Tweed Trip

The Scottish borders is the area where I started walking seriously in 2000 so I always enjoy walking there. Berwick upon Tweed is a small walled town which has changed hands between the English and the Scots many times. Personally I think it belongs to Scotland more than England now with Edinburgh as it’s nearest city.

Berwick

View north over the Old Bridge at Berwick upon Tweed

As the circuitous bus takes several hours from Newcastle to Berwick I opted for the 45 minute train journey which speeds up the coast. I also decided to stay at Berwick Youth Hostel in the converted granary there.

Berwick YHA

Berwick upon Tweed Youth Hostel

I had only planned two walks as it was the middle of November, the days were short and the ground was waterlogged:

  • Paxton to Berwick (10m linear)
  • Berwick Elizabethan town walls (1.5m circular)

Both of these routes are available to download on Viewranger

Paxton to Berwick upon Tweed (10m linear)

After a comfortable night in this boutique hostel with a restaurant and some high spec facilities, I set off on a short taxi ride to Paxton. The the first bus wasn’t until 11am and the days were getting short. The 10 mile linear river walk along the Tweed and the Whiteadder starts at the Cross Inn in the small border village of Paxton.

Paxton

My starting point by the Cross Inn at Paxton

For the first few miles my route meandered around the Whiteadder before heading westwards along the Scottish side of the lovely River Tweed. The river forms the border between England and Scotland inland of Berwick.

Salmon Ladder

Salmon ladder on the Whiteadder

I passed some dedicated fishermen at intervals along the river bank, which included a few slithery stretches after the rain. After a few miles I reached the bottom of the Paxton House estate which was still ablaze with autumn colour.

Paxton estate

An old tree on the Paxton estate

From here I followed the path close to the banks of the Tweed as far as the Chain Bridge by Horncliffe.

Chain Bridge

Looking south into England across the Chain Bridge.

Here I crossed into England over the Tweed and turned eastwards along the river bank for a further 6 miles on broad grassy paths back towards Berwick. I knew that the sun set  early so I ate my lunch as I walked to make sure I arrived back with some daylight to spare. After a brush with the busy ring road around the town, I followed the narrow path through the trees under the Royal Border bridge, and back over the Old Bridge into Berwick, arriving at the youth hostel by dusk.

Royal Border Bridge

Passing under the Royal Border Bridge as the light began to fade

Sadly the hostel designer seems to have overlooked the need for somewhere walkers can wash and dry their boots, but I had a nice meal in the restaurant and watched a bit of TV in the lounge before heading off to bed.

Berwick to Paxton route map

Berwick to Paxton route map

Berwick Town walls walk (1.5m circular)

I had just planned a short circuit of the town walls for the Sunday, as it is such a pleasant way to see the town which is crammed full of listed buildings. (See Pevsner’s Northumberland). Historians have apparently described the walls around Berwick are “the best-preserved example of town defences in Britain designed for post-medieval warfare” They are protected as a scheduled ancient monument.

After a nice cooked breakfast at the hostel I headed up onto the ramparts at Marygate and started walking towards the Quayside in the crisp November sunshine.

Berwick Walls

House by Sandgate on Berwick Walls

This section along the quayside has some of the loveliest buildings, all of which are completely different and full of character.

Berwick Custom House

The old custom house overlooking the quayside and port

The walk passes the old arsenal used to store large barrels of gunpowder for the many cannons stationed along the ramparts to protect the entrance to the harbour and the English border.

Berwick Arsenal

The old arsenal at Berwick

Holy Trinity Church built during Cromwell’s era has no spire because bell ringing was unpopular among the Cromwellians.

Holy Trinity

Holy Trinity Church, Berwick

Barracks

Berwick Barracks

I finished the walk at Meg’s Mount back over Marygate just as I heard the strains of music from up the street. The band were striking up for the crowds gathering by the war memorial for Remembrance Sunday. After observing the two minute silence and listening to some speeches by the vicar, I wound my way back to the station to catch my train south.

Meg's Mount

Meg’s Mount on the Berwick Walls

The walk around the ramparts is filled with evidence of Berwick’s military past. This together with the scene by the war memorial reminded me that Berwick has been a barrack town for centuries, and occasions such as Remembrance Sunday strike a deep chord with the local people.

Berwick walls map

Berwick walls route map

NB. I apologize that I cannot do justice to the historical landmarks on the walls on this blog but I believe there are guides and walks available around the walls which give much more historical detail.

5 Responses to Tweed Trip

  1. Looks like a beautiful part of the world. Great photos of town and countryside. Berwick sounds like a fascinating town, somewhere I’d love to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. andrew goop says:

    Nice pictures and write up.Yes definitely worth a visit. We used Berwick as overnight stop on way to Scotland. I was up early and did the ramparts walk befor going north.Will exploy in more detail next time. It looks like it will be next year before I visit again.

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  3. rucksackrose says:

    Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing your walk was very informative looks like you had excellent weather

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