On our way back from walking in the the Lake District we decided to stop off to try one of the walks in Langholm. Some work has obviously gone into the walking network from this border town, with a series of routes set up and described on this website from the Langholm Walks Project. The site looks like it hasn’t been updated for about 10 years and the maps are not very good – but it still provides an idea of the routes available in the town and surrounding areas.

Langholm is officially in Dumfries and Galloway with the River Esk running west into the Solway Firth. It is, however, just a few miles away from both the English border and the Scottish Borders and local events reflect this mix – their common riding week also includes Westmorland wrestling and Scottish dancing.

If you regularly travel along the A7 you may well have felt attracted to the very picturesque and free car park next to Ewes Water, just before it joins the Esk. This is where we started our walk. There are toilets and an information office staffed by volunteers, here you can buy leaflets of the town’s walks as well as find out some local history. Thomas Telford started his illustrious career in Langholm as an apprentice stonemason and poet Hugh McDiarmid was born here. The town was the stronghold of the Armstrong Clan and the first Freeman of the town was Neil Armstrong, who accepted the invitation to visit after an appearance in Edinburgh.

Walks in Langholm

We intended to do walk 3 from the list of walks and the volunteer in the information hut told us we wouldn’t need a map and told us where to start, setting off up the Duchess drive next to the racecourse. Two other walks (2 and 4) were signposted up here, but no sign for walk 3. It didn’t matter, it was a glorious day with the birds singing and the earliest of the bluebells just peaking through. We kept on following the signs for 2 and 4 and eventually came to one signposting 3 – unfortunately this one must have been misplaced; as we continued uphill it became clear that we had missed the turn down to the river and over the bridge just outside the town.

We decided therefore to keep going, enjoying hearing the blackcaps and willow warblers in the scrub. There had been a lot of felling in the woodland following damage by Storm Arwen back in 2021, but it possibly improved the walk as we were able to enjoy views down to the River Esk and across to the local hills. Eventually the track started descending and we kept on following the signs for walk 2 – the route for walk 4 eventually went its separate way back over the hills. A loop around a few houses took us down and over a bridge over the Esk, where we had the obligatory stop to look at the water. Nice to see and hear the common sandpipers. Somewhat disappointingly the route took us on the quiet road rather than beside the river, which was within sight all the time. It was so warm we even took a layer of clothes off. Swallows were chattering on wires around a farm and the cows and calves enjoyed the spring sunshine.

Woodland Walk

As we approached Langholm the route left the the road to drop down through a very pleasant woodland walk, high above the river. It looked as if this path had had some considerable renovation since the aforesaid storm, but it is now easily passable. Some beautiful patches of wood anemones caught the eye as the path led us down to Duchess Bridge, supposedly the first cast iron bridge to be built in Scotland. Our intended walk 3 would have brought us over the river at this point, so the two routes merged on the west side of the river, bringing us in to Langholm by the school, which we skirted around to arrive back close to the market place.

Tea and scones beckoned us at Pelosi’s Corner Café and the bill was a very pleasant surprise.

If you are looking for a walking break that is a bit off the beaten track, you could do worse than look at what Langholm and the surrounding areas have to offer.

View over the River Esk at Langholm
View over the River Esk
Duchess Bridge on the walks in Langholm
Duchess Bridge over the River Esk, Langholm
Wood anemones
Wood anemones
Car park next to Ewes Water in Langholm
View from the bridge towards the car park

Distance: 9 km

Terrain: Roads and tracks

Difficulty: Easy

Date Walked: 28th April





  • Blackcap
  • Willow Warbler
  • Common Sandpipers
  • Swallows
  • Bluebells
  • Wood anemones