Straddling the border between Perthshire and the Kingdom of Fife, Pitmedden Forest was once the playground of the royals. From Falkland Palace, the kings and queens of Scotland rode out here in pursuit of wild boar. The original forest was largely felled to provide wood during the First World War, but it was later replanted by the Forestry Commission with Scots Pine, Sitka and Norway spruce and remains a commercial plantation under their control. To encourage recreational use, a small car park has been provided, along with various waymarked routes for cyclists and walkers.
From the car park, the track rises south, running parallel with the public road through Abernethy Glen for a short distance before it curves left to reach a junction. Ignore the route on the left and continue along the main track, which goes on climbing, curving left to reach another junction a short way on.
Go left here, the track rising gently through tall stands of predominantly Scots Pine trees, curving right and then left. There's a clearing a short way on and another junction where a grassy track strikes off to the left. However, stay with the main track as it heads back into the trees, descending slightly before it starts to rise once again.
Further on, the route twists and turns a couple of times to reach the edge of the forest where views open out south to the Lomond Hills, the prominent rounded summits of East Lomond and West Lomond easily recognisable.
The track skirts the edge of the plantation, bordering land invaded by spiky gorse bushes. Fields slope into the valley below and views stretch out across the fertile Howe of Fife.
The way curves past an open area of ground, descending to another junction. Ignore the track on the left, which leads to the farm as Stewartshill, and carry straight on, round a barrier gate, to a crossroads. Turn left here and follow the track north. Initially the route is hemmed in by tall trees. But these soon disappear to offer fine views over the Tay and Earn valleys, the two rivers flowing through farmland to meet just west of Mugdrum Island. You may be lucky enough to spot buzzards here, catching air currents high above the plantation. They feed on the healthy population of rabbits living in the woods and surrounding fields.
The track is lined with wild raspberry plants and blaeberry bushes, providing a refreshing snack for walkers towards the end of July and during early August when the fruit is ripe for the picking.
Curving right, the way climbs under electricity pylon lines before turning east and then south, heading back under the wires. It rises around the northern flank of Pitcairlie Hill, passing below the line on two further occasions, then heads south to reach a junction. Turn right here and the track descends to the crossroads reached earlier in the walk. From here, retrace your steps back down the forest track to the car park.
Distance 7.5 miles/12km.
Map OS Landranger sheet 58.
Start/parking Pitmedden Forest car park, Abernethy Glen (grid ref NO 188141).
Grading Moderate walk with easy to follow forest tracks throughout. Keep an eye out for mountain bikes and occasional vehicles using the tracks. This route is suitable for mountain bikes throughout.