Newcastleton Dykescroft and Castleton Walking Route

A circular walk over good paths and minor roads climbing to the viewpoint of Priest Hill over Newcastleton.

Newcastleton is a village located 22 miles to the south of Hawick. The trail crosses the Liddel Water by the Holm Bridge, built in 1823. Follow the road uphill to Yethouse. The fields here were allocated to the villagers when Newcastleton was founded in 1793, and partly retain their pattern of narrow strips divided by fences or hedges. Just before the next cattle grid, the turf dykes of an old farm called Jingles can be seen.

The wood at the back of the farm is the oldest piece of forest in the area. At the car park and picnic area, take the track leading down to the Whithaugh Burn, and cross by the footbridge. Nearby on the left are several ponds where dragonflies may be seen. The track climbs gently and once over the summit a marvellous view of Liddesdale opens before you. About 200 metres to the left, but out of view, is an ancient earthwork. Two distinctive turf walls form a channel leading away to the right. These used to define an important drove road as it came through the cultivated enclosures of the settlement called Belshiels, where the scant remains of two cottages can be seen near the clump of trees.

The trail leads you to the old Castleton churchyard with many interesting tombstones, on the site of the original parish church and manse. A short distance beyond are the green ramparts of Liddel Castle and across the road is a stone pillar, the remains of a market cross. This is the last visible remains of the village of Castleton, which was removed upon the creation of Newcastleton.


You then pass the old parish church which was built in 1808 and has a well-preserved ‘mounting stone’ for horsemen. The church was closed in 1952. In the wall of the building beside it, which once served as a school, is a stone with a Latin inscription. It can be translated as ‘For God and the Church, today is mine, tomorrow is yours’. It is dated 1621 and the initials are those of Walter Scott, minister of Castleton at that time. Cross the Hermitage Water by the Hermitage Bridge, known locally as the Smiddy Brig, dating from 1792 and named after an old blacksmith’s workshop which once stood nearby.


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Difficulty: Intermediate
Length: 6.09 Miles
Towns: Newcastleton
Total Ascent (m): 581.000
Average Time: 2hr 15min
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