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Woodhall Dean Circular, East Lothian

PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:19 pm
by Sabbathstevie
I thought I would introduce myself to this excellent forum by posting my first ever walk report.

This is a gentle and quiet forest walk, hidden deep within rural East Lothian. It's also one of my favourites and one which I couldn't find elsewhere on the site. Woodhall Dean is a nature reserve and is notable for it's birdlife and as a (relatively) rare adder sanctuary, though both myself and my tiny Jack Russell, Maggie, are yet to encounter one. We have however seen plenty of birds, roe deer and even a badger on this trail.


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Woodhall Dean is signposted from the tiny, picturesque village of Spott. Once you've driven over the hill and come down the other side, watch out for the ford over the burn at the bottom of the valley. There is a dirt track leading to a farm upto the right with room for several parked cars, while still leaving access free to the farm road. Carefully park here and you should see the sign for the entrance to the reserve and starting point for the walk, almost hidden by the gorse bushes. The route is marked throughout.

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Atop the view point


The path is narrow and relatively twisting as it parallels the burn, climbing some steepish stairs up to a lovely view point with a bench, overlooking the burn below. Descending again, the path widens out into a flatter area which in April was covered in wild garlic. The path then climbs again to reveal a ruined bridge, hidden in the glen by the trees. the path splits here with one route branching off to the left to cross the bridge. Ignore this and keep to the right, climbing the verge and following path over a style, where it continues for a while through open farmland.

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ruined bridge


the path soon crosses another style and curves back round into Woodhall Dean again, crossing the burn at Tinkers Leap. From here, follow the path alongside a field until it returns at the ruined bridge before retracing your steps back to the start of the walk.

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stark trees in Woodhall Dean


My description doesn't really do the walk justice but with a marked trail, there isn't any need for me to go into too much detail - it's just a lovely and quiet place.

Having said all that, the content in the rest of this site has thoroughly whet my appetite to tackle some hills - Mayar and Driesh look to be a good start and I've got them pencilled in for October...

Re: Woodhall Dean Circular, East Lothian

PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:46 pm
by ChrisW
Good stuff Sabbathstevie, looks a nice wee wander. I like the twisty trees pic. Your choice of Mayer and Driesh to start you off is a good one, I would suggest you take the Corrie Fee route as it is stunning - welcome to WH :D

Re: Woodhall Dean Circular, East Lothian

PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:51 pm
by Sabbathstevie
Thanks Chris. Absolutely - I've dotted around the Angus glens in Autumn and before so I'm hoping for one of those cold crisp days that we seem to get at this time of year - don't want my first one to be marred by poor visibility but we'll see... :)

Re: Woodhall Dean Circular, East Lothian

PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:14 pm
by kev_russ
Nice pics stevie :) Good wee walk that. I was down there last year!

Re: Woodhall Dean Circular, East Lothian

PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:50 pm
by morag1
Hi Stevie, I live in Edinburgh too and am always on the lookout for new places to explore. i dont really go to East Lothian much but maybe i should as this looks really nice :D

Re: Woodhall Dean Circular, East Lothian

PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:11 am
by Sabbathstevie
Morag - your walks diary seems to contain almost every Edinburgh walk there is! My favourites would have to be the Water of Leith (Roseburn to Stockbridge) and the Cammo estate which never ceases to amaze me how far from the city it feels. East Lothian is definately worth a shout - some of the best East Coast beaches I've seen bar Tentsmuir in Fife and Lunan Bay in Angus. Need to get in a good circular of the Pentlands myself before tackling my first munro(s) in a few weeks!