The Dighty Burn and other variations on Broughty Ferry coastal walk, Dundee
If you'd prefer a shorter walk, you could head west along Fisher Street to the Lifeboat Station and then along Douglas Street, turning right to return to the centre of Broughty Ferry. Another longer option is to continue on the coastal path past the Yacht Club to the Lower Broughty Ferry Road where cars can be parked. Unfortunately there is no pedestrian access through Dundee Harbour to the city itself.
This alternative route has the distinct advantage of taking you past two of the best pubs in the area – the Fisherman’s Tavern and the Ship Inn. The Ship has great views across the Firth, and an attractive upstairs restaurant. The Fisherman’s is reknowned across Scotland and beyond for its choice of real ales, and the informal ceilidhs that take place on a Thursday evening in the back room. There’s a story or two about evenings spent there, followed by a walk home at midnight!
Reres Hill and Camphill Road
At the eastern end of the path through the nature reserve, a metal bridge leads up to the left, over the railway line, and up a short steep lane to the main Monifieth Road. Just to the left and across the road is Reres Hill. This small Victorian park has fine mature trees and a short climb up to a viewpoint with individually carved wooden seats, where you can look out over the treetops towards Fife. From the top of the park, you can turn left along Reres Road, then take the right fork along Bughties Road to join Camphill road. Continue along Camphill Road, which descends gradually down past some impressive Victorian dwellings to Broughty Ferry at Fort Street.
The Dighty Burn
After passing the wastewater treatment building you can cross the footbridge at Balmossie Station and turn right along Milton Street, which joins the main road (here named Ferry Road). Turn right along the main road, round a bend where it crosses the Dighty. Cross over the road here, and turn left into Milton Place, a small cul-de-sac bending round to the left, where you can walk onto the footpath that leads up the east bank of the Dighty Burn.
The Dighty could almost be regarded as Dundee’s second river, if it was a bit bigger, as it runs through much of the city from Kirkton and Trottick in the north-west, through Caird Park and Drumgieih Park, past Baldovie Industrial Estate, then curving around the north side of Broughty Ferry before reaching the sea at Barnhill. The Green Circular Cycle Route follows it for much of this journey. Walking upstream there are pleasant views down to the burn on the left, and the surroundings should continue to improve thanks to the extensive tree planting as part of the Angus Millennium Forest.
The path bends to the right, passing a footbridge to the left (which leads to a football pitch). There’s a tarmac’d stretch climbing up beside the grounds of Grange Primary School. After passing through a gateway, one path leads up to the right to Grange Road, but the Dighty path goes ahead and down again to an area planted with young trees. You can continue on the easy shale track towards the Seven Arches Viaduct ahead, or turn left at the bottom of the slope to follow the bend of the Dighty on a grassy track between young trees. This turns back up to the main track as it approaches the Seven Arches through a gateway. Continue along the path, past a metal bench on the left and over a little stone bridge and brick doocot. There are new houses behind a fence on the left, and then you reach a junction. At this point you can turn left, past the houses, across a bridge to the path on the other side.
To take the longer route, turn right (ahead) at the junction and walk up the track past the Wastewater Screening plant and cottages under renovation. You reach another little junction, at the edge of the new village of Panmuirfield. The road up to the right leads to the centre of the village, where there is a takeaway restaurant and shop and the Belltree Inn and Premier Lodge. This is next to the A92 Arbroath Road, just upgraded to dual carriageway status in September 2005.
To head back towards the beach, return to the little junction at the top of the hill, and turn right along the top of a wooded bank above the Dighty (if you don’t go into Panmuirfield, simply follow the roadway round to the left). This leads downhill past a converted mill building to join a residential road.
Cross over the new road bridge (the historic old bridge has been retained to the right), and where the road over the bridge joins Balgillo Road, you turn left, up a shale track and over to the grassy western banks of the Dighty. The relatively young woodland is beginning to establish itself here, and you will see the impressive sight of the Waste Water Screening Plant ahead – looking almost like an oriental temple.
The burn rushes over a delightful weir here, and you may be lucky enough to spot a heron on the lookout for fish. (When checking the details for this route on a sunny Sunday morning, twice when I approached the weir the heron saw me first and lifted off – but I did catch a photo of it when it landed in a tree).
Follow the track as it bends to the right and left past a line of trees, then below the houses along a stretch that can be muddy after heavy rain. (This is where the short cut rejoins the route across the bridge from the left.) Continue up the short steeper stretch, roughly surfaced with concrete, to join the tarmac’d cycle route which heads left over the Seven Arches. You turn right, along a wide path on the line of the old railway, across two quiet suburban roads, then take the steps up on the left to a road bridge. This is North Balmossie Street, and you turn left here to head back down to the beach at Balmossie Station (crossing the main road with care).This is slightly longer than Variation 3, and follows the Green Circular cycle route from the railway bridge next to Monifieth Caravan Park. Walk up to the main road and cross over it, heading uphill and then turning left along Durham Street. At the far end, cross Grange Road, turn slightly up to the right then left into Millhill residential street. A pathway cuts between the houses in front, through to steps which lead down to the Dighty, just above the entrance from Milton Place, described in Alternative 3 above.
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