Go for a stroll at Heatherhall
It’s easy to reach Heatherhall Wood from Ladybank village and the shady gravel paths that wind enticingly through the pine trees are wide and flat. The wood is a magnet for wildlife – look for red squirrels leaping between the trees, listen for woodpeckers and savour the sweet smells of heather and blaeberry in late summer.
There’s plenty of history here too. Look out for the Rossie Drain, dug by hand in 1806 to drain an ancient loch to create farmland. Today the watercourse is home to frogs, newts and rare water voles and is a favourite night-time flight path for Daubenton’s bats hunting for insects. Use the Heatherhall Wood map to help you explore.
Please note, we will be felling larch trees to slow the spread of larch disease. We will close some areas of the forest whilst machinery is operating, but will keep other areas open for recreational access. Felling will begin in November and should be completed in early 2017. Please read the leaflet (PDF 1MB)and keep checking this page for updates.
There are plenty of places to eat, drink and shop in nearby Ladybank village. You’ll find public toilets at Victoria Park on Beech Avenue and, during opening hours, at Ladybank Library and Ladybank railway station.
Mountain biking trails
Exploring Heatherhall Wood
The wide, flat gravel paths through the wood are ideal for easy strolls and family cycling, as well as running and horse-riding. There are also benches along the way where you can catch your breath, enjoy a picnic and watch out for wildlife. Dogs are very welcome at Heatherhall too, but please clear up after them so that everyone can enjoy the paths.
Watching out for wildlife
This wood is a haven for wildlife and an important stronghold for red squirrels. Watch the canopy for leaping squirrels or spot them drinking at the Rossie Drain. The chatter of woodland birds, including coaltits, goldcrests and wrens, fills the air and listen out for the drumming of the great spotted woodpecker (or the ‘squeaky gate’ call of their chicks in spring). Visit at dawn or dusk for the chance to see roe deer, bats and tawny owls. In summer look out for brightly-coloured dragonflies along the Drain and spot a host of fungi and juicy blaeberries amid the heather here in autumn.
Look closely as you explore the wood and you might be surprised at what you find. The deep ditch and wooded bank along the southern edge of the wood is the Rossie Drain, cut by hand in 1806 to drain the Rossie Loch that formed here after the last ice age. This is said to have brought a flourishing eel-fishing industry to an end but created an area of rich farmland instead. The Drain is now a watery highway through the wood for wildlife, including water voles and the occasional otter.
Other banks and ditches in the wood are even older. They were built to enclose grazing animals long before the trees were planted. You might also spot another section of raised bank between the car park and the Drain. This was part of the Fife & Kinross Railway that carried passengers and goods from Ladybank to Kinross until the 1950s.
How to get here
Heatherhall Wood is on the western edge of Ladybank village, near Cupar in Fife. It’s just a short walk from the village and station; download the Ladybank map to plan your route.
The main entrance to the wood is just off the B937, west of Ladybank. Take the turning signposted Shiells, Dunshalt and Auchtermuchty and you’ll see the entrance and car park on your right, at grid reference NO 292094. Please note that there is a barrier for vehicles over 2m high at the car park entrance.
KY15 7UH is the nearest postcode.
There are regular trains and buses between Edinburgh and Dundee and Perth that stop at Ladybank Railway Station. Find details at Traveline Scotland.
Why not explore the rest of Ladybank Woods? Choose Monkstown Wood for an easy circuit, explore the informal paths to find ponds at Cairnfield Muir and Gravelpit Wood or discover an avenue of elegant old beeches amid the pine at South Annsmuir.
Alternatively, head to Devilla, another great red squirrel stronghold, or choose Benarty, where you can climb the wooded slopes of Benarty Hill for superb views over the Lomond Hills, Loch Leven and the Firth of Forth, or the atmospheric pine forest beside a sweeping sandy beach at Tentsmuir.
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For questions and complaints, please contact us directly.