Microadventure: Johnstone Bluebell Woods

Tuesday 18th October, 2022

In his final blog, local writer and Cam Procter leaves the bike at home and heads out on a walking microadventure exploring Johnstone’s Bluebell Woods and the Gleniffer Braes. 

If you’re in the mood to spend some time out in the woods, there are several distinct but connected woodlands in Johnstone that are great for exploring! Each of the separate woodlands has its own network of trails, but our route takes you up through each of these woods, and the trail is perfect for both walking and running.

Bardrain Woods Johnstone ©Cam Procter

The route starts at Johnstone train station, which is only a four-minute journey from Paisley Gilmour St. Exit the train station the back way (onto Springfield Park) and head south until you find yourself on Auchenlodment Road. About 400 yards down this road, you’ll notice a small, black sign on your right that reads ‘Bluebell Woods’. Cut in here to join the trail.

This section is easygoing and mostly wooded. As its bound on all sides by houses, it can be quite busy, but the route does get much quieter as you go. As you follow the trail along, you’ll start to head uphill; eventually, the trees give way to a field of ferns. A little trek through these ferns brings you to a road.

Bardrain Woods Path ©Cam Procter

Directly across the road, the Windy Hill segment begins. Although wooded at the start, the ferns soon return as you climb higher. You’ll soon notice a small river valley to your left, and if you look behind you, you’ll be treated to a nice view down this valley and over Paisley. However, the best view is yet to come, so press on!

Along this track, you’ll come to a short descent that leads to a bridge, which then takes you to the other side of the river. Once across, there’s a steep climb back up into the trees. This climb is quite long and contains a few switchbacks. However, it soon flattens out—and stays flat. Up here, the tree cover is sparser, providing some fantastic views over to the north. On a clear day, you can see as far as the Trossachs!

Bardrain Woods View ©Cam Procter

Follow the trail along until you come to a gate. There’s a thick forest ahead, and our route takes you up into these trees. However, if you’re enjoying the views, you can follow the trail straight ahead to skirt around them instead.

At the end of this path, you’ll come to the A737, just across from the Car Park in the Sky. This is where our route starts to head back, but if you’re in for a longer adventure, you can cross the road to enter the Gleniffer Braes Country Park. Whenever you do decide to head back, take care on the descent, as it can be quite slippery when wet.

Bardrain Woods Gleniffer Braes ©Cam Procter

Route notes:

Distance (from Johnstone train station): 7.5 miles / 12 kilometres

Time: Allow 3.5-5 hours if walking, including snack breaks

Terrain: Trail (not including the short segment near the train station)

Special kit: Grippy walking or trail running shoes; parts of this trail are steep and can be slippery when wet

Highlights: Bluebell Woods, Windy Hill, Bardrain Wood, Gleniffer Braes

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