the Stirling City Guide
The Wallace Monument
Woodland Walks and Nature Trails on the Abbey Craig
Explore at your leisure, the woodland walks and nature trails around the Wallace Monument and Abbey Craig with views over the city of Stirling in Scotland. While you are up on the Abbey Craig, it's worth taking time to explore the semi-natural woodlands and enjoy the breathtaking views. Keep to the footpaths and do not venture near the edge of the cliffs. There are three marked routes of varying lengths, which you can follow around the Abbey Craig. From the front of the Wallace Monument you can follow the trails using the special waymarkers.
There's so much to discover on The Abbey Craig. Take things at your own pace and Whether you want to enjoy a brisk walk up to the Wallace Monument or take a relaxing ramble through the woods, you will find a route that is suited to you. If the climb up to the Wallace Monument seems daunting, do not be put off as there is a shuttle bus which runs from the visitor centre car park to the top of the Abbey Craig.
Visitor Reception Centre to The foot of the Wallace Monument
The main pathway will take you from the rear of the Visitor Reception Centre to The foot of the Wallace Monument and it will take around 15 to 20 minutes to walk from here to the Monument.
The Stirling Trail
From the Wallace Monument it is well worth following The Stirling Trail. This short walk will take you from the Monument to the stunning, panoramic viewpoint overlooking the city of Stirling, Stirling Castle, Cambuskenneth Abbey, Causewayhead, the windings of the Forth and the mountains to the North and West.
From the viewpoint you can return to The Monument, or you can continue on the trail, following the waymarkers to re-join the pathway back to the Wallace Monument Visitor Reception Centre. Allow 35 minutes for the full Stirling Trail.
The Abbey Trail
From the foot of the Wallace Monument, The Abbey Trail can be followed. This walk will take you to the panoramic viewpoint over the City of Stirling. From here, a beautiful walk can be taken around the woodlands of The Abbey Craig, stopping off at the Ochils Viewpoint before rejoining the pathway back to the Visitor Reception Centre. Allow 45 minutes for The Abbey Trail.
All of the paths have been upgraded and provide a good walking surface. The main paths and trails have a hard covering of loose stone. They are wide, but can be steep in places (especially at the start and the finish). The smaller woodland paths can be narrow and steep in places and depending on time of year and weather conditions, can be wet and muddy in places.
More information about the Abbey Craig
Archaeologists have discovered the remains of an old hill fort in the grassy mounds at the rear of The Monument. This was believed to date from the period 500 - 780AD, long before the time of William Wallace when, the four quarters of mainland Scotland were ruled by the ancient tribes of Picts, Celts, Britons, and Angles. The Abbey Craig was an important stronghold at the time.
The core of The Abbey Craig is formed of dolerite, a hard volcanic rock. In the late 18th century a Mr. James Brownhill from The Alloa Mill Company discovered that the coarse stone from The Abbey Craig was ideal for making millstones, and over 300 pairs were carved during the years of the Napoleonic Wars, when the normal sources in France were not available. Stone from The Abbey Craig was used in the construction of The Wallace Monument and of the Stirling New Bridge, which was designed by Robert Stevenson and opened in 1832. You may notice the remains of these quarries as you walk around the Abbey Craig.
The woodlands of The Abbey Craig have a mix of broadleaved trees including Oak, Ash, Sycamore and Birch; conifers such as Scots Pine, Norway Spruce,and Yew; and Holly, Hawthorn and Blackthorn shrubs. A good mix of trees supports a wide variety of plants and animals.
The Abbey Craig woodlands have a rich ground flora, with Dog?s Mercury covering the ground in spring (indicating an ancient woodland), and Ramsons (Wild Garlic) can be smelt, crushed underfoot. In early summer, Bluebells carpet the woods and abundant mosses, lichens and fungi grow from the trees.
The Abbey Craig is home for many different animals - including Roe deer, which can be seen year round. During the winter months their coats are thick and dark, but in summer they are much lighter. Bird life is also an important feature of The Abbey Craig, and its trees provide food to support over 30 different species.
Thanks to Stirling District Tourism for information about the Wallace Monument and the Abbey Craig.
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