West Linton & Old Drove Road
Time – 5 hours
Distance – 20km/12 miles
A lovely walk, the joy of which is that almost all of it is off-road, using very good and extremely efficiently signposted paths and tracks. The route has terrific views back to Peebles, passes through the Meldon Hills and through the Cloich Forest, moorland and farming land – a huge variety of scenery. The final stretch follows the route of walk A4, so it would be useful to take that route with you too if you go. You’ll also need OS Explorer sheet 337 for this one, although older maps will be a bit behind in marking the route on it and in revising the shape of the Cloich Forest, which has been extensively cleared over the past few years.
Route: Start Peebles, Finish – West Linton
Leave Peebles centre via the A72 Glasgow road, turning right just past the Neidpath Inn onto Young Street (signposted ‘RC Church’ and ‘Rosetta’). Continue along past the Council offices and out of town. Just past the caravan park on your left, the road takes a 90 degree turn to the right. At this point, turn ahead/left off the road and uphill on the farm track signposted ‘Meldons via Hamilton Hill and the Old Drove Road’. On the right hand side of the road is another signpost (‘West Linton via the Old Drove Road’) that will recur through this walk – wherever it appears, this is indicated as ‘SP’.
The track climbs up and away from Peebles, with superb views back over the town, levelling out and becoming grassier to follow the contour of the side of the valley that carries the A703 Edinburgh road, visible down to your right. It then bears left round Hamilton Hill (it is tempting here to pass through a gate on the left at this point, but ignore it, carrying on past it following the waymarks), heading downhill with a dry stane dyke to your right. At the bottom, cross a footbridge and head up again, passing to the left of a stand of trees. Pass through a gate and turn left (SP) to follow the edge of a field and up to a tarmac farm track, turning right to walk along it. You are about 4km into the walk at this point, with great views of the Meldons for the next few kilometres.
Walk along the farm track for 1km to reach a minor road (the one that runs from Eddleston through the Meldons over to Lyne). Turn right (SP) and walk along the road for 500m, then turn left (SP) and along the farm track up to Stewarton. Turn right (SP) once you reach the houses at Stewarton and a three-way signpost. Follow this track for 300m then turn left (SP), and head towards the ruined barn ahead of you. Pass the barn, through a gate (SP) and cross a field to enter the Cloich Forest.
The path climbs uphill through very thick forest for 800m or so then levels out, with the trees becoming less dense. The path then descends to emerge in the large cleared area in the middle of the forest at Courhope. Turn right here and then immediately left (SP, on a three-way post near the junction) following a forestry track running along the south side of the cleared area (note, the size and shape of the clearing is now different to how it is shown on older OS maps). There are fine views to your right of the lonely bothy at Fingland.
Just before the forestry track turns left, turn off it onto a footpath to the right (SP), descending through some newer plantings down to a footbridge, then up again, through a gate and along a grassy track up to a bench at a junction of tracks.
Take the track to the right, waymarked ‘Romanno Bridge’. Follow the track for 2 km to reach a gate into woods. Pass through the gate to leave the hills behind. The path emerges from the wood onto a tree and gorse lined path with spectacular views to West Linton, Dolphinton and beyond.
The path descends past Romanno Mains farm down to a group of houses[14 and please now follow the Kaimes path directions from here on]. Pass through a gate and turn left through another gate and along the edge of a small field, then pass through the housing development. Turn right once past the houses and up the farm road towards Halmyre Deans. Take the first left and walk along parallel to the A701 towards Halmyre and Newlands Hall. Pass the hall and turn left 100m later to cross the A701 and head up the footpath signposted ‘West Linton via Broomlee Hill’.
Follow the waymarked path northwards through gates and round the edge of fields and alongside shelterbelts until you reach a vehicle track. Turn right here (signposted as before) and head along for 300m before turning left off the track back onto a footpath (again, signposted as before). Follow the path along the edge of a wood then bear left uphill to the right of a stand of trees, aiming for a waymarker post at the brow of the hill.
The radio mast on Broomlee Hill will come into view as you crest the hill. Follow the Tweed Trails signs keeping to the edge of the field, passing through a gate and then turning left towards the mast, joining a farm track and dropping down the hill again directly past the mast, coming out on B7059 at the crest of the hill where the road turns a corner. Turn right here and walk back along the public road back down past Broomlee camp and into West Linton