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Newcastleton

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Newcastleton Forest Notices

Some Walking Trails and Mountain Biking Trails part-closed or diverted. (Last updated 13 November)

  • The Priest Hill Walking Trail and the Viewpoint Walking Trail are closed, and the Hanging Tree Walking Trail is partly closed with a diversion in place (7 days/week) for tree felling operations until mid-December. Sorry for any inconvenience. The Ponds Trail will remain fully open.
  • The Blue and Red Mountain Bike Routes are closed and diverted near the top of the climb up from Rock UK due to tree felling operations (7 days/week) until mid December. 
  • Due to forest road upgrade work, part of the Red Mountain Bike Route is closed and diverted until the end of November. Sorry for any inconvenience.
  • The Cross Border Route is currently closed and diverted on the section next to the Kershope Burn due to a forest road failure after the recent heavy rains. See below for details.
  • Advance Notice: The Red Mountain Bike Route and the Cross Border Route will be fully closed on Sat 23 November for the Roger Albert Clark Rally.  

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.

Guide Map to Newcastleton Forest (PDF 1.3MB)

Walking trails

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
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 (closed)

A trail notice is in effect

The Viewpoint Trail is closed until mid December 2019 (7 days/week) due to tree felling operations. Sorry for any inconvenience.

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
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 (diverted)

A trail notice is in effect

The Hanging Tree Trail is partly closed with a diversion in place until mid December 2019 (7 days/week) due to tree felling operations. Sorry for any inconvenience.

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
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

Priesthill Trail (closed)

A trail notice is in effect

The Priest Hill Trail is closed until mid December 2019 (7 days/week) due to tree felling operations. Sorry for any inconvenience.

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
3 miles / 4.7 km

Allow
2 hours

Mountain biking trails

7stanes2

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

Mountain Biking

Blue Route (diverted)

A trail notice is in effect

The Blue Outward Mountain Biking Route is closed and diverted near the top of the singletrack climb up from Rock UK. Please note - the diversion is 1km long and uses a soft, grassy path which may be muddy in places and has a steep section, which ends at post 12. The Return Route is diverted at post 12 and also uses this path, in reverse (so watch out for 2-way traffic). The diversion rejoins the Route part way down the final descent to Rock UK. The diversions are due to tree felling operations, and are ongoing until mid December 2019 (7days/week).

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 Outward Mountain Biking Route is closed and diverted near the top of the singletrack climb up from Rock UK. Please note - the diversion is 1km long and uses a soft, grassy path which may be muddy in places and has a steep section, which ends at post 12. The Return Route is diverted at post 12, and also uses this path in reverse ( please watch out for 2-way traffic). The diversion rejoins the Route part way down the final descent to Rock UK. The diversions are due to tree felling operations ongoing until mid December 2019 (7days/week).
  • Due to forest road upgrade work until the end of November, the Red Route is closed and diverted at post 17 on the outward route (rejoining at post 22) and closed and diverted on the return route at post 22 (rejoining at post 19). The closure is mainly of a forest road section of the Red Route, but the Caddrouns singletrack section is also closed. Sorry for any inconvenience.
  • Look out for a temporary chicane on Swarf Hill (post 38) and signage near the exit of Hidden Valley Upper (post 25) to slow riders. The forest roads at the exits are being upgraded. – if machines are working at the exits please wait for the operator to wave you through before passing. Thank you.
  • Look out for machines working on the forest road between post 27 and post 28 (section before the Border Stane). Please stop and wait for operator to wave you through before passing.  Thank you.
  • Look out for tipper lorries travelling frequently in and out of the quarry near the start of Swarf Hill (post 36) and on the forest roads in/around the Red mtb Route.
  • Advance Note: The Red Mountain Bike Route and the Cross Border Route will be fully closed on Sat 23 November for the Roger Albert Clark Rally.  

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 Route

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.

Please note: The Cross Border Route is currently closed and diverted on the section next to the Kershope Burn due to a forest road failure after the recent heavy rains. The road is due to be repaired and reopened by the end of October. A map of the Cross Border Route is on the Guide Map to Newcastleton Forest

Look out for machines working on the forest road between post 25 and 28 (see Newcastleton 7stanes trailmap) until approx. mid November.  Please stop and wait for operator to wave you through before passing. Thank you.

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.

You should allow 9 hours to walk the route. Check our advice on hill walking before you set off.

Facilities & access

Parking
Parking
Picnic area
Picnic area

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

 

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 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.

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)
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