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Route One – Commonty Walk and Doune Trail
|Route speeded up 3 times. 3:40||Route speeded up 7 times. 1:30||Route in full length. 10:58|
Route Two – Deanston Mill Lade
(2¼ miles/3.4 km, 1 hr 15 mins)
A flat linear route along the historic mill lade at the planned industrial village of Deanston.
From the Information Centre, cross the road passing the Mercat Cross, then continue down George Street to meet the A84 at the Muir Hall. Bear left onto the A84 and head down to and over the Bridge of Teith, where great views east to Doune Castle can be seen. Take care crossing the bridge, as there is only a very narrow footpath.
Robert Spittal had the bridge built in 1535 after he was refused crossing by the ferryman, because he had mislaid his purse and could not pay. On the bridge, a shield with a large pair of scissors denotes Spittal’s role as a tailor to Queen Margaret.
Once over the bridge, immediately take the road to the right towards Deanston and join the footpath. Keep right at the fork to Deanston. Stay on the path and walk parallel to the river Teith for ½ mile (800m).
The view ahead opens to the sizeable old mill buildings at the entrance to Deanston. The mill, established in 1785 by the Buchanan Brothers, was purchased and updated in the 1807 by James Finlay & Company. This was the first integrated cotton mill in Britain. The building now houses Deanston Distillery and on the left of the entrance is an interpretation board.
Continuing onwards, the road turns sharply left, but keep going straight ahead and past the cottages, following the path. Continue on and soon at the mill lade is reached.
Deanston Mill Lade (Jane Sumner)
Historically this provided water to the mill wheel for generating power and also for washing the cotton material. Today the lade continues to be used in the distillery for electricity generation.
Beyond the gate are the sluices and an impressive weir built across the river in 1820’s by the influential mill manager, James Smith. To return to Doune, retrace your steps back along the mill lane and across the bridge of Teith.
Route Three – Doune Castle and River Teith
(1¾ miles/2.8km, 1 hour)
A scenic route passing Doune Castle, following the river bank and returning to the village. Some narrow and muddy sections with short slopes. Not wheelchair-accessible (the Castle can be seen by entering via the car park, and then progressing on down to the river.)
Exiting the Information Centre turn left, and walk along to the zebra crossing, then cross it. Go down Castlehill Court past the Co-op, then left into Castlehill, and right through a gate onto a sports field. On the left before the gate is an interpretation board about the Roman fort discovered in 1983.
Work on the site since then has revealed evidence of a stores or hospital building, and one archaeological survey brought to light a piece of finely engraved bronze horse harness. A leaflet with more details about the surveys made and the Romans in Doune is available in the Kilmadock Information Centre in Doune.
There is an unusual view of the medieval castle through the trees as you follow the waymarkers through the woodland and round to the car park. Beware of traffic near the car park.
The route now passes to the left of the castle then left past the water treatment works, through a wonderful blackthorn tunnel to “The Mouth of Ardoch”, where it joins the River Teith.
The Mouth of Ardoch (Jane Sumner)
In early summer the grassland area around the point has a superb variety of wildflowers including yellow rattle, pignut, red campion and stitchwort. The earliest settlements in Doune are believed to have been on the banks of the Ardoch.
From here follow the riverbank upstream for around ½ a mile, crossing over a wee bridge and through the kissing gate, before passing “Gamekeeper’s Cottage” and veering right up a slope. Turn right onto “Dan Doo’s Brae” on the A84.
(Alternatively, turn left downhill towards the lovely old Bridge of Teith, which is worth a detour if you have the time.)
Route Four – Doune Ponds
A short walk to the peaceful woodlands around Doune Ponds, which has an all-abilities path network.
Doune Ponds (Jane Sumner)
Exiting the Information Centre turn right along Balkerach St, and then turn right into Station Wynd. You will see the Doune Ponds car park on the left.
