Old Road to Duns
Start location: public road, near Monument on Peat Law (NT 693 643)
End location: Ellemford (NT 727 601)
Geographical area: Lothian and Borders
Path Type: Rural Path
Path distance: 5.5km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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Newsflash (August 2016): ScotWays has completed the first stage of its Lammermuirs project with the publication of a new map of the Lammermuirs which shows the Herring Road and other historic routes. Associated signposting work is ongoing, but although signage surveys have already been undertaken by ScotWays volunteers, additional feedback on routes in the Lammermuirs generally and on signage in particular continues to be very welcome.
Our survey follows the route in reverse:
Near Ellemford Bridge (NT727603), there is a signpost saying Harehead 4 miles. The track heads uphill and in a short distance there is a fork in the road, take the right hand route and continue up the hill. The first section of this right of way has been up-graded to become a timber extraction road and is in very good condition until NT712623 where the extraction road turns right to the northeast. Here, walk straight on, leaving the extraction road on the right, through the gate and up a gentle hill, staying west of the forestry. There is some boggy patches in this section of open grazing until reaching the gate at NT703630, but the track remains clear to see. The gate leads into a 20m wide strip of rough ground which runs down the west side of a narrow strip of forestry to another gate at NT700632 with views across open countryside and down to Harehead Farm. The track follows the east side of the field fence down to where it joins the signposted track coming up from Harehead Farm at NT699634. Here there is a choice to drop down to Harehead or to continue northeast following the fence line to gain open moorland and the public road near the monument on Peat Law.
This old road can be seen clearly on the Ordnance Survey first edition 6"maps and is marked as a more significant route than nearby footpaths. However, placename evidence indicates it may be far older, as it passes over Kirkgate Hill heading towards the now skant remains of Ellem Church, north of Ellemford Bridge. Thought to date to the thirteenth century, the church is said to have fallen out of use in the early eighteenth century.