During 2019 the IFF Team and Raeburn Farquhar Bowen worked closely with local communities around the Inner Forth to develop a suite of day-long walks and cycles to waymark and promote. Each trail uses existing paths and tracks to encourage local people and visitors to the area to explore the landscape by foot or wheel, and discover some of the many hidden gems to be found around the Inner Forth. These include nature hotspots, historic buildings, riverside views, cultural landmarks and simply places to escape from the bustle of urban life. Whilst designed to be day-long explorations, routes can be broken into shorter sections. Download the free trail leaflets and GPX files below.
16.9 miles/27.2km 917ft/279m ascent.Spanning the Forth valley at the historic first bridging point of Stirling, this walking circuit would also suit a cycle journey. However the Gillie’s Hill section is a little rough in places, so if you’re on a bike you may need to get off and walk occasionally.
Please be aware that phytophthora ramorum has been identified in Gillies Hill Community Woodland (details here 01/11/21). Please adhere to any path closures, diversions or other measures that may be in place. This disease is spread by infected plant material, so Scottish Forestry advice (found here) is that to help limit the spread to other sections of woodland (or other woodlands), ideally you should remove excess mud and plant material from footwear, wheels//tyres and equipment before cleaning with water and disinfectant. Please consider doing this at home if facilities are not present on-site.
ROUTE 1 GPX FILE
Route 2: Birding by Bike
34.2 miles/55km 901ft/274mA loop of the upper Forth estuary, crossing the river via the road bridge at Kincardine and returning across the footbridge at Cambuskenneth. The route takes in several wetland nature reserves as it winds across the lower carselands of the Forth. It’s worth taking binoculars if you have them.
ROUTE 2 GPX FILE
Route 3: The Ochils Fault and Forth Inches
21.7 miles/37km 913ft/278m ascent.Starting and finishing at Alloa Railway station, this journey winds its way through the Wee County taking in contrasting landscapes.
ROUTE 3 GPX FILE
Route 4: FifeThirtyFive
35.5 miles/56km 2141ft/652m Exploring the western part of the Kingdom of Fife between Dunfermline and Kincardine, this challenging route takes in historic harbours, rural estates and forestry.
Route 5: Abbey to Sea
11.8 miles/19km 667ft/203m ascent.A walking loop between Dunfermline Abbey and the once bustling harbours of West Fife, which takes in five historic estates.
Route 6: Beneath the Three Bridges
19.5 miles/31km 1029ft/313m ascent A loop around the southern shore of the Forth, linking the mining landscape of West Lothian with the estates of Dundas Castle and Hopetoun House, and the coastline between Blackness and Queensferry.
Route 7: Bo'ness and Linlithgow Ramble
20 miles/32km 1315ft/400m ascent. A circuit that starts and ends at Linlithgow Station which can be explored on foot or by bicycle. The route skirts Linlithgow Loch, travelling to Bo'ness and back via Airngath Hill, Bo'ness Foreshore, Kinneil Woods and the River Avon.
Route 8: Roman Falkirk and the Carron
23 miles/37km 1030ft/400m ascent Encompassing the Antonine Wall and Grangemouth Docks, this loop has many hidden gems of urban and estuary wildlife.
ROUTE 8 GPX FILE
Route 9: Stravaig the Forth
76.5 miles/123km 3223ft/982m ascent. An alternative to the Round the Forth NCN76, taking the adventurous strviger deep into the countryside bounding either bank of the Firth of Forth, to explore quient rural tracks and lanes and accumulate a Munro's worth of ascent.
With the ‘Wanderings and Windings’ trails launching in October 2019, we wanted to see who had been out exploring the hidden gems of the Inner Forth landscape. A call for keen photographers to share their pictures embodying the spirit of adventure and exploration was raised with the #WinterWanderings Photography Competition. Running from just before Christmas 2019, right through the holidays until early January 2020, we received over twenty fantastic images that captured the many faces of the Inner Forth – from woodland cycles in Fife and riverside ambles in Clackmannanshire to candid moments with wildlife in Falkirk and exploring derelict buildings in Stirling. Five shortlisted entries were then shared on our Facebook and Twitter accounts for a public vote which gathered fantastic support – thank you to everyone who took part!
The winning entry was ‘Day Break at Kinneill’ by Mhairi Mcainsh; depicting an early morning walk with her dog on Route 7: Bo’ness & Linlithgow Ramble. The two runners up were; ‘Bo’ness in Winter’ showing a fantastically frozen scene by Charles Colliar and ‘Evening Reflections’ by Gordon Dochard showing a glassy Gartmorn Dam reflecting the evening’s shadows.
Image: 'Daybreak at Kinneil' by Mhairi Mcainsh
Image: 'Bo'ness in Winter' by Charles Colliar Image: 'Evening Reflections' by Gordon Dochard
Congratulations to all the winners and special thanks to everyone who took the time to enter their photographs. We hope that you will continue to explore the Wanderings and Windings trails and continue to share your adventures with us through social media.
Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, Inner Forth Futures received a National Heritage Lottery Fund grant for this exciting heritage project during 2019. Assisted by consultants Raeburn Farquhar Bowen, we worked with local people, communities, walking and cycling groups, local authorities and a host of other organisations to help develop the routes. We launched the 'Wanderings and Windings' through a series of free events, a photography competion and a pixilation style film that was created through a collaboration between film makers D Fie Foe and Falkirk High School. You can read our project evaluation report to our main funder, National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) here.
During 2019 we held 12 co-creation sessions in 10 locations around the area. Nearly 100 people attended the sessions, giving up their time and energy to share their knowledge and experience of the area. They told us about their favourite places, routes, views and pitstops; the muddy paths, overgrown tracks and busy rat-runs to avoid; and how Wanderings and Windings might work together with existing and new trails around the area to help create a network of routes that could make the Inner Forth one of the best places in Scotland for walking and cycling. People also helped feed into the process by joining our Wanderings and Windings Facebook group. Our thanks go to the many, many people who helped us develop the routes. Their input was crucial to the project, and we are extremely grateful to all of them.
In October 2019 we ran a mini festival of events to help launch the Wanderings and Windings and encourage as many people as possible to enjoy a micro-adventure here in the Inner Forth. Over 100 people came along to the events!
To help explore the hidden heritage along the Wanderings and Windings, we appointed film makers D Fie Foe to deliver a collaborative arts project aimed at High School pupils within the Inner Forth area. This bespoke moving image collaboration engaged young people in local heritage (natural, built and/or cultural) and allowed them to share their interpretation through creative methods. D Fie Foe worked with Falkirk High School over six sessions, some indoors, some on location on parts of the new Wanderings and Windings routes. The sessions were led by the film experts to help students explore the Inner Forth local area, design micro natural animations, develop pixillation skills and have fun outdoors. Through the sessions the young people learned more not only about film making, but of course about their local area and were able to produce a film in and about this special place. The project had a strong environmental awareness component and was also valuable for students enthusiastic about digital production and creative careers.
The film was shown at all our launch events, and you can view it our You Tube channel here.