The Innerleithen & Walkerburn area offers endless ppportunities for horse riding and walking from sheltered strolls along the banks of the River Tweed, Walker Burn or Leithen Water, to more strenuous rides or hikes up the surrounding hills. Forest tracks offer year-round routes for horse-riders, and in the drier months many of the longer distance hill routes are also suitable for multi-use. Close to Innerleithen, Elibank and Traquair Forests is one of the Seven Stanes forests, boasting world-class mountain bike routes.
The routes which are described here were identified by East Tweeddale Local Path Group as priorities for development and promotion through the Tweed Trails Project, which was funded and implemented as part of the 350km South of Scotland Countryside Trails network.
You can access an online map of the SoSCT routes around Innerleithen through the BHS EMAGIN website by clicking here. From the Scotland section of "Routes by Region" scroll down the list of routes to South of Scotland Countryside Trails, which will take you to an overview map at street mapping scale. Using the map type box in the horizontal menu above the map, you can change to 1:2,500 scale OS map which shows the routes in more detail.
Larger scale maps should be used to follow routes on the ground, such as OS Landranger Maps 1:50,000 no. 73 (Peebles, Galashiels and Selkirk) and Explorer Maps 1:25,000 no. 337 (Peebles and Innerleithen).
Minch Moor Road
The Minchmoor Road was at one time the main route across southern Scotland and the old road east from Traquair has been in use for over 800 years. Climbing steeply between twin dykes to the bothy set at the edge of Elibank and Traquair Forest, the stony track climbs up through trees to the open moor land of the Minch Moor. There are miles of inviting grassy paths and the most stunning views over the rolling border hills at the top of the Minch Moor.
This is the route by which Montrose and his cavaliers fled from Philiphaugh. Tales of buried treasure cling to Minchmoor, dating back to conflicting legends. One tells of Montrose throwing his treasure chest into the dark Mystor pool in Yarrow, telling the Devil to keep it for him until he returned. Another legend says that Montrose cast his chest in at the door of a cottage at Foulshiels before galloping on to the safety of Traquair.
The promoted route which has been significantly improved as part of the South of Scotland Countryside Trails project follows the old drove and coach road south from Brown Know down to Yarrowford. Alternatively, for a longer riding route, continue east on the Southern Upland Way to the Three Brethren, Yair and Selkirk - these routes are not actively promoted as riding routes so the gates may be less easy to open and there is no guarantee as to the condition of the route, but there is nothing to stop you exploring. Other hard forest tracks and narrower informal paths offer infinite permutations on these main routes for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders.
This route branches south along the forest road above the bothy and leads out of Elibank and Traquair Forest onto open hill, from where an informal multi-use grassy path winds its way to the former farm steading at Glengaber. Turning north, a track of varying gradient provides an enjoyable route back across open hill and enclosed fields to Traquair via Damhead. Alternatively, a grassy track leads south from Glengaber to Tinnis or Yarrow, with option for a long distance circular route in conjunction with the Minch Moor Road.
From Howford, the stony farm track winds up to Grieston Quarry (now disused), from where a new path has been created to provide a multi-use off-road link to the path network within Cardrona Forest.
Leithen Water Path
New paths have been developed to create a new short-medium length circular walk, following a narrow relatively level but unsurfaced path up the west bank of the river to the old weir. A new path along the western edge of the forest, above the golf course, leads south back through the forest to Innerleithen parallel to the east bank of the Leithen Water. This latter path, sheltered within the trees, is ideal for year-round multi-use, with option for longer routes using paths and tracks in Cademuir Forest.
Kirnie Law/ Walker Burn Path
From the northern end of the Leithen Water Path, or direct from the car park by the golf club house, forest tracks lead onto a path which climbs through the trees to Kirnie Law. Although the gradient is fairly steep and at times the path can be rough, the panoramic views from this vantage point are worth the climb. From here, a variety of paths can be followed, either leading back down to Innerleithen, or east via Priesthope to Walkerburn. A new path winds up the west bank of the Walker Burn to join with the track leading into Caberston Forest and Priesthope. The path has been surfaced to support multi-use, but includes moderate gradient in places.
From Glen Estate, the farm track which climbs up the hill leads onto a new path skirting the side of Birks Hill to link up with the Gypsy Glen route, the old drove road between Peebles and St. Mary’s Loch. A relatively level stony track leads south from Glen House to Glenshiel Banks, from where a wide grassy informal path climbs up to the old drove road. Combine this with the Birks Hill path to make an invigorating circular route, or for a longer route, follow the old drove road north back through Gypsy Glen to Peebles, returning to Traquair via Cardrona Forest.
Toll Wood all abilities path
From the car park in Toll wood (also readily accessible on safe pavement from Innerleithen), a new surfaced path has been created specifically to allow people of all ages and abilities, including those in wheelchairs, access to the River Tweed at Traquair Bridge. Relatively level but unsurfaced paths follow the banks of the Tweed, linking back to Innerleithen along the disused railway, or continuing east to Walkerburn.