This walk starts at Castle Semple Loch in the Castle Semple Country Park. The park is part of the much larger Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park. The regional park covers 280 km2. The walk makes use of quiet back roads and cycle tracks. There is a ruined “castle” which dates from the 16th century which can be seen but not accessed.
Starting Point for the Walk:
The car park at Castle Semple Country Park – OS Reference NS 356 589.
By Train – 25 minutes
There is a regular train service from Glasgow Central to Lochwinnoch. It is a ¾ mile walk from the station to the Starting Point.
By Car – 20 miles/32 minutes
Take your favourite route to the M8 Westbound towards Greenock. Once on the M8, prepare to exit at Junction 29, onto the A737 [Irvine] (that is immediately after the Glasgow Airport exit). Continue on the A737 until the Roadhead Roundabout and take the 3rd exit onto the A760 towards Lochwinnoch. Pass the station on the left, just over the railway bridge, and the RSPB Reserve on the right, and after less than a mile turn right onto Lochlip Road. Continue straight on until you see the Castle Semple Country Park sign and turn right into the large car park. There are toilets in the car park (but these are sometimes closed) as well as in the Visitor Centre at the end of the car park.
The Walk: Lochwinnoch/Kilbirnie Loop – 8.9 miles (14 km)
The walk is on small back roads, and cycle track so is not muddy.
Head out of the car park and turn right into St Winnoc Road, pass under the bridge and then take the second left into High Street. Continue down High street and take the second right into Calder Street. Continue up Calder Street past Lochwinnoch Primary School and turn left to cross the small bridge. Having crossed the bridge turn left again. This is a continuation of Calder Street – a little confusing! Take a right turn at Lochwinnoch Golf Club into Corsefield Road. Continue along this road through all the ups and downs, and ignoring turns to the left and right. There are lovely views to be had over the Garnock Valley on a clear day. There are also a number of interesting small holdings and farms along the way.
On approaching Kilbirnie, the name of the road changes to Dipple Road. Continue on until the junction with Stoneyholm Road (A760). Carefully cross the A760 and follow the signs for the cycle track. The return route uses the cycle track with the lochs on our right hand side. This section of the route affords lovely views over the lochs. On the outskirts of Lochwinnoch follow the cycle route signs which lead back to the car park at Castle Semple Loch, the starting point of the walk.