Southern Upland Way 26 Main Street , St Johns Town of Dalry , Castle Douglas , Scotland, DG7 3UW, United Kingdom
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15. Longformacus to Abbey St. Bathans

Nearest Town: Duns

Start: Longformacus

Finish: Abbey St. Bathans

•Distance: 7 miles
•Approx. Time: 3hours
Difficulty: Easy/images/gradienteasy
15. Longformacus to Abbey St. Bathans
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Route Description

This section provides a good focal point if you want to explore the eastern part of the Way. Experienced walkers who are well into their stride may prefer to treat Abbey St. Bathans as just a lunch halt before heading on their way, otherwise this quaint village in the secluded valley of Whiteadder Water makes an ideal night stop.


Detailed Description

Longformacus to Whitchester Lodge:
From the southern end of Longformacus turn left (eastnortheast) onto the minor road for Whitchester, following the road for about a mile to the waymarked turn right (southeast) just after a plantation on the left has thinned out. Follow the south side of a fence, between that and a small burn, up a gully to the crest of a hill. This will give good views over the parkland back towards Longformacus. From the end of the fence follow the waymarked path down and round towards a small L-shaped plantation, then along its western face towards Owl Wood, a large plantation edged with beech trees, along whose eastern side the Way runs uphill. At the division between Owl Wood and Commonside Wood, cross the stiles to the left, turning immediately to the right (northeast) along the north side of Commonside, again beneath beech trees. At the end of Commonside, a succession of stiles pass the Way through fenced enclosures onto a field track. This track strikes out across the fields and through Lodge Wood (possibly replanted in 1997) to a junction with another track; the left turn is chosen, leading to the Whitchester Lodge with its interesting oriel window.

Although short, this section has its attractions, but most walkers will want to head onwards at least to Abbey St. Bathans.

Whitchester Lodge to Abbey St. Bathans:
At Whitchester Lodge turn left (northwest) along the road for a short distance, then turn right onto a track just before a plantation, following the track until it peters out and becomes a waymarked path around the side of a hill. When the path approaches the gully of the Robber's Cleugh burn, it descends by wooden steps into a long plantation in the deep valley of Whiteadder Water, joining a forest track leading almost three miles to Abbey St. Bathans. There are only two points where the route can be mistaken: (a) the forest track junction the far side of a fence in Roughside Wood - keep straight on; and (b) where two burns run through a staggered track junction at Black Wiel - again, keep straight on. The track ends on a minor road - the one main street of the tiny village, - the Way crossing the road and following the side-road between Abbey House Youth Hostel and the church with spire that was once a mediaeval priory.

There is very little in Abbey St. Bathans except a public telephone booth and the Hostel, but it offers a lunch or night halt.