Ceres Recreational Route

Out to St. Andrews and back.



GRADE Medium - Some hills
UPDATED August 2002



This 31 km / 19 mile route starts in the picturesque village of Ceres, then heads into the hills to descend past Craigton Country Park into St. Andrews. From here it returns via Strathkinness, through the Dura Den to Pitscottie and Ceres.There are no advantages a clockwise or anti clockwise direction, both feature gradients that you would rather miss!

Ceres, there is a monument at the bridge near the Cycle InformationPoint, which reads “To commemorate the vindication of Scotland’s independence on the field of Bannockburn 21st June 1314. And to perpetuate the tradition of the part taken therein of the men of Ceres.” On the back of the memorial is an inscription to the monuments inauguration in 1914 on the 600th anniversary of the battle. Little did they realise what lay ahead for the men of Ceres after August 1914, when Britain declared war on Germany.

Leaving the Cycle Information Point in the car park, you join the National Cycle Route 1, heading for St. Andrews, passing the curious Toby Jug like figure of the last Ceres Church Provost, turn right into Anstruther Road, following the cycle route signpost for Peak Inn. At the top of the hill turn right for New Gilston and Peat Inn, after passing through the Newbigging Farm there is a short sharp climb, followed by a gentle climb, a dip and more climbing. The road gradient continues to climb until you reach a T-junction, turn left to go through New Gilston heading for Peat Inn.

On the outskirts of the village you will come to a T-junction, turn left and be wary of the cycle route sign posts as Route 3 (yellow), from Elie shares this route into Peat Inn. Turn left at the T-junction outside Peat Inn, and follow the road through Peat Inn. Do not turn right or follow the Yellow 3 sign posted route – unless you want to go to Elie! On the outskirts of Peat Inn turn right for Strathkinness, heading for the aerial mast on the skyline with three short climbs to the top.

Over the top and you start to descend, the route then goes off to the right without any forewarning towards Deanhead, continue through the hamlet and down the steep hill to a T-junction, there is no direction sign that should direct you to the right. Turn right and continue past Craigton Country Park and downhill into St. Andrews. There are two mini-roundabouts after Craigton, in each case, go straight on. The road ends at a T-junction, which carries a spur off the National Cycle Route 1 to St. Andrews. Turn left and continue on the B939 road for a short distance. Be wary, the right turn into High Strathkinness Road it is not to well marked, the signs are hidden by trees. The route then starts to climb gently to Strathkinness. There are some good views of RAF Leuchars, Tentsmuir Forest and the Angus coastline to the right. Come up to a cross roads and go straight on.

A diversion off the route, and curiously not mentioned on the official map is to visit the scene of the murder of Archbishop Sharp at Magnus Muir. If you wish, turn left at the cross roads and head down hill to another cross roads, go straight over and up the short hill to the car park in the woods ahead.

There are information boards detailing the incident in the woods. From the car park, take the left hand path, which will lead first to the graves of the five martyrs in the field to the left and to the pyramid shaped monument surrounded by an over-grown Yew tree hedge, marking the spot where five Covenanters murdered Archbishop Sharp, Saturday 3rd May 1679. The martyrs, buried nearby were captured at following the Battle of Bothwell Bridge, and had nothing to do with Sharps’ murder. They were hanged because they would not take an oath, which was contrary to their covenanting principles. They were taken from Edinburgh where they were condemned to Magnus Muir, hung and their bodies hung in chains for a long time as an example to all.

Retrace tour tracks, to rejoin the Ceres Cycle Route.

After leaving the cross roads at the top of Strathkinness continue straight on, the road will gently climb for a short while before the descent just after the farm. In one place the way down becomes quite steep. The road levels out beside the River Eden. You can get a nice view of the bridge and church beside the river from the small fisherman’s car park beside the bridge.

At the junction, continue straight on, the recently restored Dairsie Castle can be seen briefly after the bridge and to the right. As you head upstream the road climbs through the Dura Den to Kemback and Pitscottie. The water from the Ceres Burn was used to power mills and traces of them can still be seen along with lades, sluices and workers houses. Look out for a footpath sign on the right, just after passing Grove House, this leads to a weir with an interesting view of the burn and falls.

The Dura Den Road will eventually lead into Pitscottie, turn left at the T-junction, and then turn right onto the B939, signposted Ceres and Glenrothes. Enter Ceres and that is the route complete.

The Bannockburn Memorial


The Toby Jug Figure

The Martyrs Grave


Bishop Sharps Memorial


Wallace Shackleton