This railway walk is part of a cycleway and is very easy walking under foot. The route offers some superb views over open countryside towards the sea.
The East Neuk Railway Line ran from St Andrews to Leven connecting the East Neuk towns and villages with Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee. The trains brought hundreds of people to the area to enjoy their summer holiday.
Crail was the last of the East Neuk villages to get a rail connection on the completion of the railway between Anstruther and St Andrews in 1883. The line closed on the 6th of September 1965, part of the Beeching Cuts. Kingsbarns station had already closed in 1930 but the signal box remained manned until 1965. The station had two platforms and had the only double track on the line between Crail and St Andrews allowing trains to pass. None of the station buildings or the platforms remain today and the site is completely overgrown. I was fortunate to travel on one of the last trains from St Andrews to Anstruther a journey which I remember to this day. You too can take a trip on the train by clicking the link at the end of this blog.
The walk starts by taking the 95 Stagecoach Bus from Crail to Kingsbarns. Alight at the square outside the primary school. Take a few minutes to look around the square. The village church with its distinctive spire dates from 1631. The present church was built in 1811 to a design by Robert Balfour. The spire has recently been refurbished. Kingsbarns Primary School with its school bell is still in use today. The old pump in the square is dated 1831.
Start this railway walk by taking the road to the left (Station Road) signposted Dunino and Morton of Pitmilly. This is a quiet road with very few cars and a pleasant walk through rural countryside. Follow the road for a mile to what was the site of Kingsbarns Railway Station. The railway walk is on your left signposted “Right of Way to Kippo and Kingsbarns”. At first this track looks like a farm road but as you progress up a slight gradient you will come to a humped back bridge. At this point the railway walk opens out to offer you some splendid views over the open countryside towards Kingsbarns and the sea beyond. On a clear day you can see the Bell Rock Lighthouse and across the bay towards Carnoustie.
We did this railway walk at the beginning of September and found lots of brambles which we ate along the way. There were a number of of large bullocks, cows and sheep in the fields and we spotted a couple of buzzards. Follow the railway track for about a mile until you come to a couple of newly built properties. Continue down the access road until you come to a road taking a left as indicated by the cycle sign. Proceed down the road to its junction with the main A917 leading in to Crail.
Cross the road and take the right of way along the side of the field and follow the path as it curves to the right towards Crail. At the end of the track take a right and walk towards the graveyard to the rear of Crail Parish Church. When you reach the graveyard car park take a left and proceed down the path through Denburn Wood. At the end of Denburn Wood cross the road and proceed down Kirk Wynd back to Sandcastle Cottage.
Including the bus trip the walk took us 2.5 hours at a leisurely stroll. A pair of stout shoes or walking trainers are all that is required for this walk.
If you would like more information about weekly, midweek or short breaks at Sandcastle Cottage then click on this link
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We look forward to welcoming you to Sandcastle Cottage.
You too can travel back to 1965 and take a trip on the train as it stopped at all the stations on the East Neuk Line from Leven to St Andrews.