Best walks near Ayr
The Ayrshire countryside is easily walkable, consisting of gently rolling hills, forested areas, and graceful beaches. For those who like to get out in nature, there’s plenty to explore, and most of these walks will allow you to set your dog free for a ramble too.
Here are some of the best walks within 20 miles of us at Craig Tara, with travel distance to the start points. Pack those walking boots and remember that essential Scottish combination of sunscreen and raincoat.
Coastal trail to Dunure / Ayr
Straight from Craig Tara
From Craig Tara you can head straight out on foot along the coastal path heading either directly towards Ayr for a short walk (5 miles there and back) or turn south and walk to Dunure before turning back towards Ayr (15 miles to start and finish at Craig Tara). At low tide you’ll be able to walk many sections of this trail along the beach.
On the northerly portion you’ll pass the picturesque ruin of Greenan Castle on the cliffside. Dunure features its own ruined castle and beach. Either stretch can be walked on its own of course, and you should find parking at Ayr or Dunure if you prefer to start in town.
Ness Glen and Duncairney Falls
20 miles from Craig Tara
Starting at the northern tip of the beautiful Loch Doon, this there-and-back route takes in the wooded Ness Glen and includes the gently tumbling Duncairney Falls on the River Doon. It's a six mile route which provides shade (and rain cover) under the trees.
The path crosses and recrosses the River Doon where, if you’re brave, there may be spots to paddle or take a dip. Park near the Osprey Roundhouse takeaway café and follow the marked trail. You’ll soon enter the Ness Glen gorge, a renowned site for Victorian visitors. Take care on slippery walkways and boardwalks as you pass through the ravine.
Leave the River Doon and cross open fields to pick up another stretch of the river at the dramatic falls, just south of the Bogton Loch. In winter, the falls are known to freeze entirely over, a popular draw for photographers.
Ayr River Path
4 miles from Craig Tara
The wooded banks of the Ayr River form a charming walk, with plenty of wildlife to spot along the route. Start at the Ayr campus of the University of West Scotland (Station Road car park) and walk to the riverside, before heading east along the riverbank. You can walk along the north bank, cross over at the A77 and return via the south bank as far as the footbridge, before taking the north side trail for the last stretch.
If you’re lucky you may spot otters at play among the pools, or even see the bright flash of a passing kingfisher. It’s a peaceful and relaxing experience. The circuit amounts to around three miles in total, making this a relatively easy stroll.
Alloway Burns Round
2 miles from Craig Tara
Robert Burns’ birthplace at Alloway is well worth a visit in its own right. If it’s a fine day, allow time for this four mile circular route which includes several sights linked to Scotland’s national poet.
The marked Poet’s Path starts on the B7024 just south of Burns' birthplace and continues south to Burns monument and memorial gardens. Loop back to the path alongside Murdoch’s Lane and follow the Burton Cycle Track to Maybole Road before turning left onto the Slaphouse Burn path to the Rozelle Remembrance Woodland. Return via the wooded path south alongside Monument Road.
Ayr to Troon Coastal Path
3 miles from Craig Tara
To the north of Ayr, the coastal path offers opportunities for birdwatchers and plane spotters alike, as it passes close by Prestwick Airport.
Start at the Low Green car park in Ayr and walk along the beach or promenade towards Ayr Harbour, before crossing the estuary to continue alongside the wide sandy bay and salt pans south of Prestwick. Rolling farmland, golf courses (including the celebrated Royal Troon) and sandy beaches continue as far as the Pow Burn, which you may have to wade (or avoid via the nearby road).
You can let the dog off the lead on wilder stretches but watch out for lambing sheep in the nearby fields in spring.
Bogton Loch Circular
16 miles from Craig Tara
For something a little more remote, Bogton Loch offers walkers or joggers a little wilderness and solitude. It’s a six mile circular route starting and finishing at Dalmellington on the Ayr Road (A713).
South of the A713, follow the B-road opposite the Dalmellington Community Centre across a small burn and continue straight on, taking a footpath to your right that passes Wee Berbeth Loch. Round the hillside then follow the trail alongside the Dalcairnie Burn and the dramatic falls upstream. Continue north past the Loch’s western extent to reach the B741 and turn right to return to the start.
Your dog should be able to roam on the wooded trails but return them to the lead for the open farmland stretches.