Haddington to West Barns, Lothian

This walk is part of the trek Lothian-90 Walk.

Eighth, penultimate, leg of a 90-mile walk across the whole of the Lothians, using quiet footpaths, country parks, disused railway lines, river banks, tracks and the occasional minor road.

Technical sheet No. 24929394

A East Lothian walk posted on 05/08/22 by Roy's Edimburg Walks. Last update : 08/08/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 5h40 ?
Distance Distance : 19.91 km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 7 m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 48 m
Highest point Highest point : 50 m
Lowest point Lowest point : 1 m
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : No
Walking Walking
Location Location : East Lothian
Starting point Starting point : N 55.955601° / W 2.77917°
Ending point Ending point : N 55.997563° / W 2.540939°
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Start : Haddington, town centre (Junction of Court St., High St. and Neilson Park Rd.)

(D) Leave Haddington’s central square, at the junction of Court, Market, and the High Streets, by heading South along Neilson Park Road (public toilets on the right).

(1) At the end do not enter the Park Gates, but take the vennel to the left, quickly bear right along a passageway that doglegs through to Mill Wynd. Go left here and cross at the next junction. Pass through the ornamental gates, with black railings, into the grounds of St Mary’s. Keep straight on, to soon bear slightly left past the church, to exit into The Sands. On arriving at the cylindrical dovecot of Lady Kitty's Garden turn right over the arched, old Nungate Bridge (A).

(2) Once across the R. Tyne take steps down to the left. Briefly follow the river to quickly turn right through a vennel into Tyne Court, exit at the far left. Turn right into St Martin’s Gate. Follow it away from the river and at its end swing right into Bullet Loan. Pass the ruins of St Martins on your left.

(3) At the T-junction go left along Lennox Rd., to soon cross Whittingehame Drive and reach the semi-ornamental West Gates (of the old Amisfield estate) and pass through into the parkland golf course.

(4) Follow the driveway straight on, past the club house. Before the car park keep left (ahead) along a rough track, and follow it to its end. An old walled garden (B) lies to the left. Exit the old estate onto a minor road which you follow left to Abbey Bridge.

(5) Once over the bridge turn left and drop down to the river bank. Proceed downstream for 5 km to East Linton. Having gone under the impressively lofty A1 bridge, and then the old A199 road bridge, you eventually arrive at the back of housing. Here, immediately before arriving at the lattice-worked railway bridge turn left up Distillery Wynd.

(6) At the top turn right along Station Road. Do not enter East Linton but continue along Station Road, over the river Tyne and out along Mill Wynd towards Phantassie. The railway embankment lies parallel on the right. Before the roundabout a marked footpath (which we will follow) leads off to the left. But first go ahead two dozen paces to admire the John Rennie Commemorative baluster (C). Return to the Phantassie footpath which follows a double dogleg right-left-right-left around buildings and leads you to the beehive-shaped Phantassie doocot.

(7) Immediately before the doocot take the right-hand field boundary. This leads to a footbridge bridge over the Tyne. Cross the bridge and follow the John Muir Way downstream. Soon the Way crosses back over the Tyne at a second footbridge. Here the alternative route via a farm shop is recommended*.

(8) However, if following the main route, keep to the edge of the Tyne. Follow the river downstream and after two fields rise up to the minor road at Tyninghame Bridge. Turn right, you may be able to use a footpath in the field alongside the road.

(9) Soon turn left along a quiet lane towards the estuary (D). On reaching the embankment, go right then left to follow alongside the shore beside World War II relics. Keep ahead for 2 km. A bridge crosses a stream. Once over bear slightly right.

(10) A conifer plantation lies to the left, East Links Family Play Park (E) to the right (the lamma love to be fed - ordinary grass suffices). On re-gaining the coast there is a large toilet block on the left, and car parks to the right. From the toilet block, keep ahead along the John Muir Way. Do not bear inland (through fields), nor out to sea (across sands).

(11) On encountering the Biel Water, follow it inland a short distance to cross the footbridge. Walk back alongside the Biel and then carry on along the coast, on a good path, past Seafield Pond (F) and a caravan site. This long, straight section of path ends at Shore Road which you take to the right.

(12) Head inland right up Shore Rd. to the walk end at the bus stops on the main Edinburgh Road (A1087). (A)

Waypoints :
D : km 0 - alt. 49 m - Haddington’s central square
1 : km 0.27 - alt. 48 m - Neilson Park
2 : km 1.06 - alt. 45 m - Old Nungate Bridge
3 : km 1.54 - alt. 46 m - Lennox Rd.
4 : km 2.38 - alt. 45 m - Golf course
5 : km 3.15 - alt. 40 m - Abbey Bridge
6 : km 10.78 - alt. 28 m - River Tyne
7 : km 11.57 - alt. 18 m - Phantassie doocot
8 : km 13.07 - alt. 6 m - Alternative - Knowes farm
9 : km 14.34 - alt. 10 m - A198
10 : km 18.18 - alt. 6 m - East Links Family Play Park
11 : km 19.09 - alt. 4 m - Biel Water
12 : km 19.72 - alt. 6 m - Shore Rd
A : km 19.91 - alt. 8 m - Edinburgh Road (A1087)

Useful Information

Start : Haddington, town centre (Junction of Court St., High St. and Nelson Park Rd.)
End : West Barns (East end, bus stop at crossroads of Beveridge Row and Edinburgh Rd.)
Transport :

  • Walk start: Haddington. Frequent buses (every 20 mins or so, run from Edinburgh). These include First 106/X6/X8, Perrymans and Lothian 104. X6 and Perrymans run slightly quicker services.
  • Walk end: West Barns. First 106/X6, Perrymans. (Buses typically every hour.)

