Tentsmuir and Morton Lochs

Tentsmuir: Expanses of golden sand facing out to the North Sea and backed by pine forest. This 8 mile walk takes in the dunes and beach of Tentsmuir Point, the scent of the forest and the tranquillity of the Morton Lochs Nature Reserve.

Distance: 8 miles / 13km

Ascent: 260 feet/ 80 m

Start/finish: Tayport

Start from the car park on Shanwell Road at Lundin Bridge, Tayport grid ref NO 465 280. The car park is just a stone’s throw from Tayport Heath, the first section of this walk. You can either walk along the road to where the road ends and the path starts or you can cut across the grass past a BMX track to the start of the path. Once on to the path you have a choice of walking on the path at the edge of the forest or, tide permitting, on the sands. Either way you will enjoy superb views over the Tay Estuary. The path makes for easy walking on a firm yet soft surface although there are a few ups and downs over tree roots.

When you reach a fence with a gate and stile you are entering the SNH managed National Nature Reserve area. There is an interpretation board here which will give you some background information or you can download a PDF leaflet in advance. You are now heading out to Tentsmuir Point, an amazing area of shifting sands and dunes. There are a multitude of paths crossing the area, just decide whether you want to stay close to the sea or inland to reduce the walking distance. An old wind pump (now solar powered) lies to your right. This is used to flood the area to preserve the habitat for wild flowers. Don’t worry, the paths are all dry underfoot! Also of interest are the remains of World War II defences that dot the coastline.

As you round the point look out for seals on the sandbars at low tide. Sand is continually being deposited here and the whole area is growing as the shoreline moves further out to sea as vegetation becomes established. Visit over a number of years and you will be able to see the changes yourself.

Either find a path through the dunes or walk on the sands until you reach an area with a green hut (an observation tower). Wind sculpted trees dot the landscape around here. A path leads into the forest passing an old bogey and a highland cow sculpture before it reaches the forest. The path joins a forest track and immediately to your right is a 19th century ice house. Again there is a good interpretation board. There are picnic tables here so it makes a good stopping point.

Go past the ice house on the forest track heading north until  you reach junction 5 where you turn left on to another forest track. The next junction is number 3 where you go straight on. The Forestry Commission have produced a useful leaflet with a map of the tracks and junctions.

This next section of the walk is through the forest which is made up primarily of pine but with some native trees interspersed at points. The track is wide and there is plenty of daylight. It’s 1.8km to junction 6, the next junction where you turn left and then soon turn right at junction 7. It’s a further 1.8km from here to Morton Lochs, also part of the nature reserve. When you approach the buildings at Fetterdale you need to keep right at two junctions. There are some purple arrow marker posts as this is the route of a Fife core path. The Morton Lochs car park eventually shows its presence on your left.

On your right hand side you will find an interpretation board with a helpful map showing the trails in the area. You can make a diversion around the Feather Walk if you wish otherwise turn left at the board to reach a wildlife hide where you then turn right.

After the woodland of the lochs you reach a more open area with a gravel path before entering another woodland. After this woodland you reach Garpit Farm. Keep right to go round the farm reaching a gate which takes you out on to a path crossing the golf course (keep an eye open for golf balls). The golf course path brings you back to Shanwell Road a short distance from the car park. Look for the short cut on to the grass on your left hand side.

View / download GPX track of this route from Viewranger.

View / download GPX track of this route from Ordnance Survey.

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© 2017  Fife Walking.  All rights reserved. If using this route for a group or organised walk please credit Fife Walking as your source.

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