Welcome to the Stirling Heritage Trails, a series of walks produced in partnership with Stirling’s communities to help you explore the rich and varied heritage of this wonderful city.
You’ll learn about the nationally significant heritage which has helped shape Scotland and the local history which has helped shape the communities that call Stirling home. Each community has an individual leaflet with more information and more places to explore; you can download these from www.stirlingheritagetrails.co.uk. Stirling has been the strategic heart of Scotland since Roman times and the surrounding landscape has been integral to many defining moments in Scottish history. Stirling Castle’s current buildings date to the 15th century and were the childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots. The Wallace Monument was built in 1869 to honour William Wallace and his troops who fought at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. Stirling has also seen the famous Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 and the Battle of Sauchieburn in 1488 where King James III died. Many mills and mines were created during the industrial revolution and modern tartan was invented in the village of Bannockburn. We hope you enjoy our walkable, historic and friendly city as you explore the Stirling Heritage Trails.
Start and end your walk at the war memorial. You’ll see Telford’s Bridge, built by the legendary civil engineer Thomas Telford in 1819 and Spittal’s Bridge, built at the instruction of Robert Spittal, a wealthy Stirling merchant and tailor to King James IV. You’ll follow the Bannockburn for much of the trail, learning about the power of the water that powered the many mills in the area. You’ll learn how modern tartan was invented in Bannockburn and how for much of the 20th century the village was at the heart of mining in the area. You’ll cross Milton Ford, which has been the crossing point for every army that has fought in the highlands, from the Romans, to Edward II, to Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobites. The ford is also the location for the murder of James III after the battle of Sauchieburn. This route has a unique audio tour - listen and learn below.
Start and end your walk at the Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre. You’ll see the famous flatstaff and rotunda that cover the Borestone, said to be where Robert the Bruce planted his standard at the Battle of Bannockburn. See the charming village of Chartershall before following the Bannock Burn back towards St Ninians and Coxet Hill, which was once part of the Royal Park and hunting grounds attached to Stirling Castle. You’ll see wonderful views of Stirling Castle, the Old Town and beyond towards the mountains of the Trossachs.
Start and end your walk at the Braehead Community Garden. Look out for all that remains of Millhall Colliery, which from 1902 until 1958 had a dramatic impact on the landscape. You’ll walk through the most likely site of Edward II’s camp during the two day battle of Bannockburn in 1314 and walk along the ancient Balquhidderock Wood, where the Scots are said to have emerged at dawn on the second day of the Battle of Bannockburn and where Robert Burns may have been inspired to write the poem “Scots Wha Hae”
Start and end your walk at the Community Centre. Look out for Gillies Hill, home to two iron age forts and a possible location for the hiding place of the “Sma’ Folk”, the cooks, armourers and other associated trades that assisted the army of Robert the Bruce and according to legend played a significant role at the Battle of Bannockburn. You’ll see the famous Bruce’s Well, site of an ancient chapel and the location where Bruce went to pray and be blessed before the battle. You’ll see Hayford Mills, built during the industrial revolution and which at one point had over 500 looms and was the largest tweed producer in Scotland. In Drummond Terrace you’ll see the home of William Young Moyes, an engineer on the ill fated Titanic in 1912.
Start and end your walk at the Pedestrian Bridge, built to replace a ferry crossing that existed there for almost 1000 years. Wander through the charming conservation village of Cambuskenneth which was one of the locations that inspired the famous artists, the “Glasgow Boys”. You’ll see the remains of Cambuskennneth Abbey, founded by King David I around 1140. Much of the abbey is in ruins, except for its magnificent Bell Tower which has survived intact since the 13th century. Look out for the grave of James III and his Queen, Margaret of Denmark – the mausoleum was constructed on the orders of Queen Victoria in 1864. As you walk out of the village, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Wallace Monument, which has stood on the nearby Abbey Craig since 1869
Start and end your walk around Riverside near to the Shore Road Bridge. Wander around this suburb of Stirling, surrounded on three sides by the River Forth and on the other by the Railway that arrived in Stirling in 1848 and was until the construction of the Forth Bridge in 1890, the main rail artery linking the Highlands and Lowlands. Riverside was also a port, with ships loading and unloading cargo until the start of the 20th century. You’ll learn about the many industries that existed in Riverside, from one of Scotland’s first oil refineries to a cooperage that constructed barrels for the whisky industry. Much of your walk will follow the River Forth as it winds its way around the area. Riverside offers excellent views of Stirling Castle, the Wallace Monument and Cambuskenneth Abbey.
Start and end your walk at the Mayfield Centre. This walk will take you past St Ninians Toll, where traders once had to pay to access the lucrative markets of Stirling. Visit the old Main Street and learn about the textile mills and factories that made nails for the construction industry. You’ll see the clock tower that is all that remains of a church blown up by the Jacobites in 1746 and you’ll see some amazing views of the carse of Stirling and the Ochil Hills.
This 10 hectare park lies on the slopes below Stirling Castle and is crossed by a series of public paths. The Gowan Hill is rich with local and national history. On your visit you'll wander through the remains of an iron age fort, destroyed by fire in the 1st century AD. You'll see a ghoulish stone executioner's block and stand where the forces of Oliver Cromwell and Bonnie Prince Charlie launched attacks on the castle. Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of a climb up Gowan Hill are the remarkable views from the top, including the view the English commanders at the Battle of Stirling Bridge looked out on when the forces of William Wallace attacked on the morning of 11 September 1297. This heritage trail includes a 10 stop audio-tour.
More on Gowan Hill
The Kings Park is one of Stirling's best used recreation areas with a skate/bike area; toddlers sand and water fun; tennis courts and climbing frame and slides. Historically the park was used as the hunting ground for the Royal Court at Stirling and now provides the opportunity to explore the footpaths round the golf course with views of the castle.
Stirling Walking Network (link text to http://www.activestirling.org.uk/Walk-About-Stirling/) Volunteer walking project with groups throughout the area promoting health and well-being for walkers. Join a local group for a gentle stroll or a more strenuous walk.
More on Stirling Walking Network
Hayford MillHayford Mill was established as a wool-spinning mill in 1834. After being acquired by Robert Smith a decade later, it expanded significantly; by 1871, at which point control had passed to Smith's son, also named Robert, the mill employed over 1200 workers, and was for a time the largest single tweed manufactory in Scotland
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