A varied walk around the Vogrie Park in Midlothian
A country park, with extensive woodland walks and a walk by a stream. A country house with a cafe, a 'pay as you go' golf course, a small formal garden, a barbecue area and two children's playgrounds. There is even a model railway running on holidays. The downside is that it costs £2 to leave. Yes, you pay on exit at an unattended barrier, and you need £2 in change to get out by car.
How to get there
For Satnav, the postcode for Vogrie Hall is EH23 4NU.
Turn off the Edinburgh Bypass at the MillerHill Junction, which is the last one before the bypass joins the A1. Follow the A68 South for about 4 miles until you see a right hand turn which is signposted Gorebridge and Vogrie Country Park. Follow this road through Dewarton Village for just over a mile then you will see the park on your left. Keep left to get to the car park. but remember, once you enter the car park you need to pay to get out.
You can see a map of the route here. This is a large country park and there are lots of different ways you can go. This circular walk is just one of them.
As you enter the car park you will see a metal gateway on your right that goes into a field. Once you park up, go through this gate then follow the pathway down the side of the field and eventually through a gateway into a small pinewood. There is a barbecue area here, and a large wooden shelter. If you don't have any sausages to fry, then continue down the path through a wooded area until you come to a gravelled roadway. Turn left here down the hill and over the bridge (if you turned right you would come to a large children's play area).
Once over the bridge. turn right and take the pathway that runs above Vogrie Burn, and follow it down to the stone bridge. Cross the bridge then turn left down the hill to the river Tyne. Here you could go right and follow the pathway that goes through the Alder woods by the Tyne but turn left over two bridges, then up a fairly steep hill to the southern boundary of the park. Follow this path through the trees and through a meadow. Don't take the first turn back down the the river, keep right on until the path itself goes back down. Once you cross the Haddington Tyne again, the path splits 3 ways. If you turn left, this path takes you on a long detour until it eventually reaches the road between Crighton and Borthwick villages. However on this walk, go straight on and follow the boardwalk accross the marsh.
Now you climb back up the hill again through trees and over another stone bridge. Just past the bridge, turn left up a steep hill and then follow the beech tree walk along to Vogrie house. Here you can stop for a coffee and look at the exhibits. Once done, leave by the front of the house and climb up the green grassy hill, keeping to the right. As you go into the rhododendron woods you will see a large white bicycle scupture and 2 large wooden chairs. Keep on until you see a large stone wall, then keep left, through the formal garden, then along by the garden wall which is lined with apple trees. At the end of the wall you will see your way back to the car park.
History The name Vogrie comes from the Gaelic 'Bhog crioch' which can be translated as marshy boundary land. It is first mentioned in documents in 1337 and Vogrie house is probably built on the site of an old house or castle. The estate was eventually bought by the Dewar family and it was James Dewar who comissioned the house that stands there now in 1875. There is some dispute about how James Dewar aquired his money. One claim is that he was a Dewar from Perth and made his fortune from the Perth whisky company Dewars. A counter claim is that he was from the village of Dewar near Heriot, and the cash came from coal mining enterprises from the neighboring Stobbs estate, which was also owned by the Dewars. The last coal mine closed in 1938.
When another James Dewar died in 1908, his wife decided to dispose of the estate and sold it to the Royal Edinburgh Hospital for Nervous Disorders. The Dewars actually still own a small part of the park, the family graveyard near to the barbecue area. In 1963 the estate was taken over by the Midlothian Civil Defence and used as a Cold war communications centre, before it was eventually handed to Midlothian County Council.
If you like the supernatural, then the house is supposed to be haunted by a phantom woman. Overnight ghost hunts are held from time to time when strange voices, bangs and knocks can be heard, and you might feel unseen hands touching you, be assailed by strange smells, and feel sick and want to get outside.
If you are visiting the area with your dog, you can stay at the Stair Arms on the A68 just north of Pathhead as it is dog friendly