West Avonside (Walk 7)
* 06/11/2023 - Please note we have had to close the Dell Bridge on this walk due to flood damage. Once the bridge has been properly assessed we will post a further update.*
6.5km/4 miles Allow 2-3 hours
It is likely that both sheep and cattle will be encountered on this walk – please follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. Also check field before entering and detour to avoid cattle if necessary. Keep dogs on a lead or under close control and if threatened by cattle release your dog.
Balcorach car park (Strathavon): NJ 155 265 - Following blue arrow waymarkers with wave / river logo in the centre.
From the car park at Balcorach follow the track northwards to a gate and stile. The waymarked path continues straight on following the riverbank but if you wish to visit the Knock Earth House turn left (westwards) here. Walk away from the river, along the track (waymarked for Knock Earth House) which heads towards the Knock farmhouse ahead.
Follow the track past the house and at the fork keep right, away from the cottage. Turn into the field at the double gates to your left and head uphill towards the fenced area in the field to the right of the cottage. If there is crop in the field please follow around the field edge. Within the small fenced enclosure you will find the underground cavity of the Knock Earth House, take care as there are open holes. Return to the waymarked walk via the same route.
Avoiding this diversion or to continue the walk, head northwards along the west bank of the River Avon. The track passes through several fields, before entering a small copse of alder trees, where a small footbridge adjacent to a ford can be used to cross a burn which winds its way through the trees. This is quickly followed by another small burn crossing over a small stone bridge. Continue along the track as it passes through attractive birch and rowan woodland. As the woods give way to fields on your right, alongside the track you may notice a solitary gravestone standing, with no markings. The stone is deceptive, as no grave lies beneath it. In fact, it was left lying here by a local man who cut gravestones from the hillside above many years ago. This one was never used for its intended purpose but has been lifted and erected where it now stands, as a memorial to its maker.
Go through the gate and pass the cottage of Alltnaha. Turn right, away from the Lyne house and follow roughly to the right of the field initially along the high ridge. After passing through another gate follow the track towards the fence at the bottom of the field. Pass through another gate and follow the path down to the suspension bridge which spans the River Avon near the Dell. Cross the bridge then turn left through the field before crossing a stile and climbing the steps which lead up to the main road.
Return to Balcorach via the same route, or alternatively take the public road back to the ‘silver’ bridge at Balcorach, but please take care on the narrow sections of road.