Route 4

Route 4 Hirsel Policies and Douglass Wood

Start and finish: Home Park Car Park, by the Castle Hotel Distance: 9km/ 5.5 miles Time: 4 hours Terrain: Woodland paths and tracks, grassy paths and some tarmac drives

1.  From the car park take the path to the left of the toilet block and immediately turn right into the policy woodlands of the Hirsel Estate.  Continue along the path keeping the woodland boundary on your right; ignore any paths which go off to the left or right.

2. Join a track and continue straight ahead.  Follow the edge of the woodland keeping the fields on your right.

3. When you draw level with the end of the field, turn right and follow the sign post for Dunglass Wood.  Cross the main track and continue straight ahead climbing gradually up through the woodland.  Keep to the main track and ignore any which go off to the left or right.

4. At the top of the rise where the woodland rides cross, follow the main track round to the left as it descends slightly and enters a much denser area of woodland.  After 500 metres you will come to a Y-junction, bear right and follow a grassy track as it gently descends.  Continue straight ahead where the woodland rides cross and watch out for a small memorial stone on your left.  You should be able to make out,  “This stone lies where Cospatrick the XI Earl of Home died suddenly IV July 1881.”  On the back of this stone is a quote from Genesis.

5.  After the track swings round to the right, turn sharp left at the track junction 50 metres before the public road.

6.  Where the tracks cross, turn right and continue along a grassy track before it swings left and heads downhill.  At the bottom of the slope where the track turns right, continue straight ahead on a narrow path leading to the river.

7.   Cross the footbridge and go straight ahead across the field and climb up onto a track.  Turn left and continue along this main track for a little over 1km until you approach Hirsel House.  Looking left from Montague Avenue, across the Leet Water, you will spot an obelisk erected by Alexander the 9th of Home to the memory of his son William Lord Dunglass who died aged 23 of wounds received in the battle of Guilford in America in 1781. The memorial was erected three years later.

8.   At the stone bridge (Cow Arch) follow the track and fence line as it swings round to the right.  50 metres beyond the Cow Arch turn right and continue along the tarmac drive, passing the red sandstone building (stables) on your right.

9.   At the Y-junction bear left, passing a fine view of The Hirsel House and in 300 metres, just before the large clump of Yew trees, turn left onto a track then rejoin a tarmac drive.  Continue uphill and at the track junction before the house, turn right onto a path, after a few metres turn left and follow the path down to the bridge over the Leet Water.

10.Beyond the bridge follow the path as it swings round to the right close to the edge of the woodland.

11. At the path junction above the next bend in the river, turn left through a small area of woodland to join a track.  Turn right here and after about 100 metres a path leaves the track on the left.  Follow this path initially as it runs parallel to the track and field edge, and continue straight ahead below the houses until you reach the car park and start point.