Castle Semple Visitor Centre

The loch side at Castle Semple Country Park, Lochwinnoch

Set on the shores of Castle Semple Loch, this visitor centre – where inclusiveness is the order of the day – is a great base for exploring this part of the enormous Clyde Muirshiel Country Park.

Entry to the centre is free – it costs nothing to explore the loch shore or Parkhill Wood using the compact paths; ramble up the disused railway line; bird watch and feed the ducks and swans. The trails vary in length from 550 yards to just over three miles. If arranged in advance, it is possible for one of the team of enthusiastic rangers to take your group on a fascinating tour, free of charge, to discover the flora and fauna of the area. For a charge, your family can take to the water, hopefully alongside some of the resident otters. There are two inclusive options – pre-bookable sailing lessons, with experienced tutors, in an adapted boat or an accessible motorboat. Permits for coarse fishing are available from the centre – the loch has perch, pike and roach. Eels can be caught too!

The centre is well signposted from all approaches. In the spacious car park, there are six disabled parking spaces close to the entrance – to get into the centre there is a steady incline on a bonded surface and lengthy ramp, but these should be manageable for most wheelchair users. Assistance may be needed for wheelchair users to reach the fishing spots, and to make the transition from the loch side path to the old railway line, as inclines are steeper here than elsewhere.

Food & drink: The tea room in the centre offers basic fare – hot and cold drinks, snacks and sandwiches. The stunning views over the loch to the woods and hills on the far shore, more than make up for the lack of food variety.