The Hanging Tree Walk 6

  • Distance: 5km/3miles
  • Start/Finish: Priest Hill Car Park, Dykecrofts. Turn east at the south end of Newcastleton village and follow the signs along the minor road for 3km.
  • Terrain: Generally good paths. Boots or strong shoes recommended.
  • Toilet: At the Forestry Commission car park at Dykecrofts
  • Refreshments: in Newcastleton

1. For this walk, follow red way markers. Walk down the track from the car park and cross the Whithaugh Burn by the footbridge. This was once a ford where an old country turnpike road crossed the burn. The spot was said to be haunted by fairies and the spirits of the dead from Castleton churchyard and a sign read "no road this way after dark". It is now a more peaceful spot. Go up the track on the other side. Initially stony, it soon becomes grassy, giving excellent walking.

2. After a short climb, the track levels out with a widening view ahead leading the eye to a distant baulk of Arnton Fell. Past the junction where the View Point Walk comes in from the left, and in a further 150m fork right. Pass through an area of fine mature trees including several old Scots pines. The view of Liddesdale has now really opened up.

3. On the right is a sight of the former farmstead of Belshiels, long since abandoned. The people who lived here will have planted some of the trees we admire today. Reach a field corner and walk along the fence for a short distance. The Path then curves away from the fence across a felled area and it s rather overgrown for a short stretch. It soon improves.

4. At the edge of the young plantation, where the Drove Road Walk goes right, go straight ahead through the trees. At the far side of the plantation the path drops to meet a forest road. Turn left and in 50 metres go sharply right on a narrow grass path into more mature conifers. There are primroses here in spring.

5. Before long, a short branch path on the right leads to the reputed sight of a hanging tree, one of many where the rough 'Borders Justice' was administered in the turbulent times of the past. Various trees were used; in this case it was an Ash.

6. The path continues past the site of Pouterlampart, once a large farm recorded as far back as 1376. It was held by Armstrong's until 1632 but has been abandoned for at least 200 years and all that remains are low turf walls. Continue on the final section of the walk, the grassy path winding pleasantly thought the trees. After crossing a burn, the path rises before passing through a stand of superb tall conifers. The path swings right for the final decent to the car park, passing another abandoned farmstead called Preisthill.

7. One of the walks at Dykecrofts has been specially designed for less able people and is also accessible to wheelchairs. It is signed from the car park and takes in two attractive ponds. The circuit is about 1km in length.