Where are the best walks in Fife?
With 117-miles of stunning coastline, the volcanic Lomond Hills Country Park, the Pilgrims way and hundreds of local woodland walks, Fife has been voted ‘No 1 outdoor destination’ in Scotland by Scottish Natural Heritage eight years in a row.
Fancy exploring with your dog or the kids? Here are the best walks in Fife.
My top ten walks in Fife
Looking for the best walks in Fife? These are my favourite.
- Tentsmuir Forest and Beach – explore the Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve including one of Scotland’s best beaches. Walk at Tentsmuir.
- Blairadam Forest – one of our our favourite places for a dog walk – we love the red Glen Trail. Visit Blairadam Forest.
- The West Fife Woodlands Way – a 10-mile marked circular route around west Fife starting and ending in the historic village of Culross. Walk the West Fife Woodlands Way.
- Devilla Forest and Pitmedden Dam – Follow the Red Squirrel Trail to Bordie Loch, and on to the Moor Loch to spot dragonflies in summer. Peppermill Dam is the largest of the four lochs in Devilla Forest and Keil Dam is my favourite. Walk around Devilla Forest.
- Crail to Kingsbarns on the Fife Coastal Path – leave my favourite of all the East Neuk villages, Crail to walk to the beautiful beach at Kingsbarns. Walk the Fife Coastal Path.
- Culross to Preston Island on the Pilgrims Way – explore the coast of West Fife along to the Shore Road. Walk the Shore Road.
- Falkland Estate and Maspie Den – climb up through Maspie Den to a magical waterfall pouring over a cliff. Visit the Falkland Estate.
- The Bunnet Stane, Lomond Hills – find this unusual mushroom rock formation made up of ‘calciferous’ sandstone on the edge of West Lomond. Climb up to the Bunnet Stane.
- The Dean Plantation – follow the circular path around this pretty woodland. Visit Dean Plantation.
- Balgownie Woods – find the paths amongst the beech trees and spot red squirrels. Walk around Balgownie.
The Lomond Hills, The Bunnet Stane and John Knox Pulpit – family friendly walks in Fife
The Lomond Hills Regional Park was designed as Scotland’s first Regional Park in 1986 and covers 25 square miles of hills and rolling Fife countryside. There are lots of walks in the park, including West Lomond, the highest point in Fife at 1713 ft, and East Lomond which can be tackled on a great circuit from Falkland – two of the best hill walks in Fife.
My favourite walk in the park is up to the Bunnet Stane (or bonnet stone), an unusual mushroom rock formation made up of ‘calciferous’ sandstone on the edge of West Lomond. The walk to John Knox Pulpit, another rock formation, is popular with families.
The West Fife Woodlands Way
The West Fife Woodlands Way is a 10-mile marked circular route around west Fife starting and ending in the historic village of Culross.
Along the way, you will visit many of west Fife’s gorgeous woodlands including Valleyfield Woodland Park, Balgownie Wood, Devilla Forest, a plague grave and the West Kirk (Black Kirk in Outlander) with great views of The Ochills and Fife along the way.
The West Fife Woodlands way is one of the best walks in Fife. Plan your walk around the West Fife Woodlands Way
With over 1,200 acres of parkland to explore, Lochore Meadows Country Park is the perfect place for a stroll around the Loch Ore (3.5 mile / 5.65 km) trail.
Prefer to explore by bike? There are lots of off-road mountain bike trails at Lochore Meadows to explore. Plus if you fancy trying standup paddle boarding, Lochore Meadows Country Park offers up a huge calm loch perfect for beginners. Visit Lochore Meadows.
The lovely Blairadam Forest is hidden right beside the rushing A90 as it heads north to the Highlands. Head to the forest to explore a range of walking trails among the trees and beside the pretty Kelty Burn. Blairadam is one of our favourite places for dog walks in Fife – we love the red Glen Trail and the Yellow Blairenbathie Mine Trail over the pretty Lochornie Burn Bridge.
Falkland Estate and Maspie Den
The climb up through Maspie Den to a magical waterfall pouring over a cliff is one of my favourite short walks in Scotland – and one of the most popular walks in Fife.
The Falkland Estate was once a pleasure ground for the Stuart kings who owned the Palace and the grounds were laid out in the 1820s. On your way up the (slightly muddy) Den, you will discover dark & spooky tunnels, bridges and cascades.
‘Den’ in Scots means a narrow wooded valley and the walk soon feels like you are in a tropical world, surrounded by huge ferns. At the top is a beautiful surprise – a fabulous waterfall.
Tentsmuir Beach and Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve
On the far north east coast of Fife is Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve and one of Scotland’s best beaches.
There are lots of Tentsmuir forest walks – follow the Ice house trail out amongst the sand dunes and WW2 barriers to spot seals on the sand, deer and, red squirrels in the trees. On the west side of the forest are Morton Lochs where there are bird hides. Tentsmuir Beach is a huge sweep of sand looking across to Dundee – and offers one of the best beach walks in Fife.
Read more- how to visit Tentsmuir
Managed by the Forestry Commission, Balgownie Woods is one of the most beautiful of Scotland’s wee woods and contains magnificent oak and beech trees – and is home to red squirrels. The wood has five miles of paths to explore in 175 hectares.
Devilla Forest and Peppermill Dam
The fabulous Devilla Forest can be found north of Culross. Follow the Red Squirrel Trail to Bordie Loch, and on to the Moor Loch to spot dragonflies in summer. Peppermill Dam is the largest of the four lochs in Devilla Forest and Keil Dam is my favourite. Devilla Forest is one of the most popular spots for dog walks in Fife.
