Target Burn and Whita Hill

This walk turns uphill and passes a memorial to Hugh MacDiarmid, the poet. On the way to the Malcolm Monument on top of Whita Hill is Langholm's most prominent landmark and a superb viewpoint.

Terrain inlcudes roads, tracks and open hill. Some parts can be muddy so boots are advised. Leave the Kilngreen car park at the north end and and immediately turn left over the Saw Mill Bridge (over the Ewes Water).

Approx. 50m after the bridge, bear right and follow the tarmac track up a steep hill to a bungalow at a track junction beyond the end of the tarmac. At the bungalow turn right and continue to walk along the lane, with fields on each side.

Continue on the lane through the gate, to the end of the wall on the right. Turn right, downhill for 30m, then through the kissing gate into the field. Walk downhill along the edge of the field, with the steep banking on your left. At the end of the field a track leads downwards to the left to a gate on the edge of the A7.

Very carefully cross the High Mill Bridge over the Ewes Water (A7 S.) and at the far side of the bridge turn left along a track running N. on the E. side of the Ewes Water. In about 500 metres the track bends right and soon ends.

Go down to the left and cross the burn by the stones to take the clear path slanting back up the bank on the opposite side. The little glen is named on OS maps as Far Whitshiels Cleuch but is known locally as Target Burn, deriving from the siting of a rifle range here for firing practice at the time of the two World Wars. At the top of the bank, turn right and cross the stone dyke by a stile. Continue following the dyke and forest edge uphill, over rough, pathless ground which is often wet. At the end of the wood, pick up a quad bike track and follow it across the burn. When the track dives off right through a gateway, stay on the left side of the dyke and follow it uphill to the road, again on rough, pathless ground which can be slow going.

On reaching the road, turn left for a shortdistance to the memorial celebrating the life of the poet Hugh MacDiarmid. He was born in Langholm in 1892 and died in 1978, and the memorial, which takes the form of an open book inscribed with symbols linked to MacDiarmid’s verse, was unveiled by his widow Valda in 1985. The cairn gives more detail about his life.

From the memorial, follow the broad track uphill to Langholm’s most famous landmark, the Malcolm Monument on the summit of Whita Hill. It was erected in 1835. The monument is to Major General Sir John Malcolm and is effusive about his character: ‘no man was more liberal in appreciating and bringing forward merit in others, whilst in the intercourse of private life he was the ornament and delight of every society…his memory is cherished in the hearts of grateful millions’. Whatever Sir John’s virtues, his Monument commands a wonderful panoramic view. When you are ready to leave the monument, head directly downhill towards Langholm on a clear path that provides a rapid descent route.

A short diversion leftwards under the power lines will lead you to the Whita Well with its metal drinking cup. Continue on the path and cross a stile into the unsurfaced lane known as the Whita Road, with the golf course on the left. At Arkinholm Terrace, continue steeply downhill on a tarmac path to reach the centre of town, and turn right along the main street to return to the car park.

Note: There are likely to be cattle and sheep on the open hill section, with calves/lambs in the spring period. Please do not take dogs on this walk between March and May. At other times, dogs must be kept on a lead.

Please remember!  

Leave gates as you find them – Keep dogs under close control at all times – Keep to paths across farmland – Take care on country roads

Use gates and stiles to cross fences, hedges, and walls – Respect farm livestock, crops, and machinery – Take your litter home with you.

Protect wildlife, plants and trees – Guard against the risk of fire – Make no unnecessary noise.

Walkers Are Welcome

There is a guide to our walks in the format of a plastic folder containing details of our 14 way marked walks.

Each walk has an A4 OS map with details of the walk on the other side.

The pack can be obtained by post from The Langholm Walks Group, Ardlui, 63 Henry Street, Langholm, DG13 0ES. The cost is £5 plus £2.30 for postage and packing for the set of walks. Langholm Walks Group can be contacted by tel; 013873 80715 or by email at