Roger's Walk – Penicuik to Dalkeith Walkway : Scotland

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From the early days of the industrial revolution until the second half of the 20th century, there were many active coal mines all over Midlothian with an extensive railway network to carry away the coal, most of which was closed along with the pits. Today's walk follows the old railway line from Hardengreen Junction (now the site of Dalkeith Tesco superstore) to Penicuik. The line closed to passenger traffic in 1951 but remained open for goods until 1967. Although Penicuik did have coalmines, the main industry here was papermaking, taking advantage of the river North Esk both as a source of water for the process and to drive the mill machinery.

The walk starts outside the Tesco store in Dalkeith and for the first mile and a half the path is hemmed in by suburban housing - Bonnyrigg to the northwest and the newer developments at Hopefield to the southeast. Quite suddenly, we emerge into open fields. Skirting around Rosewell, we reach the site of Hawthornden Junction, where the Penicuik branch left the main line which ran to Peebles and beyond.  From here onwards, the track stays close to the river North Esk, crossing crossing the river on a series of bridges and viaducts and passing through couple of short tunnels. At Roslin Castle station, where the goods bay served Roslin gunpowder works, we will stop for lunch, and we can catch a glimpse of the ruins of the gunpowder mills in the valley below. For the remainder of the walk, the path is huddled in the heavily wooded river valley where nature has taken over and which is home to barn owls, bats, roe deer, otters and other wildlife. A mile further and we reach the site of Dalmore paper mill at Auchendinny. This was the last working paper mill on the North Esk when it closed in 2004. like the other two paper mills yet to come, the mill buildings have been replaced by modern housing. Further on is Esk Bridge, the site of another paper mill, then finally we emerge from the narrow wooded river valley into Valleyfield, the site of Scotland's largest paper mill when it closed in 1975, ending 276 years of papermaking. The old mill buildings were used for a while to house French prisoners from the Napoleonic war, and if there's time we can visit a rather unusual war memorial.

The walk ends at Roger's house, and you are invited in for tea or coffee and a scone (subject to Covid rules on meeting indoors!).

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Roger's Walk – Penicuik to Dalkeith Walkway

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News: Scotland

Posted Sep 03, 2021 12:00
There are many reasons for you to join us at Spice.  
Posted Aug 16, 2021 12:00
As we approach the 1/2 way mark of our walk series I wanted to say how much we are all enjoying the walks.  As with all Spice events, members are getting to know others as we go.  Real friendships are being made as well as excellent exercise for the body and mind.  
Posted Mar 19, 2021 12:00
Scotland is slowly opening up and we are now able to offer walks outdoors for up to 15 members in our local authority areas.
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