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The River Forth looking downstream from the wooden footbridge at map ref. NS 529 998
The River Forth looking downstream from the wooden footbridge at map ref. NS 529 998

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Route No. 645 - Thursday 20 October 2016
Aberfoyle, Manse Road, Doon Hill, Easter Park,
River Forth, Disused railway path circuit - 7km
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL46 The Trossachs

Note: The Scottish Outdoor Access Code applies


Heading out of the main Aberfoyle car park towards Manse Road
Heading out of the main Aberfoyle car park towards Manse Road

Turning onto Manse Road from the car park
Turning onto Manse Road from the car park

The car park lies between the Main Street (A821) and the River Forth. We left the car park from the eastern end and turned into Manse Road. The Rob Roy Way enters Aberfoyle along this road from the Loch Ard Forest.

My wife and I are invited to a friend's wedding in Falkirk tomorrow, Friday, and we have been staying this week in a holiday cottage in Aberfoyle. Today we walked from our cottage to the large 'Pay & Display' car park in Aberfoyle.

Manse Road on the rouite of the Rob Roy Way
Manse Road on the route of the Rob Roy Way

Looking from the road bridge on Manse Road over the River Forth
Looking from the road bridge on Manse Road over the River Forth

The cemetery at the old church on Manse Road
The cemetery at the old church on Manse Road


The old church with its roof removed

The remains of the old Aberfoyle church were visible from the cemetery gates. A new church was built in the town in the 1870's to serve the growing number of tourists coming to the town by train and the old church roof was removed. There are two iron coffins at the old church entrance, called 'mortsafes', used to protect bodies from body snatchers prior to their burial.

As we walked along Manse Road we passed a large cemetery on our left. The Minister at the church here in the late 1600's was the Rev. Kirk, nick-named 'The Fairy Minister' because of the book he had published about fairies. Based on his writings the tall pine tree on top of Doon Hill is believed to this day to be the haunt of fairies.


Manse Road by the cemetery

Two cast iron 'mortsafe' coffins at the door to the old church
Two cast iron 'mortsafe' coffins at the door to the old church

Continuing our walk from the cemetery along Manse Road
Continuing our walk from the cemetery along Manse Road

Our turning off Manse Road towards Doon Hill
Our turning off Manse Road towards Doon Hill

Stony track beginning to climb up into the forest
Stony track beginning to climb up into the forest

After a few hundred metres the tarmac road became a stony forest access track and began climbing up into the forest. At map ref. NN 522 000 there was a sign indicating a path up Doon Hill.

Beyond the cemetery the road bent round to our left and after another 100m it bent back again to our right. Here we kept left turning away from Manse Road to follow an access road heading eastwards to Doon Hill.

The road heading to the forest and Doon Hill
The road heading to the forest and Doon Hill

Sign at the turning off the forest track to a path up Doon Hill
Sign at the turning off the forest track to a path up Doon Hill

Turning off the forest track to a footpath through the forest to Doon Hill
Turning off the forest track to a footpath through the forest to Doon Hill

Footpath climbing up to Doon Hill
Footpath climbing up to Doon Hill

Step up Doon Hill
Step up Doon Hill

We were approaching the conical top of Doon Hill now and the path became steeper with short flights of steps. The path then turned left and wound its way round the hillside climbing up to a little plateau on top of the hill. There was the 'Minister's Pine' clearly identified by the ropes around the trunk bearing scores of ribbon tokens and messages fastened there by people coming to the tree to make a wish. Belief in the fairies is obviously still flourishing.

We turned left off the forest access track and followed the footpath climbing up Doon Hill. After about 100m we passed a 'Fairy House' carved from a tree stump by the path. Away to our right through the trees there were two red deer does but the spotted us straight away and disappeared into the forest. What they were doing here on their own and not in a stag's harem at this time of year I don't know.

Fairy house carved from a tree stump by the path up Doon Hill
Fairy house carved from a tree stump by the path

Path around the top of Doon Hill
Path around the top of Doon Hill

The 'Minister's Pine' at the top od Doon Hill festooned with wishing tokens to the fairies
The 'Minister's Pine' at the top of Doon Hill festooned with wishing tokens to the fairies

Returning to the forest track from Doon Hill
Returning to the forest track from Doon Hill

Bridge over Park Burn
Bridge over Park Burn


Looking back to the forest track at
the start of the path up to Easter Park

At the junction we followed the way-mark posts to our left for about 150m. Then, again following the way-mark posts, we turned right off the track to follow a narrow path climbing up the hillside through the trees. After about 150m we came to another forest access track and turned left following the way-mark posts.

