Walk: Dunbar to North Berwick, East Lothian

Walk from Dunbar to North Berwick through wildlife-rich waterlands and wind-swept farmland on this 15-mile inland route

Across a field to the Law by North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland

A 15-mile hike from Dunbar to North Berwick in south-east Scotland.

Witch trials, fierce battles and huge volcanic blasts; the town of North Berwick and its surrounding landscape has a long, fabled and fractious past. Yet in the 19th century, as the hum and smoulder of the industrial revolution largely bypassed the town, its character began to shift.

Advertisement

In 1850, the North Berwick Branch railway was built, connecting the seaside town with Edinburgh. Workers and retiring Lothians began to flock to the coast, set on replacing the toil of city life with ice cream, verdant golf courses and sandy shores.

Coastal fishing village in Scotland

Old and New

Today, the town’s Victorian past remains embedded within its charming backstreets and broad, sweeping seafront. Dip sandy toes into the 1930s tidal pool and admire Beach Road’s reef of 19th-century balconies and bay windows.

This town is vintage, but there is far more to it than a step into the past. Head to the Scottish Seabird Centre and learn about the local wildlife, or for those with a stomach for heights, get in touch with East of Scotland Microlights for a tour of the sky and expansive, aerial views of the island-flecked coast.

Dunbar, Scotland
Dunbar, Scotland ©Getty

A short bus ride away is the harbour town of Dunbar, birthplace of John Muir. Thought by many to be the father of modern conservation, Muir’s commemorative museum is a fitting start to this rewarding inland ramble.

1. Sea in your wake

Follow the John Muir Way out of town via the Old Harbour, skirting the fringe of a golf course before reaching Belhaven Bay. The path soon enters the John Muir Country Park, a wildlife-rich landscape of grassland, marsh, woodland and dunes.

Eider duck
Eider duck’s can be spotted on the shores of John Muir Country Park ©Getty

2. Banks of the Tyne

Look for gregarious eider ducks nesting in the dunes, and then head inland on the waymarked trail. You will soon meet the bubbling waters of the River Tyne, its modest banks flecked with wildflowers and tree-cast shade.

3. Beyond the mill

Preston Mill, Scotland
Preston Mill features in the US TV series Outlander ©Getty

Pass through East Linton, noting the conical roof of the 18th-century Preston Mill, before crossing arable fields.

4. Take on the law

The igneous rock of Berwick Law looms over the West Bay and the seaside town of North Berwick
The igneous rock of Berwick Law looms over the West Bay and the seaside town of North Berwick ©Alamy

After about four miles you will reach the foot of Berwick Law (187m). Detour to the top of the hill for fine views of Tantallon Castle and Bass Rock, then descend to North Berwick.

Map

Click on the map below for an interactive version of the route

Dunbar to North Berwick map

Advertisement

Find out more about North Berwick and the John Muir Way