National Route 76 of the National Cycle Network runs from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Edinburgh, Stirling and Kirkcaldy, travelling along both sides of the Forth.
The area around the Forth Estuary is one of the most interesting and varied landscapes in Scotland. Cyclists can enjoy renowned wildlife habitats, ancient castles, historic burghs, stately mansions and peaceful native woodlands.
The Firth of Forth has been classified as a Special Protection Area under the EC Birds Directive because of its international importance for breeding and wintering seabirds, and the Isle of May has been designated as a Special Area of Conservation because of its grey seal colony. Few areas of Scotland are so steeped in history, yet so part of the present.
The route will reward you with beautiful views of the Forth Estuary and also lots of opportunities to stop and enjoy Scotland’s cultural heritage. You’ll pass through Dunbar, a charming town and harbour which is the birthplace of the founder of the National Park movement, John Muir.
From Dunbar to Edinburgh you’ll enjoy fine beaches and excellent views of the city skyline as you head through old fishing and mining villages and into the town of Musselburgh.
Edinburgh is a fascinating city to visit, it has a rich cultural history and it a wonderful blend of old and new. There are lots of interesting museums and galleries to visit while you’re there including the National Museum of Scotland and the Writers Museum.
Once through the city, you head around the parklands of Dalmeny Estate, then through the historic town of South Queensferry. After passing under the Forth Road Bridge, the route continues past Hopetoun House and along the coast to Bo’ness, where the town centre is an Outstanding Conservation Area.
Heading west out of Bo’ness, the route takes you past the historic Category A listed Kinneil House and a Roman fortlet. The section of route between Grangemouth town and Stirling takes you through some pleasant countryside, with wonderful views over the Forth estuary to the Ochil Hills beyond.
The historic city of Stirling has its castle and the Wallace monument to explore and is also the junction with Route 765, which runs to Doune. In Alloa, you pass Alloa Tower, the largest surviving keep in Scotland, which dates back to the 14th century and is run by the National Trust for Scotland.
After going through Culross, a picturesque, historic town which retains many 16th and 17th buildings, it’s 10 miles on a mixture of traffic-free paths and minor roads until you head past the port of Rosyth and under the Forth Road Bridge again.
The final stretch begins on a path that hugs the coast past Dalgety Bay and through woodland to Aberdour and its award-winning sandy beaches. The path runs through woodland and is squeezed between the sea and the railway line as you cycle to Burntisland. Then there’s a rather steep climb up through farmland, which is rewarded by a downward run into the seaside town of Kirkcaldy, where Route 76 ends on the beach esplanade. From the esplanade, you can join Route 766, which heads northwards to Glenrothes.
Although the route is 211 miles long in total it is easy to tackle shorter sections or create circular routes by crossing the estuary on the Forth Road Bridge or the Kincardine Bridge.
We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness. However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes. Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces. Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.