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 a bit waterlogged:

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

Maps on this post are courtesy of Viewranger and Ordnance Survey © Both 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 so I wanted to make a prompt start. 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

Unfortunately the hostel didn’t have somewhere for walkers to wash and dry their boots, but I enjoyed a nice meal in the restaurant and watched a bit of TV in the lounge before heading to bed.

Paxton Map
Paxton to Berwick upon Tweed Route. Courtesy of Viewranger and Ordnance Survey ©

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 the loveliest and most eclectic selection of buildings of the whole walk.

Berwick Custom House
The old custom house overlooking the quayside and port

The walk passes the old arsenal used to store barrels of gunpowder for the many cannons stationed along the ramparts which protect the entrance to the harbour on this strategic post on the English / Scottish 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 a speech by the vicar, I wound my way back to the station to catch my train.

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.

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.

Berwick Map
Berwick upon Tweed Walls Route. Courtesy of Viewranger and Ordnance Survey ©

3 thoughts on “Tweed Trip

  1. 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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