Best Walks in Scotland: Rosslyn Chapel and Roslin Glen

THIS column is dedicated to groups of walkers and hikers from all over Scotland, where they can suggest the best routes to explore. Over the next few weeks, the editors of Herald Magazine will also be featuring their favorite walks.


The start and end of this walk is at the extraordinary Rosslyn Chapel, whose mysteries and architecture made it a place of pilgrimage long before its key role in Dan Brown’s thriller The Da Vinci Code, which begins to attract tourists. It is a walk which, moving through ruins and preserved history, through stones overgrown with greenery, weaves an animist spell.

Road: From the car park, start the walk towards the reception center of the chapel. Before you get there, take the first right into the lane, where you will pass the chapel cemeteries. Where the path forks, ignore the path on the left. Follow the signs for the Roslin Glen Powder Mill. Continue to follow this route, which becomes a stepped path, until you come to a road.

At this point, stay to the left and go down the long flight of stairs. From there, the path will stabilize. After passing the sewage treatment plant, turn right and you will come to another road. Turn right and follow it for about 200 yards, until you reach the powder mill gate posts for Roslin Glen. Go through them.

Follow the path to the remains of the powder mills. Then, after passing them, go up the steps and cross the river bridge, before climbing even higher, following the signs for the Penicuik and Dalkeith walkway. When you meet the line of the old railway line, head to the left, before going under a bridge and past the old Rosslyn Castle station. Continue walking along the old platform passing under another bridge, then turn left to come out on the road. Follow the road until it meets the B7003, cross it and turn left.

After passing the Roslin Glen parking lot entrance, turn right onto a path that follows the North Esk River. Keep left at a crossroads and you will reach a footbridge over the river and signs for Rosslyn Castle. Go around the left side of the castle and take the path that goes up. You can see this 16th century building, which was restored in the 1980s and is currently slated for further renovations and repairs, from the bridge that reaches the property – but the building is private.

To return to the car park or to the village and to the routes of public transport,

Take the path that passes in front of the cemetery and turn left at the top.

Don’t miss: Visit the 15th-century Chapel (£ 9.50 adult admission) and you’ll see echoes between the way vines climb walls or roots twist in the ground and the lush intricacies of the building’s sculptures.

It’s a good walk any time of year, but especially in winter when the chapel and park are a reminder that the green man is there even in the darker months.

He is everywhere in the chapel, his sculpted face emerging from the architecture, alongside symbols of nature, from ferns to kale and oak leaves. See if you can spot all of his faces – there would be over 100 of them.


Also visit the powder mills which played a key role in Midlothian’s industrial past, making explosives for mines and quarries. At one time the river was polluted by mills, but now it thrives and is home to divers, kingfishers, and a few timid otters.

Useful information: The chapel hosts services, regular events and candlelight tours. See

Start: Rosslyn Chapel parking lot

Distance: 2.75 miles

Duration: 2 hours (there is a lot to explore)

Terrain: mainly wooded and riparian trails, which can be steep, slippery or swampy in places.

Level: Ideal for a family outing with older children. Some stretches can be difficult for the elderly or very young children.

Access: On foot from the visitors’ parking lot of the chapel, or if there is no space, park in the village and get off.

What makes it special: It’s a place that seems to twist history, in which stone and organic forms of plant life seem to merge. Enjoy the view of Rosslyn Chapel, protected by a covered structure (entrance to the chapel and museum is chargeable,), the walk over the bridge to Roslin Castle and a walk along the river itself. same.

READ MORE: Best walks in Scotland: Faskally Wood, Perthshire