Berwickshire Coastal Path

Distance (km) Ascent (metres) Number of days
48 1060 2 - 4
Start: Cockburnspath Finish: Berwick-upon-Tweed
Linked to other Scotland’s Great Trail(s):
John Muir Way Southern Upland Way
Books

Below we list printed maps and/or guidebooks in ascending order of cover price: click image or title for more info. To add or alter any items in this list, please Contact us.

Route type and direction

Linear: Cockburnspath to Berwick-upon-Tweed

Traditionally walked from north to south, mainly because Berwick makes a convenient terminus with its facilities and transport connections. If you prefer the reverse direction (Berwick to Cockburnspath) you may have the prevailing wind at your back.

Overview

This trail follows one of the most spectacular coastlines in Britain, passing above impressive cliffs, including the 103-metre cliffs at Fancove Head. The route offers splendid views of sea arches, stacks and old forts. Its appeal goes beyond glorious scenery, with areas of international importance for seabirds, coastal grasses and wildflowers, and marine life. There is also the human interest of the fishing villages, including the 1881 disaster near Eyemouth in which 189 fishermen lost their lives. The geology of this coastline is visible and important: some will wish to detour to Siccar Point, the site of a famous Unconformity noted in 1788 by geologist James Hutton. Cockburnspath is the eastern terminus of the Southern Upland Way and is the southern end of the 10-mile (16-km) John Muir Link which joins the John Muir Way at Dunbar.

Highlights

  • views over rural landscapes of East Lothian and the Borders
  • historic border town of Berwick-upon-Tweed with its fortified walls
  • rugged coastal scenery with spectacular cliffs
  • Coldingham Bay with its glorious beach
  • National Nature Reserve at St Abbs Head (short detour)
  • fishing villages with lots of character

Be aware

  • some road walking
  • care needed on unprotected cliff edges
  • no accommodation in Cockburnspath

The challenge

The route’s considerable altitude gain makes it surprisingly strenuous: don’t underestimate the challenge because of its modest length. The gradients vary: some paths are easy, others very steep. The terrain is also mixed, with rocky sections and sandy beaches as well as constructed footpaths. Aim to spend at least three days on the trail, albeit strong, experienced walkers may prefer to complete it in two. For a leisurely pace, you could extend it to four days, using local buses to travel to, and return from, each day’s start and finish. Waymarking is generally good but gives out as you enter Berwick.

Accommodation

There is a range of accommodation around Coldingham and Eyemouth, and a wide range in Berwick-upon-Tweed, but none in Cockburnspath. For listings, try VisitScotland.

Support services

The following companies offer self-guided packages for the Berwickshire Coastal Path:

Public transport

Berwick-upon-Tweed is on the east coast mainline, and is linked with Edinburgh by Borders Buses, which also serves Cockburnspath and other points along the coast, roughly hourly.

The nearest airports are at Edinburgh and Newcastle upon Tyne.

For details, visit Traveline Scotland, or, for the entire UK, Traveline. For travel from anywhere to anywhere, try Rome2Rio.

Download the Berwickshire Coastal Path leaflet

Berwickshire Coastal Path leaflet Download
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