Newcastleton forest notice
COVID-19 has changed lots of things we do. And as we re-open the majority of our facilities and welcome more of you back in Phase 3, we need your help to do it safely. Please check what’s open before you travel; enjoy your visit safely by following NHS and Scottish Government guidance; take your litter home with you; and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
At this location:
- The car park is open and normal charges (if any) now apply.
- All mountain biking trails are open.
- There is a diversion on the Red Mountain Bike Route.
- There is a diversion on the Cross Border Trail.
Thrills galore in the rolling forest - brilliant for biking
Whether you’re planning a peaceful picnic with lovely views, a wilderness ramble or an adrenalin-rush mountain bike ride, Newcastleton Forest offers the perfect setting. The forest is also a wildlife haven: don’t miss the hide overlooking Priesthill and the stunning Liddel valley. There are traces of ages past here too - look out for ancient settlements and burial cairns as you go.
Newcastleton Forest stretches to the border with England, where it meets Kielder Forest – making it part of the largest forest in Britain. It’s a powerhouse for timber production, but the forest is also home to a rich variety of wildlife as well as many remnants of its earlier history when the hills were dotted with ancient settlements.
A charming stroll around the restful ponds on Whithaugh Burn. Sit by the water and look for wild flowers and dragonflies among the hazel and willow trees.
Firm gravel surface with occasional loose stones. Short fairly steep ramps, but plenty of seats along the route. Two bridges 0.9m wide.
Allow ¼ hours
The ponds are a great draw for wildlife – look out for ducklings in spring and glittering dragonflies dashing across the water in summer.
Great views across Liddesdale from the trig point on Priest Hill. Look for an Iron Age earthwork and a wildlife hide.
Uneven grassy paths. Long slope to summit with fairly steep sections. Some patches may be muddy.
Allow 1½ hours
This trail leads you up through spruce trees to reach the open summit of Priest Hill. There are panoramic views from here of rolling Liddesdale and beyond, and of Liddel Water, which forms the border between Scotland and England for some of its length. Visit the wildlife hide close to the trail and linger a while to see what wildlife passes by. You might also like to return to the hide on a summer’s evening to see the local badger clan emerge.
Hanging Tree Trail
Discover the wild history of Newcastleton. Follow an old drove road to Belshiels, and visit the Hanging Tree and ruins of Pouterlampert.
Rough grass and earth paths with numerous muddy sections. Several short steep slopes. Includes two bridges.
Allow 1½ hours
This trail begins along the historic drove road past the settlement of Belshiel, then returns through an atmospheric area of old, well established woodland. Pass the 500 year old farm of Pouterlampert and take a short detour to see the Hanging Tree and imagine what stories this veteran ash tree could tell.
Take the full circuit around Priest Hill, down to the banks of Liddel Water. Ever-changing views over the valley and Border hills.
Rough grassy path with some fairly steep slopes. Muddy sections and a shallow ford.
Allow 2 hours
Mountain biking trails
Newcastleton is one of the internationally-renowned 7stanes mountain biking trail centres.
The Newcastleton 7stanes map (PDF 607KB) shows the trails.
Phytophthora Ramorum, a disease that kills larch trees, has reached Newcastleton. Please help slow the spread of the disease by making sure your bikes, shoes, kit, dogs, horses, buggies etc., are all clean before visiting Newcastleton and other forests. Thank you. #keepitclean
Fun singletrack for all the family.
Perfect for beginners or families, this route offers a gentle introduction to mountain biking complete with stunning views, forest paths and some fun descents.
Red Route (diverted)
A trail notice is in effect
- After the Hidden Valley Upper descent please look out for a diversion which bypasses the Hidden Valley Lower section of singletrack (post 25 – 26). We’re sorry this section is no longer open…but a new Hidden Valley Lower trail is coming soon! The diversion is currently extended to also bypass the forest road section climbing up to the Border stane which is being upgraded, until the end of October. The diversion ends at post 30 (exit of The Bog). Please also look out for tipper trucks on the forest roads to/from Swarf Quarry (near post 36).
Feel the power of this fast and furious route.
Fast and narrow singletrack guides you through the forest and around this adrenaline pumping route. There are plenty of special features to keep you on your toes and climbs to test your cardio fitness.
The Cross Border Trail
Update 2 October 2020: The Cross Border Trail is diverted on the Scottish side due to forest road upgrade works on the section of the route just before and after the Border stane, until the end of October 2020. The diversion starts 1km south of Priesthill car park, continues via Tweedenhead and ends on the road next to the Kershope Burn, 3.5km before the Trail crosses the border into England.
Perfect for anyone with plenty of stamina looking for a true wilderness experience, this 17½ mile (28 km) expedition from Scotland to England and back is ideal for well-prepared walkers, cyclists and horse-riders in search of an adventure into remote border country.
A map of the Cross Border Trail is on the Guide Map to Newcastleton Forest.
Way markers with purple arrows will take you round the trail, visiting the stunning Kershope Burn and the Three Counties meeting point, where the Scottish Borders, Northumberland and Cumbria join together. Look out for the historic Bloody Bush toll stone, which marks the crossing between Scotland and England, as well as the 21st century Border Stane. On a clear day there are superb views of the rolling borderlands.
Please note – the trail on the Scotland side is waymarked in one direction only - anti clockwise.
You should allow 9 hours to walk the route. Check our advice on hill walking before you set off.
Facilities & access
You can find public toilets and free showers, as well as several places to eat, drink and shop in Newcastleton.
Newcastleton lies on the B6357, which links Bonchester Bridge and Canonbie.
For walking trails, take the unclassified road at the southern end of Newcastleton village to Priesthill Car Park approx 2.0 miles (3.2km) from the village.
The 7stanes mountain bike trails all start/finish at the Douglas Square trailhead in the centre of Newcastleton Village.
TD9 0TA is the nearest postcode for Priesthill car park in Newcastleton Forest. For the 7stanes trailhead in the village, use postcode TD9 0QD.
There are regular buses to Newcastleton from Hawick and Carlisle (except Sundays). You’ll find details at Traveline Scotland.
You can also reach Newcastleton under your own steam on the Reivers Route coast-to-coast cycle trail.
Get in touch
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