Ayr RiverWalk

Ayrshire Walking

The Ayr River Walk starts off at the Auld Brig in Ayr town centre, as seen below. The walk follows the path on the north side of the River Ayr, heading east under the road and railway bridges to Ayr College.

The path continues past Ayr College into Craigie Estate, where you can explore around Craigie House and gardens.

Ayr Auld Brig image

The image below is from the Auld Brig looking east along the River Ayr Walk..

River Ayr Walk image

Just before the pedestrian bridge, you will see Ayr Auld Kirk across the river.

This site originally contained a monastery named Greyfriars from the 1400s and is supposedly near the site of the monastery of the Blackfriars from the 1200s. The Auld Kirk was built in 1654 during the reign of Oliver Cromwell. The English Parliamentarian leader Cromwell had Charles 1st (Stewart) beheaded in 1649 and ruled Britain as Lord Protector until 1658. During that time, he funded one fifth of the cost of this church, and had a large fort built on the south side of the harbour. Little of that fort now remains. The Auld Kirk is still used to this day.

Ayr Auld Kirk image

A short distance past the pedestrian bridge, the path leads under the railway and road bridges, as seen below.

Ayr Railway Bridge image

After passing under the bridges, the path runs past Ayr College, as seen below.

Ayr College image

Just past Ayr College is the Dam Park athletics stadium, home to the Ayr Seaforth athletics club. Brian Whittle, the 400 meter runner from Troon, has been the clubs most successful athlete so far.

Ayr Dam Park image

Just past Dam Park is the University of the West of Scotland, that opened in 2011, as seen below. This is the start of Craigie Estate, now mostly taken over by the university.

University of the West of Scotland image

Just past the university is Craigie House. There are high hedges that prevent a viewing from the riverside path, so you have to follow a path through the garden to the house.

Craigie House was built around 1730 as a replacement residence for Sir Thomas Wallace of Newton Castle. The estate was bought by William Campbell in 1782, it remained in that family until Ayr Town Council purchased it in 1940 for £12,500.

Craigie House is now used as offices for the university, not sure if you can view any of the inside, but you can walk around the outside and through the gardens.

Craigie House image

Opposite Craigie House is Craigie Bridge, as seen below.

You can continue the walk north on either side of this bridge. The estate side path runs alongside the river, then alongside Dalmilling Golf Course until it reaches the A77 Road. You then cross to the south side at the road bridge.

Alternatively, you can cross Craigie Bridge, then follow the path east alongside that side of the river.

Craigie Bridge in Ayr image

The view below is from next to the A77 Road Bridge, looking at the path as it runs through Dalmilling Golf Course.

Dalmilling Golf Course image

The view below shows the path as it goes under the A77 Road Bridge. The signs here state it is one and a half miles back to Ayr, or 2 miles north to Auchincruive Estate.

There are stepping stones just on the east side of this bridge that are a popular test when the river is low.

River Ayr froze at the stepping stones in the winter of 2010, causing traffic jams as drivers stopped to view something that few, if any, people had saw before.

View a movie of the frozen river at: www.youtube.com . Pictures .

Ayr River Walk bridge image

The path continues past the stepping stones for about two miles into Auchincruive Estate. The path from the stepping stones to Auchincruive can be a bit muddy and overgrown in places, so best wear walking boots and trousers for that part, should you want to extend the walk to there.

The present day house on Auchencruive Estate (the Robert Adam designed mansion, Oswald Hall) dates from the 1700s with the estate holding a number of lodges, a tea house and a clock tower. Richard Oswald (a merchant from London and a commissioner in Paris for peace negotiations with the Americans) bought the estate in 1764.

Following his death in 1784, the estate was run by his widow Mary Ramsay till her death in 1788. Auchincruive then passed to their son Richard Alexander Oswald, a government contractor during the American War.

More recently, Auchincruive was gifted to the Secretary of State by John Hannah of Girvan Mains. It became the home of the Scottish Agricultural College with the Hannah Research Institute being named in his honour. The estate is also available for use as a venue for outdoor events such as the Ayr Agricultural Show, which it has held on a few occasions. Oswald Hall can be booked for conferences or musical events. The grounds around the house and along River Ayr can be used by the public for scenic walks.

Auchincruive House by Ayr image