Although it feels like new homes and developments are going up all over East Renfrewshire, there is, in fact, a huge amount of unspoiled countryside right on our doorstep! One of the best ways to enjoy this green open space is to cycle, and there are some fabulous cycle routes available if you know where to look.
If you can manage the challenging ascents, not only will you experience breathtaking views across East Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, Renfrewshire and Glasgow with the peaks of Arran and the Southern Highlands, you’ll also experience the exhilarating descents.
East Renfrewshire has put together ten cycle routes ranging from easy to difficult, and many of them are suitable for both adults and children. The hills and busy roads can be avoided on some of the routes available, allowing young families the chance to enjoy cycling without finding it too difficult. Whichever route you choose, there’s no better way to experience the East Renfrewshire countryside!
Here’s our pick of the best. For more information on these routes, and to see some others not mentioned, click here.
This 15-mile scenic cycle loop is graded as moderate and takes approximately two and a half hours to complete. The route makes use of the quiet, country roads in-between Neilston, Uplawmoor and Paisley with several steep sections giving you the opportunity to see the incredible views as far as Arran, Ailsa Craig, the Campsie Fells and Ben Lomond. You may even see Buzzards and Kestrels!
This is one of the easy cycle routes, taking just one hour and covering seven miles. It’s perfect for families with children as it is a simple, scenic route through the Dams to Darnley Country Park along waymarked tracks beside the beautiful dams of Balgray, Ryat Linn and Waulkmill. It’s an easy way to make the most of the extensive views over East Renfrewshire and Glasgow, and you may even spot great-crested grebe and geese. When you reach Waulkmill Reservoir there’s a pretty single-track road leading to the famous Darnley Tree at Darnley, where Mary, Queen of Scots allegedly nursed her cousin (and future husband), Lord Darnley back to health.
Barrhead has quiet roads above the town providing great cycling along with fantastic views of the countryside, the Campsie Fells and the Scottish Highlands as well as Glasgow’s cityscape. The country roads on this route will take you through open countryside beside the Walton Dam and Duncarnock Fort. The route is ten miles long and takes around one and a half hours – depending on how long you stop to take in the incredible views!
This is graded as a moderate to difficult cycle routes due to the steep climbs. However, with the pain comes the gain of some of the most incredible views across East Renfrewshire, as far as Ben Lomond 40 miles to the north. The route starts in Clarkston, takes you off the beaten track into Busby and into Carmunnock village.
Starting in Giffnock, this is one of the most difficult routes at 22 miles long and expected to take over four hours. However, it’s also one of the exhilarating routes! The route climbs through Newton Mearns and onto the old A77 which has an excellent cycle lane. There is a long section of open moorland with wonderful views out to the renowned profile of Arran to the west whilst south the rolling hills of Galloway form a distinctive barrier on the horizon. You will cross into Eaglesham Moor where the wide-open spaces provide an exceptional panorama over Glasgow up to Ben More and Stob Binnein. The latter part of the route will see you cycling quieter roads from Eaglesham back to Newton Mearns where a long descent down the Ayr Road will take you back to Giffnock.
This is a straightforward, easy route that is perfect for families. At just six miles long it’s one of the shortest and it takes about an hour. The quiet, country roads surround the conservation village of Eaglesham and will take you up through the open countryside towards South Lanarkshire before descending back into East Renfrewshire at Waterfoot. There are no steep climbs but you’ll experience some expansive views of Glasgow. You can avoid the B-road for a shorter route.