Make Tracks to Philiphaugh

Walks and Wildlife

 

Here is the map of the Estate walks. Please click on the map for a larger view.

 

You can take a bracing walk on the beautiful Philiphaugh Estate, followed by some home cooked delights at The Waterwheel Restaurant.
 

Estate Leaflets with trail routes are available from the Salmon Viewing Centre and The Waterwheel.
 

The salmon leap walk follows the Ettrick River to the meeting pool where the Yarrow flows into the Ettrick and links to the pathway back into Selkirk town.
 

Longer estate walks take you up into the woodland and forest areas of the estate where the keen eyed may spot red squirrels.
 

Continuing out onto the high ground of open pasture and leading to the moorland heights where the peak has three cairns which mark the meeting of three estates, namely Buccleuch Estate (Foulshiels), Land belonging to the people of Selkirk (Linglie), and the Forestry Commission (Yair Forest).

This hilltop is called the Three Brethren.
 

This links to the Southern Upland Way a long distance footpath stretching from coast to coast across the south of Scotland through some stunning scenery.
 

Part of the estate walks leads up to Harehead Hill where the grave of Tibbie Tamson is found on the wild windswept hill. Tibbie was accused of theft and took her own life and could not be buried in consecrated ground. Some folk also believed her to be a witch. Local folk carried her to this hilltop resting place and the grave is still tended to this day with fresh flowers appearing at her graveside regularly.

 

Spring \ Summer Wildlife

Dippers take up nesting sites below bridge structures along the riverside.
 

Kingfishers can be seen patrolling along the mill lade and river looking for suitable hunting perches of overhanging willow branches . These iridescent blue beauties nest in holes in the banks of the river.
 

Spring heralds the return of summer leaf warblers and the flutey song of the willow warbler can be heard from the shrubby, bushy areas of woodland.
 

Swallows, swifts and martins make a welcome return from their over wintering quarters in Africa. The swallows take up residence in the barns around the salmon viewing centre to make their shallow mud cup nests in which to raise up to three broods over the short summer period.
 

Grey wagtails frequent the rivers edge and shallows, balancing on rocks to catch insects. Their distinctive tail bobbing gives away their presence.
 

The ubiquitous heron is a regular visitor, forever on the look out for an opportune moment to snatch a fish from the river.

Following the long Phillip Burn out into the high ground and moor land reveals some summer breeding wading birds, oystercatchers, common sandpipers and the occasional redshank, while the marshes have snipe and curlew.
 

The route up to the Three Brethren is a stunning place to walk in the springtime when the meadow pipits are performing their marvellous parachute courtship displays. Stonechats are also regulars and hold fence post territories, as song posts. The arrival of the wheatears to nest on the moorland adds a bit of colour splash as these are handsome thrush sized birds take off to reveal the white rump and the T shaped black mark of their tails.
 

Many of the bird species including the red grouse are ground nesters. Please ensure that dogs are under close control on a leash at all times to protect the bird life and also because livestock is loose.

 

Birds of prey

Look out for buzzards, kestrels, peregrine, sparrowhawk and osprey. In the summer check out any small falcon as it could be a merlin!

 

Autumn/Winter Wildlife at Philiphaugh Estate

 

Red squirrels are regularly spotted in the forested areas of the estate and plenty of mixed flocks of finches, tits and goldcrests roam the woods in feeding parties. The occasional woodcock is likely to be seen if disturbed.
 

Roe deer graze in the woods.
 

Up on the moors leading up to the top of the hill at the Three Brethren buzzards and ravens soar.
 

There are snipe in the reeds and marshy grounds by the reservoir and moorhen and mallard can be seen here.
 

On the lower estate walks there are flocks of wintering thrushes from Scandinavia including, redwings and fieldfares attracted by the hawthorn berries.
 

Along the river there is plenty of evidence of otter activity and it would probably be best to take a river walk at dawn to be lucky enough to spot one.
 

Dippers, grey wagtails, goosander and herons can be seen regularly along the riverside. You may be lucky enough to catch a blue flash as a Kingfisher patrols the river.
 

The underwater cameras at the salmon viewing centre have revealed salmon, grayling, salmon parr, sea trout, brown trout and eels this autumn.

 

Wildlife Watching Tips.

For the best chance to see any wildlife you will need to be out and about when it is quiet, dawn is the best time of day for wildlife watching. Chance sightings can happen at any time during the day though.
 

Wear dull colours of rustle free clothing, and remember to be alert and watchful. Take time to stop and scan the surroundings with binoculars.
 

Most of all you will require patience and good luck!