Walk of the Week: Blairnenbathie Mine Trail, Fife

I HAD heard about the site of an old Fife coal mine that was a good place for a walk. Curiosity got the better of me and the next thing I knew I was in a wood just outside Kelty.

Coal-mining began around here as far back as the 13th century, but it wasn’t until the 19th and first part of the 20th centuries that things were really booming.

The walk actually passes the site of two former mines – one from the 18th century, when the land was part of an estate owned by Sir William Adam. The arch on a small stone bridge crossed during the walk is definitely in his style.

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The other colliery closed in the 1960s, but today there is little evidence of the area’s industrial past.

The land has now been taken over by the Forestry Commission, and although there are spruces and pines there is a surprising amount of mixed woodland. In fact, for most of the walk you would be forgiven for thinking it had been here for centuries.

Birdsong fills the air and flowers carpet the floor. One drawback is that the route is only two and a half miles long – such is the feeling of escape you may well wish there was a bit extra.

However, the good paths do make this a great walk to take young children on, with plenty of wooden benches to sit on and enjoy a break with a picnic.

DISTANCE 2½ miles.


TIME 1 to 1½ hours.

MAP OS Landranger 58.

PARKING Leave the M90 at junction 4 and go west (left) on the B914. After a third of a mile turn right, at a Forestry Commission sign for Blairadam. Follow a drive for about half a mile to a car park next to a Forestry Commission depot (Clentry car park).

IN SUMMARY Head to the end of the car park and follow a forestry track. Ignore a track going right then go left at a totem pole (built by First Nation Canadian artists and residents of Kelty), on to a wide, surfaced path.

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Keep on the path until it joins a track coming in from the right. Ignore a path on the right, then a left turning to follow the track straight ahead. A shorter walk goes off to the right – following red markers – but this route goes ahead for a little more – following yellow markers. Take a path that branches off the track to the right and a little further on ignore a path on the right. The path drops over the Lochornie Burn bridge and bears right before going uphill.

The path becomes more of a track for a while – ignore turnings to the left – before bearing right again. The path continues up a little then drops down through mixed woodland, eventually reaching a forestry track, where you go right.

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Drop down the track and at the bottom ignore turnings to the right. Shortly after this, go through a metal gate and head uphill, ignoring turnings to either side. The track then bears right, passes the totem pole near the start of the walk and takes you back to the car park.

REFRESHMENTS There is nothing at the start of the walk – your best bet is to head west to Dollar where there is a wide choice.

WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA Head up the M90 to Kinross where Historic Scotland (www.historic-scotland.gov.uk) runs boat trips out on to Loch Leven and across to Lochleven Castle.