Lowrie's Den - Cuiken Glen - North Esk Circular

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There are several points on the route for this walk at which it is convenient to start for those arriving either by car or by bus. It can therefore easily be completed in several short sections by combining the walk with the use of public transport. However, as described, the full walk starts at the car park by Tympany Gates, alongside the A766 south-west of Penicuik.

The route then runs along a well-signed path through the woods known as Lowrie's Den, with views to the left over to the Pentland Hills. Crossing a footbridge over the Loan Burn, the route climbs up the bank, over a farm road and along the edge of the wood. Having crossed a minor road, it continues along a further narrow path that angles down through the woods to reach the right bank of the small Lawhead Burn and emerge into a modern housing estate by a road with a bus route to and from Edinburgh. The route then crosses the Cuiken Burn and runs down its valley on a well-made path (see www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1225522) before emerging at Cuicken Bridge onto the main A701, which it crosses at traffic-lights.

After about 350 yards along roadside pavements, the walk enters Beeslack Woods, drops down to another footbridge across the Loan Burn (see www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1398777) and runs down its left bank through Lady Wood to reach the Dalkeith - Penicuik Walk and Cycleway. Crossing the Loan Burn for the last time, the walk follows the tarmac of the cycleway as it follows the North Esk river and becomes a minor road that goes through a tunnel under the road (see www.geograph.org.uk/photo/913330) to reach a small car park on the site of an old railway station by Esk Bridge.

Continuing to follow the river and its parallel lade that once served the old paper-mill at Esk Bridge, the route again crosses another bridge and runs alongside the previous site of Valleyfield Mill, the last of the paper-mills in Penicuik, which is now occupied by a modern housing estate (see www.geograph.org.uk/photo/929905). Having again crossed the, by now, much smaller river, the route goes past Valleyfield Pond, with its ducks and two duck-houses, to emerge at the entrance to the housing estate. It then runs up the hill past the school once associated with the mill and which still stands, complete with its bell, albeit after conversion into a dwelling-house (see www.geograph.org.uk/photo/911919). Having again reached the A701 to the north of the Telford Bridge (see www.geograph.org.uk/photo/913266).

Cross the bridge and leave the main road just before the rather idiosyncratic South Church. The walk then re-enters Penicuik Estate and climbs up the southern bank of the valley of the North Esk. The route continues along the top of the valley past the rather sparse ruins of Ravensneuk Castle. There are extensive views towards the Moorfoot Hills over the farmland to the left and also across the wooded North Esk Valley to the Pentland Hills on the right. At one point the monument to Alan Ramsay (see www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2372952) may be seen across the field on the left and also the southern aspect of the ruined Penicuik House, set in the designed landscape at the end of an avenue of lime trees in the valley to the right. Thereafter the walk follows the Hare Burn as it runs steeply down a small glen, crosses the North Esk for the last time and then continues along a track on the left bank of the river for about 500 yards to reach an old multi-arched stone bridge over the river. This, known locally but inaccurately as the 'Centurion Bridge' or 'Roman Bridge', was built in 1738 (see www.geograph.org.uk/photo/982846).

By judicious selection of starting points and/or parking places, this walk can be conveniently completed in two or three short sections on different occasions.

Scotland - South Scotland - Scottish Borders - Countryside

Features

Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Castle, Church, Flowers, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Industrial Archaeology, Pub, Public Transport, River, Stately Home, Wildlife, Woodland
11/05/2017 - Tom and Joyce Kay

On a near perfect day with dry paths this walk provided great variety, changing interest, and views. Maintenance means that some wayposts have been relocated or are missing. With care and a map there should be little navigational difficulty. The small climbs add a satisfying amount of exercise.

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