Ayr Gorge Woodlands Reserve, Failford

Ayr Gorge Woodlands reserve is the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Scottish Wildlife Trust Ayrshire. Follow the path of the River Ayr as it flows through a deep red sandstone gorge. This circular / figure-of-eight route takes you around most of the main trails, giving you the opportunity to explore this beautiful ancient woodland including the popular viewpoint at Peden's Cove.

Technical sheet No. 23283387

A South Ayrshire walk posted on 24/06/22 by Gillian's Walks. Update : 27/06/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 1h50[?]
Distance Distance : 5.71 km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 77 m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 79 m
Highest point Highest point : 93 m
Lowest point Lowest point : 57 m
Moderate Difficulty : Moderate
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : South Ayrshire
Starting point Starting point : N 55.505094° / W 4.439225°
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Download : PDF / Print - GPX track
Ayr Gorge Woodland Trail

Description

(D/A) Facing the Failford Inn (KA5 5TF), head right (South West) on B743.

Immediately after crossing a bridge over the Water of Fail, turn left (South) to enter Ayr Gorge Woodlands.

Follow this woodland trail across a footbridge then up a steep staircase.

(1) At the top of the stairs follow the trail along for 100m to a bench. Just before the bench turn right (South West) up some uneven ground (path not shown on map).

Continue straight ahead at a crossroads then turn left (South East) to follow the footpath around the perimeter of the woodlands.

(2) After 450m the path forks. Keep right (South).

(3) Follow this high level path for 400m to another fork where you should turn left (East) to go down the steps to the riverside.

Follow the path along the River Ayr for 800m to another set of steps heading back uphill.

(4) At the top there is an information board about Ayr Gorge Woodlands. Turn right here (North West).

This trail takes you back to the fork at the top of the steps from earlier (3)

Keep left this time (don't go down the steps), and on reaching the next fork (2) turn right (East).

(5) At the end of the path turn right (South West) to walk along to Peden's Cove viewpoint (350m away), then return via the same path to this point.

Follow the River Ayr upstream for 900m to reach the bench from earlier on your left-hand side (1).

Continue past the bench to reach the top of the steps and return to the parking area opposite Failford Inn (D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 60 m - Parking area opposite Failford Inn (KA5 5TF)
1 : km 0.47 - alt. 77 m - Bench
2 : km 0.98 - alt. 75 m - Fork
3 : km 1.39 - alt. 86 m - Fork at top of steps
4 : km 2.23 - alt. 78 m - Information board
5 : km 3.73 - alt. 59 m - Right turn to Peden's Cove
D/A : km 5.71 - alt. 59 m - Parking area opposite Failford Inn (KA5 5TF)

Useful Information

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

Transport
By car: there are a few parking spaces just off B74 opposite the Failford Inn
By bus: there is a bus service to Failford from Cumnock or Ayr

Terrain
There are lots of steps on this route and the earth footpaths can become muddy after rain.

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

  • Failford Inn - serves bar meals. Check opening times via their Facebook page.
  • Peden's Cove - it is said that the steps were cut into the sandstone by covenanters so that Alexander Peden could preach to his congregation gathered on the opposite bank. There is an information board at the viewpoint which asks that we don't walk onto the sandstone steps, in order to preserve them.
  • Ayr Gorge Woodlands - a wildlife reserve cared for by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. The River Ayr is lined by red sandstone cliffs forming a canyon and in the right light when the sun is shining directly into the river, the water actually appears red thanks to the sandstone beneath it.
  • The River Ayr Way - the trails closest to the river form part of the River Ayr Way, a long distance source to sea walking route and one of Scotland's Great Trails.

Other walks in the area

Organisation / Walking Club / Mountain guide
Peden's Cove, Failford
distance 3.11 km Vertical gain +45 m Vertical drop -40 m Duration 1h00 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in South Ayrshire

Peden’s Cove is hidden inside Ayr Gorge Woodland, a Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve. This beautiful and ancient woodland is formed around an incredible red sandstone canyon, which gives the water of the River Ayr a vibrant red appearance when the sun shines directly onto it! Peden’s Cove, a set of steps carved into the red sandstone cliffs, is reached a mile along the footpath.

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distance 4.01 km Vertical gain +63 m Vertical drop -61 m Duration 1h20 Moderate Moderate
Starting point Starting point in South Ayrshire

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Organisation / Walking Club / Mountain guide
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distance 10.42 km Vertical gain +68 m Vertical drop -107 m Duration 3h10 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in South Ayrshire

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

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