Section 6 - Longformacus to Cockburnspath

This last section is from Longformacus to Cockburnspath and is 16 miles / 26 km long. This is on mixed terrain with a few short sections of road work. The landscape changes markedly from moorland to coast.

Bridge over Blacksmill Burn east of Longformacus

The Way leaves Longformacus by the minor road to Whitchester and Ellem.
To the left of the road is the estate for Longformacus House. The distance on the road is approximately a mile before crossing a stile on the right hand side.

Plantation to the side of Owl Wood

After leaving the minor road the Way climbs by the side of a field before reaching higher and open moorland. There is a clear route along a moorland track heading towards the corner of Owl Wood.
Owl Wood is to the north of the route then the way crosses to the north side of a ribbon wood. As the route reaches the corner of this plantation there are views west to the Cranshaws area and close to the joining of the Whitadder and Dye Waters.

Descent through Lodge Wood close to Ellem to Preston road

At the end of the wood the way zig zags past a Waymarker sign. Turning to the right for a few metres takes the walker to a viewing point above Commonside and here there are views on a clear day south and west as far as the Eildons. The Way however heads north and left at the waymarker and descends toward the B6355 Preston to Ellem and Cranshaws road. Ahead the Way is clearly seen as it start its next climb out of the valley.

Roughside Wood

Having crossed the road there is another incline then a walk across two field before a steep descent by way of steps built into the hillside just prior to entering Roughside Wood.
Roughside Wood consists mainly of conifer and runs on the hillside to the east and south of the Whitadder Water. This is a pleasant and main flat 2 km. track and as it starts to descend toward the river you are almost certain to be confronted by endless grouse, clearly the woods are used for breeding.

Pedestrian bridge at Abbey St Bathans

A further short section along the side of the river brings the Way into Abbey St Bathans at the crossroads near to the church. This is a tiny community although the needs of the long distance walker are recognised with a walkers cottage located opposite the church and directly on the route.

Ford on the Whiteadder at Abbey St Bathans

From hear the Way crosses the Whitadder River at a pedestrian bridge built by the Gurkhas in 1987. Turn right down the side of the river through ancient and attractive woodland. It is said that in the Abbey St Bathans' wood there are almost a third of all the oak trees in the whole of the Border Council countryside.

Leaving Abbey St Bathans

Just after crossing a small burn the way meets a ford and further pedestrian bridge. Turn left and to the north following the Whare Burn soon reaching Edgar's Cleuch and Blakerstone Moor. To the north are again the Lammermuir Hills with Heart Law and Bransly Hill ahead and Spartleton slightly to the left. The track is clearly defined between fencing and runs in a straight line before turning right across a wide open pasture.

North of Abbey St Bathans

The route is now almost due North over the field, shortly the stone cairn is a prominant feature to head for. But be aware that this whole grazing area can be exceptionally wet and muddy, a section that most are happy to leave behind as they reach the corner of the wood and a farm track.

Entering Penmanshiel Wood

The route is now back onto grass or farm track before reaching a minor road that runs down ultimately to a junction with the A1 Edinburgh to Newcastle Road. The sound of traffic is heard before the road is visible and just behind in the East Coast Mainline Railway track.
Take care with the crossing of the A1, then heading north the way soon bears to the east and over the railway line into the start of the Penmanshiel Forest.

Coastal view looking North from Penmanshiel Wood

The forest track is first an ascent through a pleasant mixed wood, however the views are constantly changing as the softwood firs grow at a fast rate. As the way reaches its highest point the Sea can be seen for the first time due north. On a clear day the view is to Pease Bay and to the left and ahead the coastline to Dunbar with the Bass Rock in the distance. The land in the horizon is the Fife Coastline.

Bridge over Pease Dean

The descent through the wood is towards the line of the original A1 south of Edinburgh. The road had to cross Pease Dean this being accomplished in 1786 with the opening of the Pease Bridge. This bridge at the time of opening was the highest bridge in the world at 130 feet above the water below.
The Way breaks from the SUW and crosses the bridge the turns right to pass down Pease Dean on the western side. The Dean is now a common circular route full of interesting tree and plant life but this routing offers the best views to the sea and looking back the only views of this magnificent bridge.

Pease Bay

Pease Bay is a sandy bay on what is generally a rocky coastline to the east and south. The bay is lined with holiday caravans, somewhat detracting from what is a fine coastal beach. Some 4 miles east is Fast Castle with it 16th Century connections with Margaret Tudor and Mary Stewart. This castle was also known as the Wolf's Crag in the Bride of Lammermoor.


The last 2 miles start along the cliff line to the west of Pease Bay with the option of looking down on Cove Harbour accessed through a tunnel made in the 18th century. From the coast the trail heads inland for a very short distance crossing under the A1 and entering the village square in Cockburnspath, the end of the Sir Walter Scott's Way and the Southern Upland Way.

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