WINTER ice-creams are such a decadence, like going to the cinema in the afternoon, or that Walk of the Week is staying in East Lothian for a second Sunday
Avid readers will know ice-cream is advocated all year round as an after-walk treat, especially when the walk is set out to keep children entertained. It also works for adults and Pressmennan Wood is where I chose for a family trip on my birthday before heading to the coast for a cold indulgence.
Robin Wood has used his imagination and carving skills to create little homes in trees for woodland creatures with strange names, as well as tree carvings. These allow you to occupy little ones while they complete the walk which runs through mixed woodland next to a stretch of water nestled in a valley.
The idea might sound a bit strange to some but it really seems to work. There are leaflets at the start of the walk but in case they have run out you can download one at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/our-woods/pressmennan/Documents/pressmennan-leaflet.pdf. Adults can enjoy the more natural surroundings, being cared for by the Woodland Trust which is gradually replacing conifers that used to cover the whole area. The wood itself dates back centuries and oaks that grew here were used in the 15th century to build ships in Leith.
Before heading for ice -reams we enjoyed a brisk visit to Seacliff beach, off the A198 just south of Tantallon Castle, and a quick session of sandcastle building (ice-creams are not the only traditional summer treat that can be enjoyed all year round).
DISTANCE 1½ miles.
HEIGHT CLIMBED 100ft.
TIME 1 hour (maybe a little more for under threes). MAP OS Landranger 67. PARK Leave the A1 at the Thistly Cross roundabout outside Dunbar and follow the B6370 for three miles, to Stenton. Go left at the end of the village (in front of a primary school) and just less than a mile down a narrow country lane go left again, following a brown sign for Pressmennan Wood. There is a car park at the end of the track.
IN SUMMARY Walk back down the car park and look for a stone painted yellow on the right and follow a path to reach a track where you turn right. Go right again almost immediately to leave the track and take a path along a burn and on to the banks of Pressmennan Lake.
Good work in chopping down a large amount of rhododendrons means there are great views across the lake until the first sculpture is passed – the Wavey Wood Post. Not long after, little windows and doors appear in trees to the left – these are home to Odon Poolittle and Bombi Noffnuff. Continue straight ahead as the path pulls away from the lake and reaches a track at a carved post with a hole in it – it is the Holey Posty and marks the half-way point.
Turn right to follow the track which leads all the way back to the car park. On the way, look out for a Meeting Seat on the left and the home of Jenfrey Hoolups, next to a green stone on the right. The final carving to look out for is a frog sat on a log.
REFRESHMENTS There is nothing at the start of the walk but Dunbar isn’t far with its range of eateries.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA John Muir was born in Dunbar and the house on the High Street where the environmentalist spent his early years now holds a museum (www.jmbt.org.uk) explaining the work of one of Scotland’s most influential sons.
The Scottish Seabird Centre at North Berwick is also worth considering (www.seabird.org).