Walks for all the family at Vogrie Country Park

Having never been to Vogrie Country Park, I took the opportunity of joining some friends for a school holiday visit one weekend. On a fine afternoon the park was full of families playing ball games, fishing for algae in the pond or being boisterous in the adventure playground. I was happy to leave them to it for a while and explore some of the 11.5 miles of trails within the park.

The trails wind through the landscaped gardens around Vogrie House, built in 1876 and opened as a park by the council in 1982. There are some fabulous specimen trees, a rhododendron walk, a walled garden and even giant sculptures to clamber over. But it can also be surprisingly peaceful wandering through the woodlands and grasslands along the banks of the River Tyne where you can enjoy great views across the Midlothian countryside, far from the madding crowds.
Over the summer holidays, many Country Parks hold ranger-led events for the family, such as wildlife watching and craft-making, while older children can be let loose to explore the trails by themselves and have adventures. Young people thrive on being allowed to range freely and other family members may enjoy the miniature railway or the golf course. There’s also a café at Vogrie, which is always a good way to end a walk!

sculpture at Vogrie

Vogrie is accessed from the B6372 between Pathhead and Gorebridge, and trails run right from the car park around the boundaries of the park and through the centre. The park is open all year round from 7.30am till dusk.

It’s well known that Scotland’s population is not terribly active – with just two-thirds of adults managing the minimum levels of exercise, equivalent to 5 sessions of 30 minutes per week. And yet the health messages are getting through and a lot of people are recognising that they need to be more active, and also that their children need to be dragged away from their screens to have a daily runabout.

If you’re not used to walking, the great outdoors can be a bit daunting. Fortunately the Lothians can offer a great range of public spaces, and on the edge of our urban areas the Country Parks are a great place to visit. These Country Parks cover large areas of the countryside and all feature signed trails of varying lengths in safe surroundings – you’re not going to get lost or walk out of your comfort zone, and the surfaces are good. They are a useful halfway house between a city park and the ‘real’ countryside.

Within West Lothian there are Beecraigs, Almondell and Polkemmet, and in Midlothian you can choose from Vogrie, Dalkeith and Roslin Glen Country Parks. Sadly, public transport is not always easily found to get directly to all these parks, though they are not too far away from the bus if you are determined.

You can find more information about organised local walks here

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