From the very start, this walk has lots of interest for nature lovers – but also for younger families who may need other encouragement!
Starting in the Beatrix Potter Garden , learn about the author’s passion for the natural world while the kids hunt out some of her most famous characters.
Head out of the garden on the side away from the Birnam Arts and begin following the burn up the glen. As you go under the road bridge, notice how pools and runs have been created in the stream to allow salmon and sea trout better access to spawn. If you’re really lucky in the Autumn, you may just be able to catch a glimpse of one.
Carry on following the footpath under the railway bridge and then straight on up what looks like a private drive at the top (but isn’t – it’s the path). At the fork in the path, you’re going to go straight on – leave Birnam Hill for another great day out!
Hopefully you’ve been quietish as you walk up, because here is where you have a great chance of seeing a red squirrel. Sometimes the first you’ll know is when you hear their little angry “chuck chuck” grumblings at being disturbed. If you’re lucky, you’ll see them scampering up out of harm’s way, maybe stopping to check you out as they do. Look in the trees and you may see one of their homes – a drey.
Carrying on, on a sunny day in the summer it feels like you’re entering a tunnel into a secret forest – at least you can tell the kids that!
Now you’re right beside the burn with a great chance of seeing a dipper, bobbing up and down on a stone in the middle of the stream or even wading in the water.
Around here is also the place to look for the Birnam Gnome – he lives in a tree that’s hollow at the bottom.
This is also a lovely spot in May for Bluebells and all sorts of other wildflowers and plants.
Moving on, you come to the little dam that used to be Birnam’s water supply. During the summer you’ll see little trout rising in the pool, while there’s often a heron to be found here, especially early in the morning.
Now looking up to your right, you’ll see a patch of woodland that has been cleared. This is a good chance to see a deer – perhaps a roe. Sometimes you’ll hear the roe’s bark -a very strange noise indeed, and quite frightening if you don’t know what it is!
Carry on up the glen, looking to your right for a stand of lovely Scots Pines standing over the glen, as you come towards another split in the path. If you carry on to Balhomish (going left) you’ll soon find yourself in the upland environment of the curlew, but we’re going right to the little wooden bridge that takes you across the burn and into the Ladywell plantation.
From here, you can go back the way you came, or carry on a loop that will require you to cross the burn to rejoin the path above Birnam – wellies may be useful, but crossing is easy as long as the burn isn’t too high. You get some nice views going this way and there is a beautiful bluebell wood in May.
Once back in Birnam, you’ll find refreshments and the local shop supplies ice creams for those who need one!