The best way to savour the hidden gems of the Clyde Valley gorges is to walk from Cartland Craigs (where there is a small car park) or all of Cleghorn Glen on its own (shown in purple on the map below), starting at Mouse Bridge or Cleghorn Bridge (parking is difficult at these locations).
Here we offer a shorter walk (shown in red on the map below) which gives a taste of this wonderful oak and ash ancient woodland.
Stage 1. Welcome to badger country
Start at the end of Bellefield Road, where there is a small open area on the left which is used as a car park. From here follow the lane directly opposite, between two fields where you’ll come across a sign signalling the entrance to the National Nature Reserve. You’ll see that the “mascot” of the Clyde Valley Woodlands NNR is the badger, because they are so common here!
Stage 2. Cross the Mouse Water
Cross the Leitchford Bridge over the Mouse Water and onto the path. From here you can follow the water’s edge in either direction, but for a shorter walk we recommend turning left (downstream).
Stage 3. Sights and smells
Look out for wild garlic (which you might also smell!), wood anemones (a small, white flower with bright yellow stamens in the centre) and roe deer among the towering oaks which grown tall a straight in an effort to reach the light above the narrow gorge.
Stage 4. Mouse Falls
After around 400m you will come across the ‘Mouse Falls’, a section of rapids which can be very dramatic, especially after a heavy rainfall. (Take care around here as there are steep, unfenced drops down to the river).
Stage 5. What next?
There is a small open space nearby, with good views of the river where you can sit and enjoy the scene. To return, retrace your steps to the Leichford Bridge and back to the car park. Alternatively you can continue along this path to Mouse Bridge, or even further if you want to explore Cartland Craigs with its spectacular veiws over Cartland Bridge. Just remember, you'll need to walk back again!