We always like to share details of local walking trails with visitors and were very excited when Forest Enterprise Scotland recently upgraded a favourite route in Cademuir Forest – the smallest and one of the least visited parts of the Tweed Valley Forest Park.
Nestled on the eastern flanks of Cademuir Hill, close to the John Buchan Way, this delightful forest has a variety of trails that attract walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders alike. A mixed woodland full of Scot’s pine, larch, birch and many other species – including a rich under-storey of ground cover– it’s a wonderfully tranquil place to be. There are usually a few cars in the small car park, but often you won’t see a soul.
One of the most popular routes at Cademuir is the Pilots’ Trail, which climbs up from the car park before leading walkers on a circuit of some of the forest’s most atmospheric spots. Named after two downed German pilots who hid out in the woods here during the Second World War – they were only discovered when smoke from their fire gave them away – it recently saw a significant upgrade, with around 1,000m of old muddy trail replaced with a winding stone track.
On these cold, late-autumn mornings, we’d particularly recommend you walking the route nice and early. Once at the top of the trail, you might be in for a treat as temperature inversions hold the cloud in the valley below. Whichever way you look, the views are tremendous and give a real sense of space so close to the busy town of Peebles.
The trail is quite strenuous in places, so it’s probably best to allow two hours for the whole walk – all the better for enjoying the views, and sitting quietly to listen out for wildlife. Depending on season, there is plenty of bird life to enjoy – this is the haunt of woodpecker, warblers, siskins and owls – while it’s also not unusual to see roe deer here, with the animals often watching you long before you glimpse them.
So, next time you stay with us, why not include a trip to Cademuir in your plans? You won’t be disappointed!
Cademuir Forest is found on the south side of Peebles. For those who don’t mind a bit of a trek, it can be reached on foot from the Tontine Hotel. There’s also a small car park at the base of the trails. The rerouted and upgraded Pilots’ Trail (5.3km) takes walkers almost to the top of Cademuir Hill. Click here for much more on getting to the forest and the trails that can be enjoyed.
Photograph: Kate Innes