There are lots of wonderful places to visit in North Ayrshire and further afield. You could easily spend the day driving around seeing interesting landmarks or visiting museums and galleries to broaden your mind.
However, one of our favourite ways to get the most out of our beautiful countryside is simply to go for a walk. You can get off the beaten track and see views that just aren’t accessible in the car.
We’re all being encouraged to walk more these days. It’s good for the environment and it keeps us healthy as well. We’ve heard that it helps to keep our minds healthy too and we certainly agree; a walk on a fresh autumn morning always makes us feel more cheerful as the nights draw in.
For some of you, walking may not be a choice. If you’ve brought your faithful dog with you, they’re going to need walking whether you like it or not! Thankfully we’re surrounded by beautiful countryside so a quick morning walk is on your doorstep.
Here are our favourite local walks, whether you want to see the sights, enjoy the great outdoors or just take the dog somewhere new.
If you’d just like to get out and about locally, the ‘Three Towns’ area, comprised of Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenson, is hard to beat. It’s close by and you can walk on solid paths and pavements if you choose to. You’ve also the option of walking on the beach if you prefer.
You can just go and wander around, but North Ayrshire Council have also produced a series of walking guides. The ‘Three Towns Health Walks’ guide gives a range of short walks which take in some of the best views and landmarks. There are also guides for walks in other towns and elsewhere in the county. These are available from their website: http://www.north-ayrshire.gov.uk/resident/leisure-parks-and-events/outdoor-activities/walking.aspx
Eglinton Country Park is just down the coast in Irvine, so you’ll need to drive to get there. There are walks for all abilities, ranging from a gentle stroll to more demanding woodland or coastal hikes. The whole park covers 400 acres so there’s plenty of room to explore. Dogs are welcome as long as they’re kept on the lead.
They also offer electric scooter hire for visitors with mobility problems. You can book these in advance if you or your family want to get out and about but need some extra help.
Kelburn Castle is definitely worth a visit. The castle was built in the 13th century but has been decorated by a team of Brazilian artists. We won’t spoil the surprise but it’s a colourful place!
The walks are spectacular, with the Kel burn being a particular highlight. This is a challenging walk as the gorge is 800m high and descends via waterfalls to the sea. If you’d prefer something gentler, the castle gardens are stunning and the castle itself is well worth a visit too.
If you’re feeling fit, there are some challenging walks available. The Irvine and Kilwinning New Town Trail is a 12 mile route but it links Irvine, Kilwinning and Eglinton Country Park. The route is on surfaced paths and is designed to take in residential areas as well as the town centres. If you don’t fancy a long hike you can always choose a shorter section.
We hope we’ve inspired you – if you have any favourite walks to share we’d love to hear about them!