Logan Iron Age Fort to Worm Hill

Strenuous Walk

A walk back in time, describing the lives of the people who have lived in the Logan Valley for centuries. The Iron Age Fort, later dwellings and other archaeological features of interest are explained as you walk through the hills. It is fascinating to stand where Tweedsmuir residents lived centuries ago, and see the mark they made on the landscape.

This walk takes you across rough grassland, open heather hills and includes several steep climbs and descents. There are no clearly defined paths, as the walk takes you along sheep tracks, old drove roads and rough terrain at the furthest end of the walk. Some parts are boggy, and you will walk though areas of heather. The walk up Worm Hill is steep and challenging. There are 4 pedestrian gates on the route.

You can choose to split the walk at the bridge over the Logan Burn, making a much easier route.


Parking: There is plenty of parking at the Logan layby next to the A701 at the start of this walk. Please ensure you don’t block farm access to the gate when you park.

Some sites here in the Logan Valley and Worm Hill are Scheduled Ancient Monuments and it is an offence to disturb them or to remove any objects.

Dogs must be kept on lead at all times, and please pick up all dog waste. Please do not visit during lambing time and be aware of any farm work or shooting parties. There are ticks on the hill, so please dress appropriately.

Please observe the Countryside Code. Leave gates as you find them and do not climb on walls or fences; take only photographs and memories with you.

Begin by entering hill land through the pedestrian gate located at the layby at the Logan Burn.

There are 4 colour marked routes GREEN YELLOW ORANGE PURPLE

The Logan Burn

The Logan Burn is mentioned in a poem by Robert Burns,  it gives a very unflattering description of the wife of Willie Wastle, a weaver, suggesting “Her face wad fyle the Logan Water; ” The site of the weaver’s home, Linkumdoddie, is on the other side of the River Tweed and is signposted on the main road 0.5 km to the south.

If you look to the left (south), you will see some metal remains sticking out of the ground. When Talla Dam was being built, there was a railway goods yard and work/camp area here This allowed materials for the construction of the underground aquifer to be brought to the Logan site, and provided  workers living quarters  and stabling and smithy etc

The Logan Valley contains a wealth of archaeological sites spanning over 3000 years. The earliest features are two burnt mounds and small cairns [8]; they are from the Bronze Age, between 3000 and 4500 years ago. Cairns 9 & 10 are probably the result of clearing stones from fields while Cairn 7 is almost certainly an important burial cairn with a magnificent panoramic view. The burnt mounds are where water was heated with hot stones, probably for cleansing or some kind of ritual sauna.


All routes start in the same direction.

There is a relatively well-defined track that leads you towards a low mound at the end of the drystone dyke. This is a scooped Iron Age settlement from around 2000 years ago, and you can clearly see some of the stone walls associated with it. An excavation in 1961 uncovered the remains of a timber roundhouse.

If you carry on further up the green track, you are walking below the Iron Age Hill Fort.

This is one of the most impressive hill forts in Peeblesshire, and if you continue round on the path to the top side you can easily access the site. Here you can see the house positions and the defensive banks. There were at least 17 houses on this site.

On the top of the hillside to the right (north) of the Fort are the remains of pens used to milk sheep in the 17th/18th Century (you can’t see them from the path). These open-ended pens were called “ buchts” and may have also been used for other activities involving the sheep, such as clipping. Sheep milk was popular for making butter and cheese at this time. 

Looking down towards the Logan Valley (west) you will notice terraces in the enclosure in front of you. These terraces were formed by the ridge and furrow method of growing crops in medieval times.

Around 1900, the Talla Waterworks were built to supply water to Edinburgh. Part of this major engineering project was to drive aqueduct tunnels through the Tweed Hills. These tunnels were all dug by hand. Where each tunnel began, small concrete explosives stores [12] were built. These, along with survey pillars and bridges for water pipes, can still be seen along the hillsides between Tweedsmuir and Broughton. 

GREEN return to car park area


Follow the track downhill towards the Logan Valley and the burn.

At the northern end of the bridge over the Logan Burn you have several choices.

This bridge was built in the early 1900’s as part of the Talla project and contains the pipeline carrying water from Talla and Fruid dams to Edinburgh. The pipe line passes right through the Wormal or Worm Hill.

YELLOW Turn left over the bridge and climb up to the track  on the other side to view the 16th – 18th Century settlement site (see below)

ORANGE  Cross the burn and follow the fence line in front of you  to take a circuit of the valley and its other archaeological sites

PURPLE  (the most strenuous option), make your way to the top of Worm Hill,

For the climb to the top of Worm Hill the path is much less distinct and can be undertaken as a circular walk.  Either by turning sharp right before crossing the burn and just head straight up the hill or cross the burn and follow the fence line until you reach the remains of the Old Drove Road to Biggar (marked by a waymarker). The next waymarker will indicate when you should start your short climb to the top of Worm Hill. Worm Hill is 541m high. Return by the other route.

In Old Scots, Worm (Wyrm) meant a reptilian monster, and Worm Hill may be so named because it resembles a snake-like dragon, coiled round in a circle. There are legends in many places about the name Worm Hill, such as the Lambton Worm in County Durham which was caught in the river and terrorised a village. The worm curled itself around the hill. Could this story have been retold by storytellers about the Worm caught in the Tweed?

Once you reach the summit, you then need to return to the bottom of the hill by which ever route you choose.  Back at the north end of the bridge across the Logan Burn you can choose YELLOW or ORANGE (or return using the GREEN route)


After crossing the burn follow the fence line keeping the fence on your left. You will go between the fence and a small plantation wood to a gate.

 Go through the pedestrian gate, walk past the trees of the plantation on your left, turning left beyond the trees to cross the burn and then around the outside of the field enclosure. All the time keep the fence on your left.  There is no well-defined path here, so expect some areas to be boggy, rough and tussocky and the descent on the south side is steep.

Keep an eye out for the cairns, burnt mounds and buchts as marked on the map.

The route goes passes the outside of yet another small plantation (these are all “shelter belts” planted to break the wind especially in winter for animals living  in the valley) and eventually  leads you to a track and joins the YELLOW. Route.


 Go through another pedestrian gate, which leads into the site of a recent archaeological excavation ( Reports 2004/ 2013, by Biggar Archaeology Group http://biggararchaeology.org.uk/all-of-the-archaeology-reports-from-biggar-archaeology-group/).

This site shows final occupation of the Logan Valley in the late 16th to early 18th Centuries, when sites on each side of the valley were inhabited.  At [5] a small hamlet of huts may still be seen, and at [14] a tower or bastle house was built in the late 16th Century; such buildings were typical of small defensive houses of lairds and some tenant farmers in the Borders. The buildings were occupied throughout the 17th Century and up to the early 18th Century when the valley seems to have been abandoned for habitations nearer the main road.

It is likely that the cotters (cottagers) were removed from the Logan in the mid-1700s, as the landlords wanted to make more money by creating larger, more efficient farms. This is supported by evidence from census records: in 1755 the population of Tweedsmuir Parish was 397. By 1790 it had fallen to 227. The houses of these cotters were often demolished to avoid the tenants returning.

In October 1310, King Edward II camped in Biggar, and it would appear that his soldiers had holes in their pockets, as a number of small coin hoards have been found in Clydesdale (on display in the Biggar Museum). The coins are Long Cross silver pennies, and another small hoard was found here [13]. It is likely a soldier lost his purse travelling the route between Biggar and Tweedsmuir on the track that came through the Logan, which can still be seen today (and forms part of the PURPLE to access Worm Hill)


Return to car park layby by retracing YELLOW   then GREEN routes