About 30 km of tracks and paths have been joined together to create varied trails through the beautiful countryside near the village of Barr. All trails start and finish at the Barr Trails car park.
- Fairy Knowe Trail (sign-posted) 5.5 km / 3.5 miles
Other trails (partially sign-posted):
- Dinmurchie Trail 5.1 km / 3.25 miles
- Devil’s Footprint Trail 6.8 km / 4.25 miles
- Changue Forest Trail 13.1 km / 8.25 miles
In partnership with Forestry Commission Scotland, South Ayrshire Council developed, promotes and maintains the paths network centred on Barr.
Fairy Knowe Trail 5.5 km / 3.5 miles
Down the track from the car park the walk follows the Water of Gregg past Changue House to a point where the track forks sharp right and ascends to the forest. Continuing through the trees for 500yds the route bears left along a woodland trail. From this elevated route overlooking the Gregg Valley occasional views are glimpsed through the trees over the Changue Forest to the hills beyond. Once clear of the trees and on to the open hill an impressive vista opens up to the east.
Haggis Hill, Rowantree Hill and Pinbreck Hill form an impressive backdrop and beyond the Nick of the Balloch, an exciting hill pass on the road from Crosshill and Barr, which meets the Straiton road at the Rowantree Toll. Descending to a wooden footbridge the burn is crossed at an attractive waterfall and the way continues down along a narrow ridge to the valley below. Care should be taken when negotiating this ridge, as the path is steep and often slippery.
Traversing the burn you reach a delightful spot called the Fairy Knowe where it is worth pausing for a minute and looking back up the gully to where the burn rushes down a spectacular cleft in the hills. At this point you have the option, either to walk back down the Gregg Valley to the start or if you feel energetic you can turn right and continue along the Devil’s Trail to make a longer yet rewarding excursion.
Dinmurchie Trail 5.1 km / 3.25 miles
The village of Barr is known by local people as “The Barr”, which is thought to mean the confluence of the waters. If you are lucky, you may see some of the wildlife found in this area; including deer, foxes, hares, kestrels and buzzards.
Devil's Footprint Trail 6.8 km / 4.25 miles
Legend has it that near High Changue, there is the site of a famous battle between the Laird of Changue and the Devil. The story goes that Changue was getting short of money and he decided to make a bargain with the Devil. He would sell his soul in return for great wealth. The Laird’s fortunes changed and he prospered for many years. When the time came to deliver his soul the Laird reneged on his bargain and refused to go. The Devil proceeded to lay hold of him, but Changue placing his Bible on the turf and drawing a circle with his sword around him, sturdily and, as it turned out, successfully defied his opponent. The story must be true because to this day on the hill above High Changue you can still see the Devil’s footprints, the circle drawn by the sword and the mark of the Bible clearly visible on the grass.
Changue Forest Trail 13.1 km / 8.25 miles
The word “Changue” of Gaelic origin means: the large rounded hill-shoulder of the nigh impenetrable inner row of storm-swept mountains. This is certainly a lengthy meaning, but one which accurately describes this area, especially during winter.
Car park dedicated to Barr trails, Changue Road approx. 1km east of Barr. Note: this replaces the old car park off Changue Road.
Refreshments at Barr Community Store and Cafe, Glenginnet Road, Barr.
Picnic benches at trails car park, along Water of Gregg in Barr. Seating at various points along the trails.
Public toilets in community building next to bowling green and river on Stinchar Road, Barr.
About the area
Historical records for Straiton have been traced back to at least the 13th century, but many of the buildings you see today, and the way the village is now laid out, date from the late 18th century. Thomas Kennedy, Earl of Cassilis, was largely responsible for Straiton’s design and development as a model village, with stone cottages either side of a wide main street leading up to a war memorial at the southern end. Straiton’s more recent architectural accolades include an architectural design award by the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland for Fowler’s Croft Development, which this walk leads past.
The cascading waterfalls and crystal clear burn rushing down through Lambdoughty Glen are only one of the attractions of the path through this steep-sided gorge. Beneath the dappled shade along the banks of the burn, primroses and bluebells flourish. A rich variety of birds have made this their home, each making the most of different layers of the woodland, from the canopy to shrubs below. Wooden sculptures along the walk depict
some of the other wildlife which thrive here, including otter, fox and owls. If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of roe deer camouflaged between the trees.
Church Walk takes its name from the days when the residents of Blairquhan Castle and Dower House used to walk to church via the lade built to maintain a steady water flow to the mill.
Four different families have lived at Blairquhan Castle or on its land. The McWhirters built the first tower house around 1346. The Kennedys then inherited the estate through marriage and built the rest of the castle around 1573. The Whiteford family took over in the early 17th century, and prompted by a banking crash, sold to Sir David Hunter Blair in 1798.
Due to fires and neglect, the old house had become ruinous, so in 1820 Sir David commissioned a new Tudor style castle, incorporating some of the surviving mouldings and sculpted masonry from the original building.