Follow the ‘Semple Trail’ for a level off road route from the railway station, to the village, the Visitor Centre and along to Parkhill Wood past Castle Semple Collegiate Church and the Temple on Kenmure Hill to the village of Howwood.
Please note that there may be grazing cattle or sheep on the farmland at any time of year. Care should always be taken around farm animals as they can be unpredictable. Please keep your dog under control and take all litter home.
You don’t need to do it all in one day. Why not follow parts of the Semple Trail to visit the 500 year old Collegiate Church or find your way through the maze to enjoy views from Courtshaw Hill or try to catch a glimpse of a deer in Parkhill Wood.
Use the Semple Trail map or leaflet to plan your route (pick up at the Centre or see the walks & cycles section of the Download page).
Trail Developement and Funding
The Semple Trail began in 2003 as the vision of the South Renfrewshire Access Network Initiative (SRANI). Since then, the route has developed in stages and various documents such as the Feasibility Study 2003, Interpretive Masterplan (2006) and a Conservation Statement and Management Proposals (2008) have been commissioned. Funding invested in the Semple Trail to April 2012 exceeded £1.25m.
The current development by SRANI is the Semple Trail Heritage Project (STHP), a heritage and access project to be delivered over 3 years from summer 2012.
Local communities and visitors will be kept informed of progress through regular updates online and at Castle Semple Visitor Centre. There are opportunities get involved through STHP volunteering and activity programmes.
SRANI partners value your opinion on developments so far and future plans so please contact us and let us know what you think!
South Renfrewshire Access Network Initiative
The South Renfrewshire Access Network Initiative (SRANI) came together in 2002 with the aim of establishing a network of paths linking routes, facilities and attractions around Castle Semple Loch. SRANI envisaged enhancement of this path network with seating, information, interpretation and play equipment as well as conservation and enrichment of heritage.
SRANI is a partnership of Clyde Muirshiel Park Authority, Renfrewshire Council, RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage, Sustrans, Howwood Wildlife and Woodlands Group, Lochwinnoch Millennium Events Group and Lochwinnoch and Howwood Community Councils.
Funding for the path network to April 2012 has been received from Clyde Muirshiel Park Authority, Forward Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Lochwinnoch Millennium Events Group, Renfrewshire Council, Renfrewshire LEADER, Renfrewshire Local Area Committees, RSPB, Scottish Enterprise Renfrewshire, Scottish Natural Heritage, Sustrans, Waste Recycling Environmental Ltd and Westrans.
Semple Trail Heritage Project
The Semple Trail Heritage Project will offer a mix of elements relating to access, biodiversity, conservation, discovery and events:
· Access – new and improved paths to increase access to heritage around Castle Semple Loch
· Biodiversity – enhanced wetland habitats and improved wildlife viewing via camera systems
· Conservation – an ice house, artificial cave, cascades and a section of the former estate wall will be conserved to safeguard the heritage for the future and enhance the appeal of this historic environment.
· Discovery – interpretation will be use to increase interest and understanding. SRANI partners believe that good interpretation will transform the Semple Trail path network and stimulate repeat visits throughout the year.
· Events and activities – a variety of activities will be offered to provide opportunities for the public to access and learn about the former Castle Semple Estate and the works to be undertaken as part of the project.
To date (June 2012) applications to Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Rural Development Programme Challenge Funds and Renfrewshire LEADER have been approved. Together with partner funding, almost £700,000 has so far been committed towards implementation of the STHP. Decisions on further applications are anticipated later in summer 2012.
The STHP is now at a very exciting stage and project partners will soon begin implementation of the elements of the STHP for which funding has been secured. Further information on the STHP is available in the update leaflet
Let us know what you think
SRANI will continue to identify and progress opportunities for enhancement of the Semple Trail and related path networks. The partners are committed to consultation at every stage of project development. Local communities have been consulted in relation to draft designs for the sections of path completed to date as well as in the preparation of reports.
We welcome suggestions for development of the project and invite residents and visitors to the area to contact us with their priorities for improvements in relation to new or existing routes and facilities – or even if you feel enough already exist!