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The Lade Braes Walk, St Andrews

The Lade Braes Walk, St Andrews

What is the Lade Braes Walk?

The Lade Braes Walk is a well-known public footpath in St Andrews that is well worth a visit on your next trip to the area. The walk is fairly easy and suits all ages and walking competencies. The walk is about 1.5 miles in length (2.5km) and runs from Lade Braes Lane (Madras College) to Little Carron (Hepburn Gardens), when travelling east to west. Given its length the route can be walked in less than 2 hours start to finish and return.

A scene from the Lade Braes Walk near Kinness Burn

A scene from the Lade Braes Walk near Kinness Burn

The Ancient Mill Lade

The walk follows the route of an ancient mill lade; which has a long history stretching back to the Middle Ages. The first specific evidence of the existence of the Lade stretches back to 1479 although it is suspected it is maybe 300+ years older than this. The water would have been mainly used by the Shore Mill and the Abbey Mill although locals would have undoubtedly used it as a source of water (for drinking and washing).

Origin of the name Lade Braes

The origin of the name Lade Braes can be split into two parts:

  1.  Lade – is an old word for “lead”. In this case it’s an artificially made water canal which leads water to its place of use. This was often in medieval times a mill
  2. Braes – a mainly Scottish word used to describe a hillside or higher ground which is close to a river

Covering and Landscaping of the Lade

During the late 19th century the area stretching from Cockshaugh Park to Law Mill was landscaped, this followed the closure of the two mills in the 1890s. The Lade was covered over and this significant area of space was allocated for recreational use and planted with trees.

A skating pond was in use in winter months in the Kinness Burn stretch of the walk, between about 1906 and the mid-1950s.

The end (or start) of the route at Law Mill

The end (or start) of the route at Law Mill

Discover nature along the walk

The Lade Braes Walk is a haven for nature and lovers of nature all-year round. A beauty of the walk is it will look different according to what time of year you visit. See the red squirrels busily scurrying away. Wild bluebells grow in the spring. View flora and fauna of many kinds along this route which is a haven for local wildlife.

An Excellent St Andrews Activity

If you’re looking for an easy outdoor pursuit that enables you to “take in” some parts of St Andrews that you might otherwise not see then the Lade Braes Walk is an excellent activity.

For those loving gardens the St Andrews Botanical Gardens are in the middle of the route and can act as a detour part way through if this is a preference.

Don’t forget to book with us here at number 12 B&B, if you’re planning a trip to St Andrews to enjoy the walk and a host of other activities.

Image Credits: Maria Keays, Wikipedia and Suzanne McDonald

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