In 1866 construction work began on Crombie Reservoir in an effort to slake the thirst of Dundonians. A dam was built, flooding an old quarry and part of Crombie Den, and, two years later, water was being piped down to the city to feed the growing population and expanding industry.
The reservoir last had an input into the public supply, serving Carnoustie, in 1981. Two years later it became a country park, now run by Angus Council. The 100 hectares of woodland around the loch are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna including red squirrels, roe deer, foxes, green woodpeckers, wild flowers and fungi. An ongoing programme of tree planting has seen conifers replaced with wildlife-attracting oak, alder, rowan and hazel. The sheltered water attracts moorhen, grebes and coots.
From the car park, a small path to the right of the wooden cabin sets off, signposted as the Birch Wood Woodland Walk. Head up through an area of recently replanted forestry where, on a warm, sunny day, the clicking of crickets resonates through the grassy undergrowth.
The way skirts above Crombie Den, down to the right, and rises to the dam at the east end of the reservoir. At this point you can enjoy a fine uninterrupted view up the loch towards its island.
Turn right, crossing a footbridge over the concrete overflow, and head along the dam to the far end where there's a small wooden hut. Bear left at this point, following a solid gravel footpath as it winds its way between the tall, thin trunks of towering Scots Pine trees. You are now on the waymarked Discovery Trail and along the path there are various information panels.
The route heads through Crombie East Wood, skirting the northern shore of the reservoir, before turning right when the wooded island is approached. It bears left in due course, crossing the Hyndcastle Burn, to reach the west tip of the water where waterfoul may be seen in the reedy shallows.
Stay with the path as it curves round to the southern side of the reservoir. It joins a track, wandering east through Fallaws Wood, to reach the ranger centre, a kilometre on. Here you'll find various nature displays and information boards.
The most direct route back to the car park is to follow the tarmac road. However, the Tree Trail on the right is a pleasant detour. Signposted from the ranger centre, it includes a selection of specimen trees - including Yew, Douglas Fir, Chile Pine and Eastern Red Cedar - planted as part of the original reservoir landscaping.
Distance 3 miles/5km. ;
Map OS Landranger 1:50,000 sheet 54. ;
Start Crombie Country Park car park (grid ref NO 529402). ;
Parking There's a �1 charge. Grading An easy, low level woodland walk around Crombie Reservoir. ;
Further info Crombie Country Park is open from 9am to dusk (9pm in the summer). Dogs, with the exception of guide dogs, are not allowed in the park.
OS map temporarily removed. To get an OS map extract of this walk log on to www.streetmap.co.uk and key in start point grid ref where prompted.