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Venlaw and Soonhope Walk

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Venlaw and Soonhope
Photo credit: Jim Barton on Geograph

Walk Details
This is a deceptive walk that can feel much longer than it actually is! You’ll be rewarded for your effort with wonderful views out across to Hundleshope Heights as you explore this quiet valley.

From the car park we’re turning left along Edinburgh Road for about 300 metres. We then take a right on to Venlaw High Road –

but before we get to the first house on your right, we’re going to veer left on to the forest track and head into Venlaw Woodland.

Above the quarry, where the rock (known locally as whinstone) was used for many of the building work in Peebles, the track opens out ahead of you before heading north above Soonhope Glen. To your west side you’ll see a row of beech and sycamore trees that are over 200 years old and home to numerous fungi and insects.

From here the track takes us into open ground which has been planted with smaller trees. Look out for the voles that can often be seen running through the rough grass. These small mammals in turn attract birds of prey to this area including buzzards, kestrels and owls.

Before we reach the Glenbield Kennels we’ll see a finger post that takes us right down a steep grass slope to Soonhope Burn. Here you’ll find a seat that offers the chance to pause for a moment or two and admire the amazing views southwards to Hundleshop and Glenrath Heights.

When you’re ready – at the base of the slope we’ll cross a sleeper bridge over Soonhope Burn before heading straight up the hill to reach the track that runs along the east side of the glen. Here we turn right and head back towards Peebles.

You can’t help but notice the chalets that we pass along this path – they were mainly built post-war by ex-servicement and their families.The ‘hut’ owners would pay the landowners a token rent for them, which are similar in style to a traditional beach hut.

You’ll also get a great view of the Peebles Hydro which was designed by John Starforth and built in 1881. This French Renaissance style building in red sandstone with many turrets burned down in 1905. The architect for the present building was James Miller who designed the Turnberry Hotel. Hydropathic hotels were very fashionable in the early 1900’s, visitors were encouraged to take the local waters as a curative for various real or imaginary ailments. In 1939 the 11/2nd Scottish (renamed 23rd Scottish) General Hospital was deployed to Peebles Hydro. The medical wards were in marquees erected on the putting green. At the main road turn right and right again at the roundabout to return to the car park.

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Carpark: East Station car park, Edinburgh Road, Peebles

trainNearest Train (or tube) Station(s):
Stow (19 miles), Gorebridge (17 miles)

Local Information

Read the Countryside Code before venturing out
Make sure to take a map and compass, and know how to use them before going into our National Parks #BeAdventureSmart

Tips for New Walkers: click here to download (PDF).

Remember to prepare properly before heading out on any type of walk or outdoor activity. Tell people where you are going and what time you are expected back. As Wainwright says "There's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing".