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Newcastleton

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Latest forest information

Works Notice: Harvesting and windblow clearing works are in progress, and due to finish on 22 December 2022. The Hanging Tree trail will be closed for the durations of these works. The Viewpoint and Priesthill trails will be closed during the week but open at the weekends. 

The lower half of the Blue mountain bike route is open. The Red Route is now back open with three diversions. See bike section for details.

About

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 Priest Hill 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.

Walking trails

Newcastleton route card (PDF)

Walking

Ponds Trail

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.

Moderate trail grade icon
¼ miles / 0.5 km

Allow
¼ hours

More information

The ponds are a great draw for wildlife – look out for ducklings in spring and glittering dragonflies dashing across the water in summer.

Walking

Viewpoint Trail (diverted)

A trail notice is in effect

There is a diversion in place to avoid areas affected by significant windblow.

 

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.

Moderate trail grade icon
2 ¼ miles / 3.6 km

Allow
1½ hours

More information

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.

Walking

Hanging Tree Trail (closed)

A trail notice is in effect

This trail is closed due to significant storm damage.   

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.

Strenuous trail grade icon
2 ½ miles / 4.0 km

Allow
1½ hours

More information

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.

Walking

Priest Hill Trail

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.

Strenuous trail grade icon
3 miles / 4.7 km

Allow
2 hours

Mountain biking trails

7stanes Mountain Bike Trails logo

Newcastleton is one of the internationally-renowned 7stanes mountain biking trail centres.

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

Newcastleton 7stanes route card (PDF)

Mountain Biking

Blue Route (diverted)

A trail notice is in effect

The lower half of the Blue Route is open. After the singletrack climb up from Rock UK the route is diverted at post 11 back down the final descent to Rock UK. Pouter Lampert (post 15-19), the other section of singletrack on the Blue, remains closed due to storm damage. 

Fun singletrack for all the family.

Blue: Moderate
6 miles / 9.7 km

More information

Perfect for beginners or families, this route offers a gentle introduction to mountain biking complete with stunning views, forest paths and some fun descents.

Mountain Biking

Red Route (diverted)

A trail notice is in effect

The Red Route is open with three diversions. Singletrack sections open are: climb from Rock UK; Hidden Valley Upper and Lower; Swarf Hill; Caddrouns; final descent to Rock UK. The first diversion starts at post 14 and bypasses Pouter Lampert (closed) via forest roads and minor public road to post 22 just before Hidden Valley. After exit of Hidden Valley Lower (post 27) the second diversion climbs back up the forest road to the start of Swarf Hill (post 37). The third diversion starts at post 15 bypassing Pouter Lampert via forest road to post 14.   

Look out for timber lorries on the route. If you meet a lorry loading at a timber stack, please stop and wait for the operator to wave you through before passing. Thank you.  

Feel the power of this fast and furious route.

Red: Difficult
14 ½ miles / 23.4 km

More information

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.

Activities

The Cross Border Trail

On Saturday 22 October the Cross Border Trail will be closed to enable the Carlisle Stages Rally to take place.  

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.

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 and access

Walking
Walking
Mountain biking
Mountain biking
Parking icon
Parking
Wildlife hide
Wildlife hide
Horse riding
Horse riding
Picnic area
Picnic area

You can find public toilets and free showers, as well as several places to eat, drink and shop in Newcastleton.

Car parking information

There is no charge to park in this car park. Please park with care and consideration. In particular please park in designated parking areas only and do not block entrances or gates.

More about parking

Getting here

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 Priest Hill 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.

Using SatNav?

TD9 0TA is the nearest postcode for Priesthill car park in Newcastleton Forest.  For the 7stanes trailhead in the village, use postcode TD9 0QD.

Public transport

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 directions

Get in touch

Have a question or suggestion for improvement?

Phone
0300 067 6900 (option 1)
More contact information

Nearby forests

Brown heather on hilltop looking out to wide rolling green hills under a blue and cloudy sky

Wild hills in the border country

Facilities and activities
Parking icon
Parking
Distance from 'Newcastleton ': 9.90 miles
Binoculars around man's neck

Explore this spectacular prehistoric settlement

Facilities and activities
Walking
Walking
Parking icon
Parking
Viewpoint
Viewpoint
Ancient monument
Ancient monument
Distance from 'Newcastleton ': 10.37 miles
Close up of pine cones

An Iron Age landscape with views over the River Esk

Facilities and activities
Walking
Walking
Parking icon
Parking
Viewpoint
Viewpoint
Ancient monument
Ancient monument
Distance from 'Newcastleton ': 10.79 miles