Branxton – Coldstream 19/08/17 ‘A’ Peter Gilliland ‘B’ Kathleen Gilliland
49 members set out on a cold and overcast day with rain showers and winds forecast. The coffee stop was at Heighley Gate Garden Centre. At Branxton, 18 members alighted for the ‘A’ walk which included following the Flodden trail and onwards to Coldstream. The coach travelled to the far end of Coldstream to the Hirsel, the home of the Douglas Home family. After lunch 27 members set out on the ‘B’ walk while 4 members did ‘their own thing’. The walk followed grassy tracks and a quick trek over the golf course to reach a tree lined path. There were a few ups and downs with mud in places due to heavy rain the day before. Glimpses of the huge family home could be spied through the trees. We left this track and followed an uphill climb into woodland. The track became very clarty and water logged in places but we took our time and managed to negotiate the mud. It was lovely and calm and peaceful as we trekked through the wood. Instead of flowers, there was plenty of fungi to spot especially fairy rings around some of the trees. There was also a number of broken white egg shells lying on the ground. We descended to reach an old pack horse bridge across the Leet Water and entered a grassy field. As we climbed through the field we encountered a herd of highland cattle, all youngsters and lying down under the canopy of a large tree. However, they some jumped to their feet when our party passed by and watched us intently. We followed a level track and stopped for a fruit stop but the cows had decided to follow us and kept inching further along the track so we decided to move on. The final stretch of the walk was around the lake in front of the main buildings. There was a lovely tea room, information room with great photographs, a few gift shops and a museum of artefacts from estate life in the past. The coach then travelled to Coldstream to pick up the ‘A’ party and we had an evening stop in Morpeth.
Flowers: broadleaved willowherb, convolvulus, enchanters nightshade, greater knapweed, harebell, honeysuckle, oxeye daisy, ragwort, silverweed, tufted vetch, white campion, wild aster, yellow vetchling.
Other: brambles, mallard ducks, mute swans, owl, parasol fungi.