Distance: 1.6 miles
Time: 1 hour or so.
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate (there are steps)
Parking: Greenock Cut Visitor Centre – your start for this walk.
Points of Interest: Wood Sprites, Waterfalls, Bridges for Pooh Sticks
Refreshments: The Cut Visitor Centre does some basic but decent grub.
The Nature Trail here is very well made and really quirky. Kids will love exploring and hunting for the lovely wooden carved sprites. There are also some lovely boardwalks, a waterfall and a series of criss crossing footbridges over a gurgling burn, which provide interest.
From the Visitor Centre return to the car park entrance and turn right onto the minor road. At the crossroads take the footpath directly in front of you signposted for The Greenock Cut. Go through the gate and downhill passing the site of the 2nd World War Light Emplacement – this is now an attractive picnic site with lovely views over the Clyde.
Follow the trail downhill through the native trees along the Kip Water. The trail meanders through some lovely woodland with various footbridges across the burn. Look out for the Wood Sprites along the way! The path turns to boardwalk and you will emerge out onto an open hillside. Here the walk heads uphill to join up with the Kelly Cut. Turn left here and follow this track back to the Visitor Centre.
Shielhill Glen and Kelly Cut – Facts
• The Glen is a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of the variety of deciduous trees such as Silver Birch, Oak, Ash and Rowan.
• 150 years ago there was a sandstone quarry lower down the Glen that was used to build many of the houses in the West End of Greenock.
• The Kelly Cut is a non-navigable canal which was built in 1845 to supply Loch Thom with more water.
Map and text courtesy of Gillian’s Walks – gillianswalks.com