This walk takes in part of the River Gryffe, and meanders through fields and woods. It passes the ruined Kirk of Kilallan which bears the date of 1635, and the current Houston & Killellan Kirk building which dates from 1875.
On a clear day there are lovely views of the Kilpatrick hills and views over Glasgow.
Starting Point for the Walk:The parking area in Ardgryfe Crescent NS 417 662. Park on the road adjacent to a long stretch of grass near the river.
Getting there: 15 miles / 35 minutes
Take your favourite route to the Clyde Tunnel, and the A739 and follow the directions for M8 (Greenock). Take Junction 28A signposted Irvine (A737). After 3.4 miles take the exit signposted B789 (Johnston)/A761 (Bridge of Weir) and turn right onto B789 (Houston). ***
Continue straight on through the traffic lights, then at the roundabout sit in the righthand lane and take the 3rd exit onto Barochan Road (B789). Continue on this road (there is a sharp left-hand bend) and after entering the 30mph limit on the outskirts of Houston continue through the traffic lights. At the roundabout, take 2nd exit onto Houston Road (B790) and take the third right (after ½mile) into Ardgryfe Crescent and continue until a long stretch of grass at the river on the right hand side. Park on the road.
*** There are no toilets at the start of the walk. Morrisons in Johnstone have facilities. To get there, take the left lane of the slip road and turn left at the lights into the lane for the supermarket. After visiting, take the right lane at the traffic lights and turn right onto the B789 (Houston) and continue as above.
The Walk: Houston Loop – 7.7 miles (12 km)
The walk can be muddy at the beginning, so boots and poles are recommended.
The walk starts at the River Gryfe and follows it for a short distance until it reaches a ford. Turn left (away from the river) and enter a wooded area before crossing a field and heading down towards a private road. Continue along this road and cross the B789 (Houston Road), which can be busy, and continue straight ahead to follow a Right of Way between two fields.
Continue on the Right of Way as it rises slightly uphill towards Chapel Road. Turn right and walk along this road to the end (near the entrance to Barochan House/Farm) and then head left up Corsliehill Road (single track) which passes the site of the old Barochan Cross (now in Paisley Abbey). Cross the B789 (Barochan Road) and continue past Corsliehill House. Continue on this walking lane, which meanders up and down, until a pathway on the right leads down to the ruins of the old Kilallan Kirk.
After returning to the lane, continue to the end of the road and turn left onto Kilallan Road. Keep on this road, veering to the left before reaching the B789 on the outskirts of Houston. Cross the B789 into the narrow Kilmacolm Road and at the end bare left into Kirk Road to pass the Houston and Killellan Kirk where there is an opportunity to buy coffee nearby.
Suitably refreshed, continue along the Kirk Road until the junction. Cross the road and do a short dogleg into Quarry Brae. Follow this until the main road (B790) and cross it. Then take the footpath leading left back towards the River Gryfe and the cars.