We returned from the wishing tree along the same path back to the forest access track. At the track we turned left and continues our walk towards the part of the forest called Easter Park. Our route was the 'Blue' route well signed with way-mark posts with a blue ring round the top. At map ref. NN 523 998 we came to a junction in the track.

Re-joining the forest track from the Doon Hill path
Re-joining the forest track from the Doon Hill path


At map ref. NN 523 998 we came to a junction in the track

Path through the forest up to Easter Park
Path through the forest up to Easter Park

Turning left onto a forest track at Easter Park
Turning left onto a forest track at Easter Park

From Easter Park the track became a footpath across Fairy Knowe
From Easter Park the track became a footpath across Fairy Knowe

Footpath dropping down from Fairy Knowe
Footpath dropping down from Fairy Knowe

Joining a forest track at map ref. NS 529 992
Joining a forest track at map ref. NS 529 992

At this track (map ref. NS 529 992) we turned right still following the way-mark posts and walked along the track for about 100m. Here the River Forth was about 20m away on our left. There was a way-mark post here and we turned left at the post and walked to the river bank where there was a riverside footpath.

The track soon became just a path over a hill through a part of the forest called Fairy Knowe. As we continued along the path it began to drop down the hillside and after a few hundred metres we came to another forest access track at map ref. NS 529 992.

Footpath across Fairy Knowe
Footpath across Fairy Knowe

Footpath dropping down from Fairy Knowe
Footpath dropping down from Fairy Knowe

Forest track leading to the River Forth
Forest track leading to the River Forth

Joining the footpath along the bank of the River Forth heading upstream
Joining the footpath along the bank of the River Forth heading upstream

Footpath along the bank of the River Forth heading upstream
Footpath along the bank of the River Forth heading upstream

Footpath along the bank of the River Forth heading upstream
Footpath along the bank of the River Forth heading upstream

After 600m the riverside path joined a forest access track
After 600m the riverside path joined a forest access track

We continued along the access track for another 250m to map ref. NS 528 997. Here there was a large sign showing the way to Aberfoyle. We turned right off the track to follow a path in the direction to Aberfoyle.

We turned left at the riverbank and followed the path beside the river heading upstream back towards Aberfoyle. After almost 600m the riverside path joined a stony forest access track.

Footpath along the bank of the River Forth heading upstream
Footpath along the bank of the River Forth heading upstream

River Forth seen from the river side path
River Forth seen from the river side path

Following the forest access track
Following the forest access track

Our turning off the forest access track heading for Aberfoyle
The turning to our right off the forest access track heading for Aberfoyle

Path leading us back to the River Forth
Path leading us back to the River Forth

River Forth looking upstream from the bridge
River Forth looking upstream from the bridge

Fenced path from the footbridge
Fenced path from the footbridge

We crossed the bridge and continued along the fenced path between the fields for another 250m to join a footpath & cycleway along the bed of a disused railway at map ref. NS 531 999. Along the way there were cattle grazing in the long grass & woodland on our right, very picturesque.

We followed the path for about 250m to a wooden bridge across the River Forth. There were lovely views of the trees in their autumn colours on the riverside both upstream & downstream from the bridge.

Footbridge over the River Forth
Footbridge over the River Forth

River Forth looking downstream from the bridge
River Forth looking downstream from the bridge

Cattle grazing in the long grass & woodland on our right
Cattle grazing in the long grass & woodland on our right

Joining the footpath/cycleway along the disused railway
Joining the footpath/cycleway along the disused railway

Sign at the railway path
Sign at the railway path

We followed the railway path towards Aberfoyle
We followed the railway path towards Aberfoyle

Bridge over a small burn just before the car park
Bridge over a small burn just before the car park

The whole walk had been about 7km and it had taken us two and a half hours to walk including a look at the Minister's Fairy Pine Tree and as usual far too many photos.

At the railway path we turned left and followed the path for about 1.4km to the edge of the large car park area at Aberfoyle (map ref. NN 523 008). We walked across the car park at the end of our walk and returned to our holiday cottage.

We followed the railway path towards Aberfoyle
We followed the railway path towards Aberfoyle

Craigmore seen from the Railway path
Craigmore seen from the Railway path

The railway path a few metres before the car park
The railway path a few metres before the car park

The main car park in Aberfoyle at the end of our walk
The main car park in Aberfoyle at the end of our walk

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