Callander Meadows

This is a perfect route for prams, buggies and balance bikes. Riverside car park is right on the river, so the excess of kids gear can be unloaded on-site without having to do cross roads while balancing three kids, a bike, buggy and extraneous helmets, nappies, drinks etc.  Do remember cash for car parking.

There are a few selling points for this walk, not least is the ample supply of ducks that reside at the river. They have become accustomed to interest from squads of toddlers over the years, and will appear as you do, in the hope of scraps being thrown. Add to this a kids playpark, and it’s a pretty good venue.

The route itself is 1.8km of surfaced path so there is minimal mud, it’s easy pram pushing and balance bikes are unlikely to disappear into a puddle-covered pothole. Lovely views to Ben Ledi.

Parents with a running habit and a suitable running buggy can use this route as it heads out towards Strathyre, for a decent out-and-back run.

Callander has lots of options for food after a nice walk with the kids, including Mhor pies, fish & chips, sweet shops and ice-cream stops.

 

Mugdock Country Park

Within easy reach of Glasgow & Stirlingshire, Mugdock Country Park is made up of over 270 hectares of woods, moor and paths, and offers a variety of options for kids of all ages. There are a few (free) car parks, but with younger children I’d recommend the main car park at the visitor centre.

From here there are a variety of walks suitable for prams and bikes, plus a playpark and adventure trail, plus a lovely courtyard cafe with fabulous toasties and ice-cream.

The park also includes the remains of the 14th-century Mugdock Castle and the ruins of the 19th century Craigend Castle, a loch and lots of local wildlife.

The Mugdock trails are popular, so be aware you may meet lots of mountain bikes, dog walkers and horse riders. Most are courteous and considerate, but passing a pram with a crying baby will challenge even the quietest horse, so try to make plenty of room if you see one approaching.

 

Flanders Moss Boardwalk Trail

Flanders Moss is a vast expanse of all things damp and wonderful. From a distance you can make out the perfectly formed domes of peat as they rise gently from their surroundings. Closer up, squelchy mats of sphagnum moss carpet the reserve with their swirling colours, whilst adders and lizards bask in the sunshine. Listen out for the distinctive calls of snipe and stonechat or feel the slight shudder of the peat as it quakes beneath your feet.

Situated near Thornhill, off the B822, there is a good car park right at the entrance to this National Nature Reserve. Less than 1km in distance with wooden boardwalks, and level aggragate paths, this is an ideal short walk with a buggy or little people. It even has a lookout tower reminiscent of the one in the kid’s TV series Paw Patrol. Lot’s of squelchy fun.

 

Buchlyvie to Arnprior Railway Track

Famous for the annual Buchlyvie 10K Race, this is a good path for little people, and is located within Buchlyvie, just off Station Road. It follows the same path signed for Aberfoyle – head down Station Road, over the burn and turn down the first road on the right (Woodend). This is a good level path and is a perfect out-and-back route for little people. it can get a little overgrown in the Summer months.  The Coffee Kiln in Buchlyve is the perfect stop for homemade cakes or freshly prepared hot soup & lunch options, and they are lovely people and very kid-friendly.

 

Aberfoyle to Gartmore Sustrans Path

This starts at the main car park in Aberfoyle, next to the Scottish Woolen centre, so there is plenty of free parking, and room to unload bikes, prams and the acoutrements that come with young children.  Part of National Cycle route 7, this can be done as a longer loop, but is a hefty 7 miles. If there are toddlers in tow, just have an amble out and back, enjoying the stunning Trossachs vistas.

 

Milton, Loch Ard, Aberfoyle

A favourite walk of mine, this is a meandering and gently undulating path that follows the edge of Loch Ard. Surrounded by forestry, and with the loch on one side, it’s a magical place and has much to commend it for little people. It can be a little muddy underfoot, but if you remain on this path there is nothing too challenging. The shore of the loch provides opportunity for throwing sticks and spashing with welly boots, and there are plenty of blueberries to pick when in season. A very picturesque walk and never very busy.

This is part of a circular Sculpture Trail, and there are wildlife sound boxes, riddles and sculptures which you can spot. Stick to an out-and-back with the baby buggy and smaller kids, as there are some steeper climbs if you do the whole loop. However, there are many fantastic routes and paths within the forest that link with this, and they are perfect if your children are a little older and more mobile.

