St John’s Path (B3)

Time – 2 hours

Distance – 10 km/6 miles

johns_pathA pretty walk along a river bank and then along the old Coach Road between Blyth Bridge and West Linton, with good paths and varied landscape, combining two of the ‘Tweed Trails’

Good, level paths most of the way.  On the riverbank section, the path has been subject to a great deal of erosion and has collapsed into the river in recent times. If you encounter a section where such erosion has taken place such that it is difficult to get past, cross the fence and walk in the adjacent field until clear of the obstacle.  

Route: A72 south of Castle Craig grid reference 140.441      Finish – West Linton

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 the Monk's Stane (or Font Stane) is a legacy from the monastic days when wayfarers were given shelter (hospitality) according to 'spitaller' tradition. This route led down past Monks Burn to what is now Spittal Farm and Newhall and on to Rath Mannach ('fort of the monks') or Romanno Bridge.

The walk starts from a point [1] on the A72 between Blyth Bridge and the B7059 Drochil Castle turn, 400m north of the entrance to Ladyurd woods and 400m south of the entrance Castle Craig, just north of Grant’s Hall Cottage – the start of the walk is signposted (‘John’s Path – Blyth Bridge by Tarth Water’), taking you through a gate into a field.

Follow the edge of the field with the fence on your left, heading away from the road along the wooded side of Law Hill. Pass through a gate into another field to the left [2], and continue walking away from the A72, this time with the fence to your right, heading towards a metal gate at the far end of the field. Pass through the gate to reach Tarth Water [3].  Turn left, heading upstream along the riverbank.

This is ‘John’s Path’, a very pretty stretch of path indeed and named after the late John Shaw, a local nature lover who initiated the route. The path is easy to follow but can be a little overgrown in summer.  From the point where the path crosses the track up to Scotstoun Farm along the Blyth Bridge, the riverbank is prone to erosion but currently passable thanks to a huge fundraising effort to carry out repair work and to the support of the landowners.

The path emerges on the A701, 100m south of Blyth Bridge, 2.5 km from the start [4]. Cross the A701 to access the new footbridge that crosses Tarth Water, thus avoiding having to walk along the main road, heading into Blyth Bridge and turning left by the phone box, post box and bus stop to head northwards up to the back of the village and on up the farm track past Blyth Farm [5]. This is the Old Coach Road between Blyth Bridge and West Linton.

Near the top of the rise beyond Blyth Farm, turn right off the track and through a gate into the field, following the Tweed Trails signs. The path is grassy for the first 2 km or so, before becoming firmer as you approach the various chicken sheds that adorn the countryside. The track continues north-east, with views to your right across Longstruther Burn valley to Mountain Cross Steading farm and more of those picturesque chicken sheds.

The track joins the minor road between Romanno Bridge to Bogsbank/West Linton just above Hamiltonhall [6]. Turn left here and follow the road for 3.5 km to West Linton.

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