Car park by playing field, B7045, Straiton, KA19 7NE
An excellent circuit over the hills overlooking one of Scotland's favourite villages, located in what is known as Ayrshire's 'Rambling Territory'.
Start: Car park by playing field, B7045 Straiton KA19 7NE
End: Car park by playing field, B7045 Straiton KA19 7NE
Distance: 5 miles (8.25km)
Download Map: http://www.ayrshirepaths.org.uk/walkstraiton.htm (Created by Ayrshire Paths) (Purple path on map)
Monument and Bennan Circuit Walk at Straiton. From the Car Park at the Playing Field go into the village, noting the 16th century St Cuthbert's Church with its colourful stained-glass windows and the crowstepped gable at the oldest part. The name of the village may mean a settlement in a deep valley.
Created largely in its present form by Thomas Kennedy, Earl of Cassilis as a model village in the mid-18th century the wide street and its stone built cottages draw the visitor to the War Memorial at the far end. The McCandlish Hall dates from before the First World War. The Black Bull Hotel is from before the time of Robert Burns. Opposite are the Straiton Stores and Post Office. A little further along is "The Buck" (coffee and cakes).
The toll cottage is strategically placed at the start of the Newton Stewart Hill Road and behind it stands the elegant 18th c manse. Go towards the School. Just beyond it is a gate leading to the path to Traboyack Wood. Follow the track through the wood and out onto the hill The obelisk on Craigengower (the Hill of the Goats in Gaelic) is a monument to Lt. Col. James Hunter Blair mortally wounded at the Battle of Inkerman in 1854.
On a fine day one can see Ben Lomond, Ben Arthur, Goat Fell and Ailsa Craig. From the summit follow the waymarkers towards Culdoch. Cross the road to the river and up to the bridge below Craigifad. Then return via Berman Wood. In the wood itself look out for primroses and violets, also long-tailed tits, red squirrels, deer and badgers. At the little gate is a marker for Bennan Hill (Option 1). Continue through wood to Bennan Farm and Stepends Cottage to cross the river and return to car-park. If you wish you may join the Church Walk at the cottage (Option 2).