Walk of the week: Vogrie Country Park, Midlothian

VOGRIE HOUSE is a stately pile in Midlothian built for the Dewar family in 1875. Now looked after by the local council, the grounds offer a good choice of paths covering a variety of ground, including the valley carrying the River Tyne to wood and park land.

At only 12 miles from the centre of Edinburgh, it is a popular spot, especially in summer, but there is still enough space to blow away the cobwebs in peace and quiet.

This route connects a number of the paths to provide a good stroll for an hour or so. They can be muddy, so wear boots and there is one fairly steep bank to be clambered up but any reasonably fit member of the family should be able to complete it.

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The walk starts in the North Woods of the country park, a quiet stroll through the trees which gradually gets louder as you approach what is known as The Rookery. Here (you will know when you've reached it) up to 250 pairs of rooks live in the branches of the trees, as their predecessors have done for the last century.

More mixed woodland, including some fine old yew trees, follows this before you drop down a pleasant gorge carrying the bubbling Vogrie burn to the Tyne valley. Here you cross the infant Tyne just a few miles from its source at Tynehead. The river is 40 miles long in total, emptying into the North Sea at Tyningham.

Up a fairly steep bank on the other side of the river there is a chance to stretch your legs before dropping back down through thinning woodland and re-crossing the water.

The walk ends back at Vogrie House, where there is a lovely little caf and adventure playground that will keep children occupied.

A perfect Sunday afternoon stroll, this will get you out of the city and into beautiful rolling countryside.

For more information on the country park and to download sketch maps, go to www.midlothian.gov.uk and type 'Vogrie' into the search box.

Distance 2.5 miles.

Height climbed 210ft.

Time 1 to 2 hours.

Map OS Landranger 66.

Park Vogrie is signposted from the A68. About four miles south of the A720 Edinburgh city bypass, turn right. A mile and a half down the road is the entrance to the country park, on the left. It costs 1 to park and you need to buy a token before you reach the barrier so make sure you have coins with you.

In summary From the side of the car park closest to the road you drove in on, follow a sign for 'North Woods Dewarton', along a footpath through woodland running parallel to the road.

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At a fork go left to follow a well-made path over a gorge. On the other side ignore a path going right and go straight ahead until you reach a sign for Vogrie House, where you go right.

Follow the path as it gradually swings round to the right and on reaching another signpost go left along a path signed 'Tyne Valley'. Drop down to cross a small bridge and on the other side go left to follow a path by a small burn.

Cross a couple of wooden bridges over the River Tyne and then climb a fairly steep bank on the other side. The path goes right at the top of the bank, gradually dropping down through thinning woodland. At another signpost go right, following a sign for Vogrie House. Drop down to recross the Tyne via a wooden bridge then go left to follow the river upstream a short way.

At a fork in the path go right, then right again after about 60 yards. The path leads under rhododendrons then reaches another sign for Vogrie House, where you go left to climb a series of steps.

Go straight across a junction of paths to reach Vogrie House. Walk round to the front of the house then follow a drive up to the left to return to the car park.

Refreshments The Cedar Tree Caf, which is attached to Vogrie House, serves snacks like sandwiches and jacket potatoes. It is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

While you are in the area You are on the doorstep of Edinburgh with its myriad attractions. Otherwise, why not try Rosslyn Chapel – more popular than ever, thanks to its Da Vinci Code links (0131 440 2159, www.rosslynchapel.org.uk)

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