Cardrona Forest

By James Carron

If walking over remote moorland and through peaceful forest appeals to you, then this route in the Scottish Borders is perfect.

Cardrona Forest, near Peebles and on the banks of the River Tweed, has a network of paths used by walkers and mountain bikers. This route suits both and to make navigation easy, many of the forest roads have names.

Leave the car park at Kirkburn and head along a substantial forest track which follows the Kirk Burn south through the base of the glen. The way runs fairly straight and rises gradually, dense coniferous woodland on the left and open grazing across the stream to the right.

The track reaches a junction. Go left here and climb up through the trees on the Glenpeggy Burn Road. The ascent is more strenuous now. Part way up there is a track on the right. Ignore this and carry on until you reach a hairpin bend. Turn left here, on to the Kirkburn Upper Road.

The track skirts on a level gradient round the flank of Wallace's Hill, then descends a little before flattening out to reach a junction of tracks. Bear right on the Castle Knowe South Road here and a short climb leads to another fork. Go right here and the way rises through the trees, curving left and then right to emerge from the foliage at a spectacular viewpoint with vistas over the open fields of the Tweed valley below. From there, follow the track to its end at the edge of the forest.

A path continues straight ahead, running a line between trees on the right and open heather moorland to the left and there's a stone wall and wire fence boundary to keep you company. Stay on the forest edge as the path dips before climbing on to Orchard Rig. It then descends to the southern-most tip of Cardrona Forest. Turn right here and a path drops quite steeply alongside a fence to the Highlandshiels Burn. Cross the tiny stream and on the other side the path rises through bracken to join a track. Turn right and the forest road descends north to a tight hairpin bend where it drops more steeply to the base of the glen. For those on mountain bikes, this is an exciting fast descent. At the second bend, bear left and follow the track north, rejoining the track to Kirkburn for the final stage of the route.


Distance 9 miles/14.5km.
Map OS Landranger 1:50,000 sheet 73.
Start/parking Kirkburn on B7062 (grid ref NT 293384). Free Forestry Commission car park.
Grading Easy to follow forest tracks and paths on a route suitable for reasonably fit walkers or mountain bikers.