Enjoy the thrills of Newcastleton
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.
You can find public toilets and free showers, as well as several places to eat, drink and shop in Newcastleton.
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.
¼ miles / 0.5 km Allow ¼ hours
The ponds are a great draw for wildlife – look out for ducklings in spring and glittering dragonflies dashing across the water in summer.
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.
2 ¼ miles / 3.6 km Allow 1½ hours
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.
Hanging Tree Trail
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.
2 ½ miles / 4.0 km Allow 1½ hours
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.
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.
3 miles / 4.7 km Allow 2 hours
Mountain biking trails
Newcastleton is one of the the internationally-renowned 7stanes mountain biking trail centres.
The Newcastleton 7stanes map (PDF 607KB) shows the trails.
Trail update (28th April): Both trails are open with a short diversion in place on the red route.
Blue: Moderate - 6.1 miles / 9.7 km
Fun singletrack for all the family.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.
Red Route (diverted)
The trail is 95% open with a short diversion from post 36 to 37 on Swarfe Hill.
Red: Difficult - 14.6 miles / 23.4 km
Feel the power of this fast and furious route.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.
Cross the Border
The Cross Border Route is 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.
Blue way markers 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.
Part of the largest forest in Britain
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.
How to get 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. You’ll reach Priesthill car park at grid reference NY 505 881.
The 7stanes mountain bike trails all start/finish at the Douglas Square trailhead in the centre of Newcastleton Village.
TD9 0TA is the nearest postcode for Priesthill car park in Newcastleton Forest. For the 7stanes trailhead in the village, use postcode TD9 0QD.
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.
Kielder Water & Forest Park
Newcastleton is just a few miles from the England/Scotland border, where you can find Kielder Forest. Explore the forest and reservoir to discover great trails, amazing mountain biking, boat trips, an observatory and a remarkable array of art installations. Start your visit at Kielder Castle, one of three visitor centres on site.
Alternatively, stay in Scotland and discover tranquil Wauchope, just a few miles north-east of Newcastleton. There are stunning views of the border and Cheviot Hills and plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife along its trails.
Liddesdale Heritage Centre, Newcastleton
Find out more about the history of the area at the Heritage Centre and see the beautifully carved arrowhead that was found in Newcastleton Forest.
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