Doune Ponds were developed on the site of an old sand and gravel quarry, and since 1982 have been developed as a nature area by Moray estates, and Stirling Council. Much of the later improvements have been carried out by the Doune Community Woodland Group volunteers. The reserve is dominated by three large ponds and extensive regeneration of silver birch and willow and contains nature trails, viewing hides, picnic tables, a dipping pond and pleasant walks. If feeling energetic, you can also take the 75 steps from the rear of the reserve up onto the Commonty Walk.
A Doune Ponds Guide is available from the Information Centre. Once you’ve enjoyed a walk around, or just having a picnic and feeding the ducks (please no bread!), return to the car park.
Near the car park is a standing stone locally known as the “Deils Heid”. It is thought to date from the bronze age, as is a burial chamber or a cist containing a child’s skeleton. These were discovered during the excavation of the Bluebell Wood, which was once where the central pond now stands.
To return, walk down Station Wynd, and turn left along Balkerach St to the Information Centre.
Route Five – Old Kilmadock Cemetery
(4 miles/6km, 1½ hours on foot)
NB This route passes through fields with sheep. During lambing time (March to May) ewes are easily stressed. To help reduce the risk of miscarriage or abandonment, please consider not going into the field around the cemetery. Do not let dogs into the field at this time.
Following the route of an ancient Right of Way, this is a pleasant walk through woodland, farmland and along the river bank to the ancient cemetery of Kilmadock, returning via Buchany and along the edge of the A84.
Exiting the Information Centre turn right along Balkerach Street until you meet the A84. Cross the road at the crossing and turn right along the pavement. Cross Fir Road, leave the pavement and turn left onto the path through the woods. Continue on a vehicle track following it round to the left and exit the woods.
Turn left and stay on the path between the woods and the fence. Turn right when you reach a T-junction and follow the narrow path over a small stream and on through beautiful birch woods. Go left along the farm track and fork left towards a fence and follow this towards the river. Go through the gate and walk upstream, through three fields following the river. The church and cemetery date back to around 1560. Most of the old church in the cemetery was pulled down and the stone used in the new church, built in Doune in 1743. Some medieval remains are still clearly visible.
To return to Doune, either retrace your outward routes
from the cemetery, head uphill to the second prominent ash tree. Pass through the left-hand gate and follow the old road downhill and along the edge of the Annet Burn until you meet the A84 again. Carefully cross A84 and take the pavement back to Doune via the hamlet of Buchany. This is a busy road and the pavement is narrow in places.
Below is a video of the route from start to finish.
Route Six – Dunblane
(3¾ miles/6km, 2 hours on foot, ¾ hour cycling)
A linear route, following Sustrans route 76 into Dunblane. It is fairly well surfaced with some slopes.
Exiting the Information Centre, turn left and walk along to the zebra crossing. Turn left into King Street leaving the church to your left, and follow the edge of Moray Park, (entering it at the play park or just around the corner). Turn right onto the old railway, now a cycleway.
The railway was first opened in 1858 as a single line running from Dunblane to Callander, Killin and eventually to Oban. In 1901 the track between Dunblane and Doune was converted to double line, and a large impressive station was built at Doune. The scale of the station was in part due to the fact that Sir James Thompson, chairman of the Caledonian Railway, lived in nearby Inverardoch House! The line ceased to operate in October 1965 as a result of the “Beeching” rationalisation of the railways.
Follow the route east for1½ miles (2.7 km) until meeting up with a minor road. Turn left onto the road and proceed downhill and across the Ardoch burn to the junctions first with a minor road and then with the A820. Carefully cross the A820 and follow the old right of way for 400 metres to join up with the Old Doune Road. Turn left at the top of this track and follow the Old Doune Road, passing Greenyards Farm before crossing over the A9 on a high bridge. To get to the city centre follow Old Doune Road ahead and down to the bottom of the hill. To return, either retrace your steps or ask someone to collect you by car. (There is a bus service, but they are few and far between, so check before leaving Doune.)