Distance: 3½ miles
Time: 1½ to 2 hours
OS Landranger: 66
Start/finish point: Market Street in the centre of Haddington.

It is the time of the year when the sun gets hot and a walk by a river, bordered by flower-filled banks and surrounded by rolling fields, can be as idyllic as it gets. In Haddington, the River Tyne leaves behind the imposing St Mary’s Parish church and picturesque Nungate Bridge before heading out into open country, ideal for a picnic.

It is worth going to have a look at the bridge and church before starting the walk by heading east along Market Street and over a set of traffic lights. Go across the River Tyne by Victoria Bridge and continue past a cemetery before turning left, on an access road next to some sports pitches. This leads to a footbridge over the river, which you cross before turning right on the other side.

At the far end of a grassed play area, a well-made path leads out of the town and by the side of the river. The path goes past a weir which was built in the 18th century for no reason other than to look nice but the river is a good place for bird life including herons and kingfisher. In recent months, otters have also been spotted on this stretch of water – keep your eyes peeled and listen out for their high pitched squealing.

After this you reach the early 16th century Abbey Bridge which you go up on to and cross over. About 100 yards further on, go right, between tall stone gateposts. Almost immediately turn left to walk along the side of the Amisfield Walled Garden. One of the largest in Scotland, it was built by the 7th Earl of Wemyss in the 1780s and remained in the family until the 20th century. The family would have used it as a source of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as using its size and layout to show off their wealth. However, the nearby Amisfield House was demolished in 1928 and the surrounding parkland, including the walled garden, was sold to Haddington Town Council in 1969. The garden is now open to the public and plants are often for sale, making it well worth a detour. It is also used for education courses for people of all abilities.

At the end of the wall another well-made path leads off to the left. Follow this up through bushes until just before a road, where the path runs sharp right to begin the return to Haddington.

Follow the path by the road until they meet beyond a wooden kissing gate. Turn right once through the gate and follow the road back into Haddington, past the cemetery and over the Victoria Bridge – the road is really a country lane before it returns to the buildings of the town but you should be aware of traffic. TC
Published: June 2018