making connections to/from Glasgow and Kilmarnock possible by bike

Terrain
Half of this trail follows the NCN73 cycle path whilst the remainder is along a mixture of earth tracks, surfaced footpaths and urban areas.

Navigation
Being a circular walk, it can be started anywhere on the route. Quite a difficult trail to navigate because some of the marker posts get lost in vegetation in the summer, and others are confusing. So I would suggest not relying solely on the way-markers.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

  • Lugton Water
  • Annick Water
  • River Irvine
  • Eglinton Castle
  • Eglinton Country Park - countryside ranger service, visitor centre, cafe, toilets, play areas, tournament bridge
  • The Cairnmount Hill standing stones
  • Sourlie Woods Wildlife Reserve - Scottish Wildlife Trust
  • Garnock Floods Wildlife Reserve - Scottish Wildlife Trust
  • Robert Burns statue, Irvine
  • NCN73 cycle path
  • NCN7 cycle path

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.