A NEW walking route is due to open in the foothills of the Lammermuir Hills.

Papple Steading has worked with East Lothian Council to open the route.

Run by the Mackintosh family, Papple Steading is a heritage, community and business development based in the listed farm buildings that were once part of the Whittingehame Estate.

It has acquired woods where it plans to provide a path to connect various sites of interest in the Papple, Garvald, Stoneypath and Morham area.

The wood that will be made available, called Papana Wood, sits in a ravine known as Papana Glen by Papana Water.

The walk will start at the steading, where there is parking and cycle racks available, and goes on to Stoneypath. It then carries on to Garvald and Gifford.

East Lothian Council and the Mackintosh family hope to enlist the help of voluntary groups to establish a proper path through the ancient woodland, which has been left completely undisturbed for decades.

Nick Morgan, the access officer for the council, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for the area’s residents and visitors to interconnect a number of interesting and beautiful sights.

“The Papana walk will encourage people to find routes to explore Gifford, Garvald, Stoneypath and the listed buildings at Papple Steading; and then to climb Traprain, visit Hailes Castle and enjoy the attractions of East Linton.”

George Mackintosh of Papple Steading said: “We have all been through an emotionally moving and, for many, a sadly distressing experience with this pandemic.

“For many, the countryside was a comfort and therapy.

“Many will want to continue their new recreation habits and many more will want to find peace and good health in walking around this lovely area in the foothills of the Lammermuir Hills.

“My family are delighted to help make another small part of this countryside welcome to all visitors.”

Papple has also already begun to restore the 19th-century model farm that was once part of Whittingehame Estate.