A walk through a forest and along a beach. You will find several waymarked trails including a long circular route. You could see a lot of wildlife at Tentsmuir, including roe deer, red squirrels, seals basking on the beach, and maybe a Scottish crossbill, Scotland's only indigenous bird.
How to get there
To find the official car park for Tentsmuir, go to Leuchars then head north east out of the town, following the signs for Kinshaldy Beach. The nearest post code is KY16 0DR. This car park has a £2 parking charge.
We entered Tentsmuir through Shanwell road south in Tayport, postcode DD6 9EH. Head up to the waterfront and turn right, and keep going until the road runs out. There is limited car parking on the roadside here. The route decription and map starts and ends here, but walks from the main car park should be easy to find.
You can see a map of the route here.
Follow the path over a short open grassy space to the woods, then follow the track into and through the woods. There are several tracks through the woods, laid out in a square grid pattern, so the walking options are almost unlimited.
One easy option, especially if you are walking from Tayside, is to follow the track through the woods until you have walked far enough, then head out of the woods to the beach and walk back to your car along the beach.
Tentsmuir was originally settled 8,000 years ago. More recently, the open sandy beaches were thought to be an ideal place for German invasion in WW2, especially if they could then have captured Leuchars airfield. Locals, helped by Polish forces, therefore built the lines of concrete tank traps that can still be seen on the beaches, and also pill boxes that are still hidden inside the forest. To defend against gliders, long wooden poles were stood upright along the coastline and at low tide some of these poles are still visible on the beach.
You might also come across an old icehouse in the woods that was originally built to store salmon, but is now home to bats.
Tayside itself was a small settlement beside a small 11th century chapel, orginally called Partan Craig which is Gaelic for 'Crab Rock'. It belonged to Arbroath abbey, and was the southern side of a ferry service for pilgrims crossing over the river Tay between Arbroath and Saint Andrews. The settlement name evolved to Port-in-Craige and then became Ferry-Port on Craig when it received a burgh charter in the 14th century.
The Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee Railway bought out the steam ferry service in 1851 and used it for their railway ferry service to Broughty Ferry, until the Tay rail bridge was built. They simplified the name of their southern terminal from 'Ferry-Port on Craig' to simply 'Tayport', and that name stuck.