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Looking across the Tweed valley from the northern edge of the Cardrona Forest on Cardrona Hill
Looking across the Tweed valley from the northern edge of the Cardrona Forest on Cardrona Hill

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Route No. 766 - Wednesday 13 March 2019
Cardrona Forest extended 'Yellow'
way marked circular walk - 5km
Tweed Valley Forest Park, Scottish Borders . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 337 Peebles & InnerLeithen


My friend, Jim, and I are staying in a pub in Peebles in the Scottish Borders for a couple of nights to do short walks in the Tweed Valley Forest Park. This morning we drove from Peebles to a car park off Kirkburn Road at the Cardrona Forest on Cardrona Hill near Innerleithen, map ref. NT 292 385.

Setting off from the car park along the Yellow way-marked route
Setting off from the car park along the Yellow way-marked route

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Kirk Burn next to the path
Kirk Burn next to the path

We followed the track south from the car park into the forest. There are some public toilets at the edge of the car park and about 100m further on there is a footbridge on the left hand side of the track across Kirk Burn.

There are several way-marked trails from the car park. We had chosen to walk the 'Yellow' route plus a short extension to a large cairn on Pikes Knowe (on the 'Brown' route). The routes are well marked by poles with coloured bands round their tops.

Footbridge over Kirk Burn
Footbridge over Kirk Burn

Looking back, down to the footbridge over Kirk Burn
Looking back, down to the footbridge over Kirk Burn

Starting up the zig-zag path from the footbridge
Starting up the zig-zag path from the footbridge

Continuing up the zig-zag path
Continuing up the zig-zag path

The path followed a zig-zag route providing a fairly gentle climb up the steep hillside. The zig-zag path brought us to a wide forest access track called Kirkburn Upper Road.

We crossed the footbridge and from there we followed the Yellow Route clearly shown by the way-mark poles and their coloured bands.

Rounding the first hairpin bend in the path
Rounding the first hairpin bend in the path

Nearing Kirkburn Upper Road
Nearing Kirkburn Upper Road

Continuing along the Yellow Route across Kirkburn Upper Road
Continuing along the Yellow Route across Kirkburn Upper Road

Gate in the deer fence across the path
Gate in the deer fence across the path

The climb up Cardrons Hill continues
The climb up Cardrona Hill continues

The climb up Cardrons Hill continues
The climb up Cardrona Hill continues

The route was well marked and easy to follow. The coloured bands showed the Yellow and the Brown routes were still using the same paths. There were occasional breaks in the trees giving us some good views across the Tweed Valley to the east of Cardrona Hill.

The Yellow Route crossed the Kirkburn Upper Road diagonally and continued climbing up the hillside. Very shortly we came to a high deer fence with a very new looking wooden kissing gate through it. Beyond the deer fence we continued along the path.

The climb up Cardrons Hill continues
The climb up Cardrona Hill continues

Looking out through a gap in the trees
Looking out through a gap in the trees

Looking out through another gap in the trees
Looking out through another gap in the trees

The Yellow & Brown Routes are still using the same paths
The Yellow & Brown Routes are still using the same paths

Passing through the second gate in the deer fence
Passing through the second gate in the deer fence


At this fork we took the right hand path, the Brown Route

The Brown Route heading for Pikes Knowe
The Brown Route heading for Pikes Knowe

We took the left hand fork and followed the brown route for about 500m up to a large stone cairn to the left of the path on Pikes Knowe. We stopped here at the cairn and then returned the way we had come back to the fork in the path.

Along this path we came to another deer fence and a similar wooden gate through it. We continued along the way-marked trail beyond the deer fence until the path forked. Here the brown route to the right makes a large loop up via Pikes Knowe to an old hill fort on Castle Knowe.

Continuing along the Yellow Route
Continuing along the Yellow Route

Looking back eastwards across the Tweed Valley
Looking back eastwards across the Tweed Valley

The Brown Route heading for Pikes Knowe
The Brown Route heading for Pikes Knowe

Large stone cairn on Pikes Knowe but not on the top
Large stone cairn on Pikes Knowe but not on the top

We returned to the fork in the path & re-joined the Yellow Route
We returned to the fork in the path & re-joined the Yellow Route

The track is called Castleknowe Road, and at this forest access road we turned left still following the way-marked Yellow Route.

When we reached the fork we turned right and resumed our way along the Yellow Route. After a little over 100m the path dropped down to a wide forest access track.

The path led us to the Castleknowe Road where we turned left
The path led us to the Castleknowe Road where we turned left

Following the Yellow Route along Castleknowe Road
Following the Yellow Route along Castleknowe Road


Following the Yellow Route along Castleknowe Road

The Tweed Valley seen from Castleknowe Road
The Tweed Valley seen from Castleknowe Road

Following the Yellow Route along Castleknowe Road
Following the Yellow Route along Castleknowe Road

At the bend the forest road became the Kirkburn Upper Road and here we paused at a seat on the outside of the bend looking out across the Tweed Valley now to the north. It was a lovely view in the morning sunshine.

There was a fine view to our right from the forest road looking east across the Tweed Valley. We walked down the Castleknowe Road for about 900m to a left hand bend.

The Tweed Valley seen from Castleknowe Road
The Tweed Valley seen from Castleknowe Road

Following the Yellow Route along Castleknowe Road
Following the Yellow Route along Castleknowe Road

Nearing the bend at the end of Castleknowe Road
Nearing the bend at the end of Castleknowe Road

Seat at the bend overlooking the Tweed Valley where Castleknowe Road ends and Kirkburn Upper Road begins
Seat at the bend overlooking the Tweed Valley where Castleknowe Road ends and Kirkburn Upper Road begins

Walking along Kirkburn Upper Road from the seat
Walking along Kirkburn Upper Road from the seat

Nearing our right turn off Kirkburn Upper Road
Nearing our right turn off Kirkburn Upper Road

Retracing our outward route down the hillside
Retracing our outward route down the hillside

Crossing back over Kirk Burn
Crossing back over Kirk Burn

We crossed the footbridge over Kirk Burn and turned right along the track back into the car park and the end of our walk. The whole walk had been just under 5km and it had taken me and my wonky knees about two and a half hours to walk it.

From the seat we continued along the Kirkburn Upper Road for about 500m back to the point where we had crossed the Kirkburn Upper Road on our outward route. From here we retraced our outward route along the zig-zag path back down the hillside.

Bridge over the R. Tweed seen from the Kirkburn Upper Road
Bridge over the R. Tweed seen from the Kirkburn Upper Road

Path down the hillside from Kirkburn Upper Road
Path down the hillside from Kirkburn Upper Road

Retracing our outward route down the hillside
Retracing our outward route down the hillside

Returning to the car park
Returning to the car park

Back at the car park at the end of our walk
Back at the car park at the end of our walk

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