Pitmedden Forest Walks in Fife
To the north of Fife is Pitmedden Forest, a popular spot for mountain biking, full of tracks for experts and beginners alike. Explore the forest or explore on your bike with these Mountain Bike Route Cards.
Fife Coastal Walk – The Fife Coastal Path
Looking for a Fife coastal walk? Stretching for 117 miles along the edge of the Fife peninsula, from the Firth of Forth – from Kincardine to North Queensferry to Anstruther, St Andrews north to the Firth of Tay, the Fife Coastal Path is Scotland’s longest coastal path. The whole Fife Coastal Path can be walked in a week and is designated one of Scotland’s Great Trails. If you haven’t got a week, then these are my favourite sections to go for good walks in Fife:
- Kirkcaldy to Dysart – catch the train to the bustling town Kirkcaldy and follow the Fife coastal path to Dysart with its hidden gem of a harbour. Book your train tickets with trainline.com*.
- Elie to St Monans – passing the striking Elie Lighthouse and Lady’s Tower at Sauchar Point – a picturesque changing room built for Lady Anstruther in the 1700s so she could bathe in the Forth – walk from St Monans to Elie.
- St Monans to Pittenweem – passing the St Monans windmill – a relic 1770s of the salt panning industry which once dotted the coast. Further along, the coastal path passes the ruined and slightly spooky Newark Castle.
- Anstruther to Crail – visit Cellerdyke with its tiny 16th century harbour – which is also known as Skinfast Haven once home to more than 50 herring boats. The path passes the- The Coves, or the caves of Caiplie – used as an early site of christian worship and a doocot! The return walk from Anstruther to Crail is around 10 miles.
- Crail to Kingsbarns – Crail is my favourite of all the East Neuk villages, but leave it behind to walk out along the furthest eastern point of the path to the famous golf course at Kingsbarns. This is my favourite Fife coastal walk.
Long Distance Walks in Fife – The Fife Pilgrims Way
The newly developed Fife Pilgrim Way, is a new 70-mile path running from Culross to St Andrews following the route taken by pilgrims between the 11th to 16th centuries. Like the Fife Coastal Path, the Pilgrims Way can be walked in sections:
- Culross to Dunfermline / North Queensferry to Dunfermline (8.5miles) – you can start the Pilgrims Way either from Culross in West Fife or from North Queensferry. Culross (actually pronounced ‘coo-ris’, not ‘cull-ross’) is one of Scotland’s best-preserved and prettiest 17th-century villages and famous for its role in the TV series Outlander. North Queensferry is home to one very famous bridge. The route from Culross takes you across pretty farmland with stunning views over the Forth.
- Dunfermline to Lochore Meadows (11miles) the old capital of Scotland, Dunfermline has been the burial place of many of Scotland’s kings and queens, including King Robert the Bruce. The Pilgrim’s route takes you through pretty Pittencrieff Park (The Glen) before passing Loch Fitty, and alongside the lovely loch at Lochore Meadows.
- Lochore to Kinglassie (5 miles) stroll through the heart of Fife with views over Ballingry and Benarty Hill.
- Kinglassie to Markinch (8miles) – visit Kinglassie’s holy well, Markinch’s Stob Cross and the villages’ churches as you walk along the River Leven
- Markinch to Ceres (13miles) – follow The Waterless Way and the Coal Road from Markinch to Ceres, the last stop on the Pilgrims Way before reaching St Andrews. One of Fife’s prettiest villages, Ceres is home to the Fife Folk Museum and a history of weaving & spinning. Visit the lovely small museum (free, donations welcome) and then explore Craighall Den with its huge ruined lime kiln.
- Ceres to St Andrews (9.5miles) – the final stretch of the Pilgrims Way takes you to St Andrews. With a compact town centre full of independent shops and plenty of bars and restaurants, you can spend a couple of days just exploring. Head down to West Sands for a day on the beach, discover the St Andrews Aquarium, stroll amongst the St Andrews University Colleges via the Town and Gown Walk, and explore St Andrews Harbour for the best view of the town.
Elie Chain Walk Fife
The Elie Chain Walk is a Fife oddity – a series of chains fixed along the coast between Shell Bay and West Bay near Elie which you use to climb, scramble and coasteer along the Fife cliffs – kind of like a Scottish Via Ferrata!
The Elie Chain Walk is great fun, if a little challenging in places, and you do need a head for heights. Make sure you are prepared for the weather and the tides, so if you fancy doing the Elie Chain Walk please watch my Elie Chain Walk video guide for tips and tricks before you head out on the chains.
Hills Walks in Fife
Prefer to hillwalk instead of stroll, these are my favourite hill walks in Fife.
- West Lomond and East Lomond – two great hills within the Lomond Regional Park
- Benarty Hill – a short sharp hillwalk with great views over Loch Leven
- Saline Hill and Knock Hill – a nice circuit of two West Fife hills
- Norman Law – the highest point in North Fife
Woodland Walks in Fife
Looking for woodland walks in Fife? Here are my favourites
- West Fife Woodlands Way
- Tentsmuir forest walks
- Falkland estate / Maspie Den
- Devilla Forest
- Pitmedden forest
Dog walks Fife
Out with the pooch, these are our favourite dog walks Fife:
- Devilla Forest – puppies will love the Red Squirrel Trail, but there are miles of walks within the forest.
- Falkland Estate – the Falkland Estate has miles of off road paths for your dog to run happily
- Tentsmuir Forest – with one of Scotland’s best beaches – you don’t need to get near anyone else at Tentsmuir.
What are your favourite walks in Fife?
I’m Kate – a travel writer and photographer living in Scotland. Love, From Scotland is the Scotland travel guide that shows you where to stay and how to get outside in Scotland.