Location: Land O’ Burns
Grade: Easy semi-urban walk
Distance: 4.5 miles/7km
Time: 2-3 hours (not including stops) 

This walk is all about story-telling. The village of Alloway, just south of Ayr, has many associations with Robert Burns, the master story-teller in verse.
Appropriately, the walk starts – or ends – at Burns Cottage, where the poet was born in on 25 January 1759 and is now part of the Burns museum complex at Alloway. 
From the cottage it is a short walk into Rozelle Park, a pleasant green space with many mature trees. 
The walk continues past two attractive ponds attracting a variety of birdlife to reach an area called Remembrance Woodland featuring a number of very fine wooden sculptures of scenes from World War One, part of the centenary commemorations. 
There are about a dozen at present and more are being added. A leaflet giving more information is available at Rozelle House.
From the sculpture area, return past the ponds to the main drive and leave the park, cross the road and enter Belleisle Park. Walk across to Belleisle House, which looks rather forlorn. 
This gracious 18th-Century mansion, which was extensively remodelled by the architect William Burn around 1830 and was formerly the golf clubhouse, was sold in 2012 to private developers, who had ambitious plans to turn it into a luxury 90-room hotel with a spa and facilities for weddings and conferences. 
Sadly, the scheme has hit a number of problems, including a fire last year, and there seems to be nothing much happening at present. Belleisle is a listed building so can’t be demolished and it is to be hoped a solution can be found soon.
Pass the Belleisle Conservatory, beautifully restored with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and leave the park to cross the River Doon, passing the Secret Garden, an excellent tearoom and restaurant. Somehow I find my footsteps irresistibly drawn into these places…
The walk continues down to the shore where there is another story to be told – of the persistence of Ayr Rotary Club in setting up the Ayrshire Coastal Path and of how they and Sustrans got funding for the splendid bridge that now spans the Doon where it empties into the sea (nb: the bridge is still not on most OS maps). From the bridge you get a grand view of the town of Ayr.
The walk continues on a cyclepath, part of the long-distance NCN7 route. 
Over to the right you can see the gaunt ruin of Greenan Castle, a 17th-Century Kennedy stronghold. The cyclepath is clearly signed and leaves the houses behind at a right fork, climbing to a high point which offers more good sea views. 
The route then turns sharp left and heads back towards Alloway. This section is being sealed and you may come across a gang working on it. Ask politely and they will let you through.
NCN7 is left behind after crossing the A719 and the final part of the walk is on a relatively new cycleway using an old railway line. 
It takes you back to Alloway and the Burns complex where there is much to see – the main museum, which superbly tells the story of Burns’ too-short life, the old Brig o’Doon, central to the tale of Tam o’Shanter, the Burns monument and old Alloway Kirk where Burns’ father is buried.
A short stroll along the Poet’s Walk featuring Burns-related sculptures (including the largest mouse I have ever seen – no cowerin’ timorous beastie this one) takes you back to the start.
Roger Smith

Map: OS 1:50,000 Landranger sheet 70 (Ayr, Kilmarnock & Troon). A street map (available locally) would also be useful.
Distance: 4.5 miles/7km. 
Approx Time: 2-3 hours (walking time only) 
Start/Finish: Burns Cottage car park, Alloway (GR: NS335185)
Transport: Regular trains and express buses from Glasgow to Ayr. Local bus from Ayr to Alloway. Details from www.travelinescotlandcom
Information: Ayr TIC, 01232 290300. www.themaclaurin.org.uk 

Route: Walk past Burns Cottage cross road and TR (Clochanhill Rd). TL Well Park and at end cross road and take path to Rozelle Park. At Bridle Path TR and follow to pavilion. TL on road and walk up to Rozelle House. Leave in same direction and take first path on R to walk by pond. Round sculpture area then take any path by ponds back to main drive. TR and exit park. Cross road, TR and in 100m TL at gate into Belleisle Park. Cross golf course and walk up to Belleisle House. TL in front of house and pass Conservatory. TR up steps then L on path. Fork L and walk out to park exit. TR on road, at T-junction TL to cross River Doon. Take first R in 200m (Scaur o’Doon Rd). Walk to end at shore and TL. Follow NCN7 cyclepath signs along Greenan Rd and then fork R to stay on cyclepath. In 1km (at house) turn left as signed. Follow cyclepath to A719. Cross, TL and in 50m take cyclepath on R (not signed). Follow this path (old railway) for 2km back to Alloway. After tunnel, go R up path. Explore museum, etc. To leave, follow signs for Burns Cottage over bridge and along Poet’s Walk.