Head through Aberfoyle, and go out the other side towards Milton. After about a mile, at a restored mill house, turn left off the main road, cross a bridge and follow the road around, bearing right at the Forest Enterprise signpost. Turn left into the main car park. Free parking.

There are five cycling trails, suitable for cyclists for all abilities, ranging from 2 – 10 miles long. Easy to spot signposts have been placed at all junctions along the main cycle routes, and there’s a picnic place for you to rest and enjoy the view.

You’ll also find chainsaw sculptures made locally be Rob Mullholland and willow weavings around the forest. The sculptures represent a range of animals and birds which make up part of the natural food chain in the forest. Along the route you’ll also find sound posts featuring the sounds of local animals, such as a toad, deer, stag, great spotted woodpecker, jay and buzzard. Visit Scotland

After your walk enjoy delicious homemade cakes by driving a little further along the road to the Wee Blether Tearoom at Kinlochard.

 

Waterfall Trail

David Marshal Lodge, Aberfoyle

A beautiful and easy 1.8 km walk on wide and level paths through the trees until you reach a rather splendid waterfall. The visitor centre has a cafe and activities (check their website), and the pond at the Lodge hosts a good number of ducks to keep errant toddlers amused. Car park charges apply.

Oak Coppice Trail

David Marshal Lodge

With the same array of ducks, a cafe and splendid Trossachs scenery, this presents a slighlty more challenging 2.9 miles. Expect a few sharp climbs, some uneven ground and a flight a steps which isn’t fab if you are on your own with a pram. But a great option for adventurous toddlers. Car park charges apply.

 

Loch Katrine

Loch Katrine Pier has a huge car park, toilets and a great wee cafe. The same road can also be approached from the opposite end of Loch Katrine, at Stronachlacher, which has fantastic views and the lovely Pier Cafe.

This is a super-scenic route that is on surfaced road (closed to vehicles other than service vehicles) and is very gently undulating. It’s a super easy place to run or walk with a buggy and the surface is ideal for balance bikes and scooters (up until the point they fall onto the tarmac!).

Running along the north side of the loch, there are views to Ben Lomond, and it really is a stunning day out with little ones. Wrap-up warm on cooler days, as it can be quite exposed.

 

Firkin Point, Loch Lomond

Tarbet

Starting the walk from the car park and picnic site, it is possible to go for 3 miles north or south on a level surfaced path. The lochside path is ideal for wheelchair users, families with prams and those who want to get close to the loch. The route forms part of the West Loch Lomond Cycle Path, allowing you to take in the beautiful scenery along the way. There’s free car parking, disabled toilets and a picnic area/benches adjacent to car park and lochside. Loch Lomond Park Authority

Nice easy paths, Ben Lomond, Loch Lomond and lochside sandy beaches to play on. Perfect family fun day out.

 

Luss Village Paths, Loch Lomond

Four great short circular routes that are suitable for prams. Then there are the stunning views, a very pretty village and plenty of parking (car park charges apply). Add a village shop with sweets, ice-cream and a decent cup of coffee. Ideal.

 

Strathyre, Lochearnhead, Glen Ogle

Following a now disused railway route for a long way, the path has been been incorporated into National Cycle route 7, and provides a long and level out-and-back for prams, balance bikes and little people. This could be walked or run if you’re fit and have a suitable buggy. Some lovely views, and there is the stunning Glen Ogle viaduct to cross.

 

 

 

Devilla Forest, Kincardine

The Scots Pine trees of Devilla make a perfect habitat for red squirrels: the forest is a real stronghold for these frisky animals in Lowland Scotland. After you’ve tried spotting them along the Red Squirrel Trail, you could try finding the four lochs, home to darting dragonflies and agile otters.

Look out too for relics of past times among the trees, such as an enigmatic stone monument where legend the Battle of Bordie Moor raged in 1038, and covenater’s met on the misty moors.

Our guide to Devilla will help you explore the network of forest roads and paths. Forestry Commission Scotland

Reasonably flat throughout, very pretty and has little lochans to play in and around.

 

Balloch Country Park

There are a wide variety of options within the park, and clicking the link above will take you to a selection suitable for prams and buggies.

We will be adding to the list as we think of new, and suitable walks, so please get in touch if you think we’ve missed one that you might like to share. editor@linkedmagazine.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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