Camping on the Ayrshire Coastal Path
WILD CAMPING is allowed wherever access rights apply –
- If lightweight, leaves no trace, involves small numbers, and is only for 1-2 nights in any one place.
- Avoid causing problems for land managers and local people.
- Do not camp in enclosed fields with crops or farm animals.
- Keep well away from buildings, roads or historic structures.
- Avoid campfires, to prevent risk of moor or forest fires – especially in periods of hot dry weather (we do have them!)
NB: Drinking water – DO NOT DRINK from any burns running to the shore. Along the ACP these burns drain hill pasture full of cattle and sheep, or heavily manured coastal arable land. Though water might look clean, it is likely to be contaminated with E Coli or Campylobacter faecal bacteria. Better to stock up en route with water from nearest village.
Sleeping Mat – might be useful for tussock grass and beach pebbles.
Walking poles – useful for negotiating burns and slippery rocks.
Walking Boots – likewise useful for burns and wet muddy sections, but some prefer walking shoes.
- Route Change – April 2022: The Cliff-top section (From Currarie Port to Langdale Farm) which since 2016 was closed to walkers as part of the official route because of irresponsible behaviour by dog owners spooking and injuring cattle – has now been re-opened and greatly improved, following consultations with the new owner of Langdale Farm, and with Glenapp Estates. Please follow closely the new signage and instruction notices.
- Much of the spruce woodland on the steep track up Sandford Hill has been felled and replanted, but a few clumps of trees remain that might provide shelter if desperate.
- The plateau along the track from Sandford Hill is a bit exposed, wet and boggy for the first few kms, but thereafter you might find a sheltered spot. NB: It is openly grazed by roaming hill cattle, and is part of Glenapp Estate.
- NB: Shooting– From 1 October to 1 February there may be pheasant shooting parties about.
- Try to get beyond Glendrishaig, and Currarie Port before you camp – and be up and away early in the morning. The clifftop is pretty exposed, but you may find a few sheltered spots en route, or on the foreshore beyond.
- Camping by the lower River Stinchar next to Ballantrae is also a no-go as these fields usually have cattle in them.
- Ballantrae Bay foreshore – If you have the time – and the legs – and can press on, we would suggest you walk beyond Ballantrae, where there are 3 kms of foreshore and dunes on which find a campsite.
- While there may be an odd camping spot south of Lendalfoot, there is a sandy bay and foreshore 1km north of the village.
- Across the A77T, in the quarry before the ascent of Pinbain Hill you might find a sheltered camping spot – but noisy with heavy HGV Irish Ferry traffic!
- Pinbain Hill, on the old coach road, is not for camping. Very exposed to winds – and also occupied by hill cattle with calves, that would not take kindly to your tent!
- At the far end near Kilranny ruin (which the farmer uses as sheep pens, you might find a sheltered spot, if not occupied by sheep. Alex Melville, the farmer is a good friend to the ACP, so make sure to leave no traces – and all gates as you find them.
- Between Kilranny and Ardwell is hill cattle pasture – not recommended!
- The alternative here is to travel beyond Ardwell Farm and find a spot on the beach – if you can – pretty rocky.
Girvan to Turnberry:
- Between the Girvan Water Treatment Works and Curragh Cottages, there are few good sites. From December till June, there are two electric-fenced bull pens occupied by 7-8 very large Charolais bulls that have a bad habit of escaping and wandering along the foreshore track. Not good for tents – or occupants!
- Between Curragh Cotts and DuPont Seaweed Factory the Dunnymuck foreshore might provide a night’s camping.
- From north of DuPont’s factory a fine sandy beach runs 3km to Turnberry, with plenty of good dune foreshore on which to pitch a tent.
- There is a small caravan Park/camping site at Balkenna Tearooms. They have a set aside area for tents. Facilities simple: showers and toilets. BUT catering during opening hours.
Cost 1 Adult £10. Extra Adult £7. Child £5
Maidens to Dunure:
- The 2km Culzean Bay, and the Drumshang foreshore north of Croyburnfoot Holiday Park will provide some camping spots.
- The heavily grazed or arable clifftop fields from Drumshang to Dunure are not suitable or safe for camping.
Redgates: They have a set aside area for tents. Facilities simple: showers and toilets. No catering. Offer electrical points for recharging phones.Cost 1 Adult £12. 2 Adults 21.50 with electric point
Culzean Caravan Park ( At entrance to Culzean Castle) welcomes backpackers. Facilities: Toilets and showers. No catering. Arrive by 8pm.Cost £10 – £15 per single adult. No parties
Thomaston Farm ( up road opposite Culzean Castle Park) They have a set aside area for tents. Facilities simple: showers and toilets. No catering. Cost tbc
Dunure to Ayr:
- Sadly, between Dunure and Heads of Ayr – the new owners of Heads of Ayr Holiday Park from April 2021 do not accept tents, which is a pity.
- But there are a number of small sites suitable for overnight wild camping at Fisherton Bay, just north of the waterfall at Drumbain, or indeed on Bracken Bay foreshore.
- In summer the Spring High Tide is around 1230 but not as big a range as in winter. Around this time there might be a delay of an hour or so before it ebbs far enough to allow you round the Heads of Ayr. But if you’ve plenty of time, it’s a lovely spot just to sit and watch nature for a wee while.
Prestwick to Troon:
- Prestwick Holiday Park – just north of the Pow Burn (KA9 1UH). If phoned in advance, they may be able to accommodate overnight passing hiking campers with small tents – but not big family tents with cars. Have coffee shop and take bookings from walking parties. Also St Andrew’s Bar. Arthur and Amanda McKay Tel: 01292 479261 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Troon to Largs:
- Possible to find small areas among shore dunes, on which to camp overnight. Most caravan sites tend to only take touring caravans
- Sandylands Holiday Park, Auchenharvie – accept tents but often a minimum stay of 3 nights required email@example.com
- Kelburn Campsite, Fairlie – website confirms tents are accepted.https://www.kelburnestate.com/kelburn-campsite/
Largs to Skelmorlie:
- There are numerous places for wild camping between Largs and Skelmorlie if you stay on the hills and woodland areas. It can be pretty soggy in places and often has livestock moved from field to field so hard to give specific areas that can be regularly used to wild camp. Use discretion and common sense and follow SOAC guidelines.
- South Whittlieburn – website confirms tents are accepted. https://www.whittlieburn.co.uk/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
There are several short tidal sections along the Ayrshire Coastal Path which might impact on your camping arrangements. The basic rule is as follows: