A walk from Gore Glen Woodland park to Temple Village and back
An 8 mile walk by the bank of a small river, through woods and up and down short hills. Nothing in the way of facilities on the walk itself, but there is a cafe at NewtonGrange Mining Museum, which you pass on the way there.
How to get there
For Satnav, the nearest postcode is EH23 4LN. This is for Carrington Barns farm.
Gore Glen can be hard to find. The easiest way is to head south down the A7 from the Edinburgh Bypass and after about about 3 miles you will reach NewtonGrange. Carry on through the village past the Mining Museum, over the crossroads with the B704, then over the roundabout by the School on your left up the hill. Take the right turn about 100 yards past this roundabout. It is easy to miss it as the road is quite small. Go down this road, over the Borders Railway, then the road bears left, goes under a narrow old bridge then down a steep hill. At bottom of the hill there is parking for 4 or 5 cars. Carrington Barns Farm is abour half a mile past here, if you are using Satnav and the post code supplied above.
The suggested walk is a long one which involves a lot of rough walking. This is a 'there and back again' walk, so of course you can turn back at any time to shorten the walk. You can see a map of the route here.
Go through the metal gate at the car park, into the woods and after 100 yards the path splits. Follow the right hand path and cross Trotter's Bridge over the Gore Glen. Now follow the path along the river bank, passing waterfalls and old brick mills on the way. After a short distance the path climbs a short hill then goes down a really muddy bank on the other side. Keep following the path until you come to a bridge over the South Esk.
Cross the bridge, then bear right, away from the river. This path bends around an open space planted with Oak trees, then climbs a short hill. At the top of the hill you will see a path that goes between two tall stone gateposts into a field. If you wish you can go that way. Keep right by the side of the field and it will bring you back to the roadway. Go down the road and you will be back at your car.
However for the long walk, keep going along the path through the woods. You are now high up above the river on a narrow path through Beech woods. You might see deer in the valley below. After quite a distance the path drops down again through a pine wood, and you emerge from the woods into a grassy field. At the opposite corner of the field you will find another bridge, which you cross to the other side of the river.
Over the bridge, the path goes through the field, heading for a track that goes up a hill to Arniston House. However at the bottom of this hill you will see that the footpath bears right along the river bank. Follow this path along, and now the trees are large ornamental firs and pines, planted by the occupants of Arniston house years ago. You will see an old stone building by the river, which has old pipes near it, and the large round holes in the walls. It is said that this was build during 1973 Miners Strike, as a hydroelectric plant to provide power to Arniston House as coal was scarce. That would make the building about 45 years old but it appears to be much older.
Keep following the path on the right bank of the river, and you will see an old stone bridge, then a new road bridge. The river at this point rushes over several natural waterfalls. As you go under the road bridge the trees change again into commercial evergreen, and the path climbs up and down the river bank, using steps and wooden walkways over the very steep or wet parts. Eventually, the path leaves the river bank, climbs some steps and comes out on the roadway, right beside old Temple church. Take a look at the church, then turn round and walk all the way back again.
Most of this walk passes through Arniston Estate. The estate has been owned for hundreds of years by the Dundas family, who began the building Arniston house about 1620. These lands were originally a royal hunting park, but were gifted to the Knights Templar by David I of Scotland in 1127. The village of Temple is named after the Templars owners, but their order was abolished in 1312 and all their property was seized and handed over to the control of the Knights of St John.
So who was responsible for the old ruined Kirk at the end of this walk? It may have been originally built by the Templar knights in the 12th century, but it is more likely that it was built by the Knights of St. John. There is a carved inscription on the gable end of the church that reads 'VAESEC MUHM'. One translation of this carving is 'Vienne Sacrum Concilium Militibus Johannis Hierosolymitani Melitensbus' or in English, 'The Sacred Council of Vienne, to the Knights of St John of Jerusalem and Malta'.
However there is a Templar twist to the story. The Templars were originally persecuted by Philip of France, who needed their money for his treasury, but when he raided the Paris Temple, no money was found. A French legend says that the Paris treasure was moved to Scotland, to an island on the Firth of Forth. This would most likely be the Isle of May, which is close to the mouth of the river Esk, which leads up to Temple (or Rosslyn Chapel if you head up the North Esk). There is local legend that the treasure is hidden at Temple
'Twixt the oak and the elm tree
You will find buried the millions free.'
Two locals were working on a wall that runs alongside the old Kirk in 2006, when they discovered a curious stone. It was dated to the 12th century and had inscriptions that seemed to be a combination of Viking, Medieval and Celtic. It was probably the lid of a sarcophagus but archaeologists as yet have been unable to explain it.
No facilities, just a long and varied walk.