A FEW weeks ago the issue of estates hidden behind high walls was raised. The Hirsel Estate, right next to the border with England at Coldstream, is another place unseen by those who pass by but enjoyed to the full by many who venture down the main drive.
The estate is an example of how more than one business can be successful. As well as the farming and forestry interests of the main house – home to the Home family – there are a number of small outfits near the start of this walk.
Craft workshops sell their goods direct to the public, a tea room is visited by many from the surrounding area and a gift shop does a good trade.
This all makes you feel you are in a thriving, welcoming spot when you start the walk. The route leads to the peace and quiet, countryside and wildlife you would expect of a country estate, with a number of way marked routes (combined here) to suit all abilities.
DISTANCE 3 miles. HEIGHT CLIMBED Negligible. TIME 1 to 2 hours. MAP OS Landranger 74.
PARK If entering Coldstream from the west, leave the A698 just past a health centre and turn left on to the Hirsel Estate. A long drive leads to a car park (£2.50 charge), tea room, exhibition and craft shops.
IN SUMMARY Walk back out of the car park and turn left back along the drive. After only about 30 yards go right along a track signed for a Lake Observation Hide. A few hundred yards down the track it is worth diverting right to reach the hide, if only for a view over Hirsel Lake.
After the track has turned right, keep right at a junction to follow a blue arrow on a marker post. A little further on keep right again, then take a path on the right of a field entrance. The path leads through woodland to an estate road, where you go left to walk with Hirsel House across to the right. At a junction before a cottage, go right to walk past various estate buildings until you reach a sign marked “Private” below an oak tree. Go left here to pass a bridge named Cow Arch and then turn left at a junction, following a red arrow on a marker post.
After 20 yards or so, leave the estate road and go right down a path through trees, again following a red arrow. The path leads up the side of Leet Water to reach a track, where you go right to cross Dunglass Bridge over the slow-flowing tributary of the Tweed.
On the other side follow a track, and after a short way go right to follow a path, once more following a red arrow. The path leads down the broad, flat valley of Leet Water, passing the other side of the main house. Ignore paths to either side and keep on the main path.
Once the house is well out of sight, go right at a fork, following a red arrow again. The path drops to a gate with a golf course on the other side. Go through the gate and walk straight ahead, with a green to your right, to a second gate. Go through this and cross a bridge.
The path on the other side leads along the golf course to the tea room next to the car park.
REFRESH The tea room next to the car park is well worth a visit.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA As well as the craft shops near the start, you could venture into Coldstream and head for the banks of the Tweed, where you can look over the water which marks the border with England.