News, stories and reports from Forestry Commission Scotland and the National Forest Estate

Wilderness experience for the Central Belt population

A new trail has been officially opened in the Kilpatrick Hills as part of a project is to increase the number of visitors enjoying the beauty and wilderness of the Kilpatrick Hills.

The 8km route joins the National Forest Estate to the popular John Muir Way which stretches 134 miles between Helensburgh and Dunbar. The John Muir Way is an easy and enjoyable way for the 3 million people who live in the Central Belt to enjoy the outdoors every day by foot, bicycle, and even by horseback in some places. 

The new section offers walkers and cyclists a wilder experience taking them from the Edenmill farm shop then around the Burncrooks Reservoir and back.

A section of the route has been developed to offer walkers a more wilderness experience as a large part of the route currently follows minor public roads after it leaves the West highland way and heads West towards Balloch.

john muir way

Visitors will be able to enjoy the views over the expansive hill ranges overseeing Dumbarton and Clydebank. There’s also the option to use public transport to complete the section of the John Muir Way from Strathblane to Balloch.

Part of the work involved upgrading just over 2km of existing track, and the rest was built from scratch which involved using a helicopter to airlift three bridges, bags of aggregate, concrete and cement to create the path.

The £500,000 route was funded by Forestry Commission Scotland, sportScotland and Scottish Natural Heritage and is part of the Central Scotland Green Network project.

Alan Stevenson, Head of Communities, Recreation and Tourism at Forest Enterprise Scotland said:  “This a great section of the John Muir Way giving amazing views, a sense of space, rugged beauty and wildlife.

“If you want to get away from it all, recharge the batteries and enjoy a more challenging route then this is a must do.”

The route is way-marked with John Muir Way signs, and a website, book, leaflets and map gives information on completing all or part of the trail.

john muir way sign

The new path extension will deliver on the Scottish Government’s aspirations as part of the Central Scotland Green Network action plan, part of a 40 year initiative with a remit to change the face of Central Scotland.  

The Kilpatrick Hills is one of the Commonwealth Woods, a legacy of the 2014 Commonwealth Games for generations of people to enjoy and has received financial support through Legacy 2014: Active Places.