Across the Border
About This Route
- From Douglas Square, head south along the main street and take the fifth road on the left, to cross the Liddel Water by the Holm Brige, built in 1823. Follow the turn road uphill to Yethouse. Just past the cottages turn right up the hill and follow the track which is signed for the cycle trail. This track climbs behind the buildings and soon turns right to enter the forest, heading south
- Between Castle Hill and Hillhouse Wood it then swings south-east to run close to a gorge on the left known as the Clintheugh Linn, before heading south again past Thwartergill Head and along beside the Muckle Thwarter Gill. Some of the trees in this part of the forest were among the first to be planted here by the Forestry Commission in the early 1920s. They are now classed (in terms of timber production) as ‘over mature’, but are being left to enhance the amenity of the area and encourage birdlife.
- The track meets another trail coming down from the left, and this is where it starts to follow the England-Scotland border. Cross the Kershope Burn – and walk into England! The trail runs southwest, just on the English side of the border and near the edge of the forest, to reach a minor road at Kershope Bridge. On the way it passes Day Holm, a place mentioned in the Ballad of Kinmont Willie, a famous Border tale.
- From Kershope Bridge there are two alternatives. The more direct route is simply to follow the road as it curves gradually north below Caerba Hill to pass several disused quarries and reach Sorbietrees. Continue with the road all the way to the Holm Bridge, and on to Newcastleton.
- Perhaps the nicer way back, although it is a little longer, is to continue with the cycle trail for 2km from Kershope Bridge down to meet another road and into Kershopefoot, an attractive little place but with few facilities. From the 1940s to the 1960s there was a large camp here for forestry workers.
- At the ‘Welcome to Scottish Borders’ sign, instead of crossing the Liddel Water, turn right at what was once a level crossing and walk along the old railway line. An unusual feature of the line was that north of Scots Dyke, although it ran close to the Border it did not actually enter Scotland until crossing the Kershope Burn here, some 34km from Carlisle. Having crossed the burn and passed through a gate, you are on a low embankment across a field. This field is the historic Tourney Holm where cross-border disputes were settled in the reiving days.
- Continue along the old line through Flatt Farm land with the Liddel Water close on your left until you pass Clerkleap Cottage and the ruin of Mangerton.
- At Mangerton Farm leave the railway line and take the farm road. At a T-junction turn left and head back for the Holm Bridge and Newcastleton.
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