Ayr Gorge Woodlands

Important notice

Phytophthora disease is killing the larch trees so they have to be felled. The felling has been executed but the timber is still being extracted. All going well, this is scheduled for completion by 31 October 2023. There may still be temporary path closures and diversions so please obey safety signage and verbal or visual instructions from the contractor; keep out of the work site and be alert for vehicles moving on the reserve. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this essential work.

The Ayr Gorge Woodlands reserve is a steep ravine of sandstone cliffs covered mainly with oak, ash and some very old majestic beeches. It is one of the most important ancient woodlands in Ayrshire for invertebrates, plants, fungi and bats including Daubenton’s and brown long-eared bats.

Why visit?

Highlights include:

  • Ancient woodland
  • River walks
  • Birds and bats
  • Invertebrates and fungi

Best time to visit?

  • All year for woodland and river walks
  • Spring for birds
  • Summer for bats and invertebrates
  • Autumn for fungi

Visit for:

  • birdwatching
  • woodlands
  • geology
  • scenery
  • mammals

Other information

It is particularly noted for its abundant invertebrate life, supporting a number of Scottish rarities, including spiders and beetles.

This reserve is on the River Ayr Way walking route – find out more about the River Ayr Way by clicking here.


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How to get there


The reserve is at Failford village on the B743. From the centre of Ayr, take the A719 north east for about 3 miles to the junction with the A77. Continue straight over the roundabout onto the B743 Mauchline Road and continue to Failford.

Get directions

Getting onto the reserve

The main entrance is at the west end of Failford village, on the south side of the road at the blue sign. The reserve can also be accessed from the opposite end via the River Ayr Way. There are surfaced paths on the reserve.

Access restrictions

Please prevent dogs from hunting wildlife at all times of year, especially in the spring.
The sandstone steps at Peden’s Cove are a vulnerable historic monument. Please do not climb on them.

Nearest town
Mauchline (4 mi / 6.4 km)
OS grid ref
Landranger map


About Ayr Gorge Woodlands

Links & downloads

Area leaflet

Reserve map


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