Alternative : From waypoint (8) at the second footbridge leave the river and take the farm road towards Knowes farm. Dogleg left-right between farm buildings, then (by the partly hidden white entrance gates) go sharp left along the road to the well-stocked farm shop and cafe. Highly recommended. After stocking up do not retrace your steps, instead just continue along the farm shop road (telegraph poles on your right, more farm housing ahead on the left). At the minor road go left and then at the next junction (in 100 m) go right, thereby joining quiet lane which leads to the estuary.

More information at Roy's Edimburg Walks website here.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

(A) Haddington Population: 9,000 At one time (The High Middle Ages) Haddington was the fourth biggest city in Scotland after Aberdeen, Roxburgh and Edinburgh. Haddington Bowling Club derives from the oldest bowling green in Scotland. (Dates from at least 1667; look out for the grass rectangle at the SW end of the 12th century Nungate Bridge. Also, not to be missed, is the in situ hanging hook. Look carefully beneath the westernmost arch, as you approach hte bridge.)

(B) Amisfield House and walled garden. Have a look in at the walled garden built in 1783. The Amisfield Preservation Trust encourages visitors. The house itself was a victim of dry rot, demolished in 1928.

(C) East Linton. Rennie Memorial at Phantassie House. Baluster from Waterloo Bridge. A baluster is spindle made of stone, multiplied they form a balustrade. Rennie was born at Phantassie. His prolific work on canals (Kennet & Avon), bridges (Waterloo, London), harbours & lighthouses (designed Bell Rock), draining marches (Lincolnshire) mark him as one of the greatest engineers of his age. Rennie’s masonry bridges are noted for combining solidity with elegance. His masterpiece Waterloo Bridge (opened in 1817). Famously painted (1900) by Monet, also features in the magnificently, unapologetically romantic 1940 Film – ‘Waterloo Bridge’ staring Vivien Leigh. The beehive-shaped Phantassie Doocot, with its French style horseshoe parapet, was built in the 16th century to house 500 pigeons.

(D) Tyninghame Bay. The saltmarshes of John Muir Country Park at Tyninghame Bay attract wintering and migratory birds. It is a spectacular estuary with fringing woods and grasslands and flocks of waders – oystercatchers, curlew, dunlin and redshank. World War II defensive structures including look-outs, dragon's teeth, pillboxes, anti-tank blocks and glider traps (rows of posts out on the sands can still be seen).

(E) East Links Family Playpark. A farm themed activity, with train safari and animal paddocks for cattle, sheep, pygmy goats, deer, pigs, horses, donkeys, rhea, lamas, wallabys, ornamental chickens, guinea fowl, pheasants and quail.

(F) Seafield pond, West Barns – site of former 19th century brickworks which shut when the raw materials ran out. Only the ponds remain to mark the site.

Background notes to all nine "Lothian Transect Route" walks. Lothian is the region of the Scottish Lowlands lying between the Firth of Forth and the Southern Uplands. It encompasses the old, historic counties of West Lothian, Edinburghshire (Midlothian), and East Lothian. The complete ‘Lothian Transect Route' crosses the whole of the Lothians, from its far western edge (Harthill) to its most easterly point (Dunglass), in nine 10-mile long sections. All nine legs have been designed to begin and end at places well served by public transport.
West Lothian sits astride the main routes between Edinburgh and the west. Originally a pleasant, fertile and well-wooded county, West Lothian became industrialised from the 1840s onwards. First ironstone, then coal and shale mining dotted the landscape with bings. Today the remaining bings are treasured as industrial monuments - the pink ones are shale, the grey ones coal. Since WWII the heavy industry has gone and been replaced by electronics and service industries. Thousands of houses came with the development of Livingstone New Town. Such overspill towns were an ambitious post-WWII attempt to meet Scotland’s housing challenge, caused by the shortage in the big cities. Despite all these C19th and C20th developments it is possible to walk across West Lothian along quiet footpaths, through pleasant community woodlands, over reclaimed bings, along riversides and though old country parks.

Midlothian provides more space and solitude. The transect route crosses through the Pentland Hills, ever popular with hill walkers or outdoor enthusiasts, and then onward through more old mining and manufacturing areas into a rich agricultural landscape. Old railway lines nowadays provide handy walking and cycling paths.
East Lothian is one of the most picturesque areas of Scotland. It also had an extremely important agricultural and industrial past. Officially the sunniest and driest area in Scotland, it has a gentle, open aspect and is home to a rich variety of wildlife. It is bounded on the south by the Lammermuir Hills and stretches eastwards to the boundary with Scottish Borders at Dunglass.

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