Rosewell, Midlothian, not to be confused with Roswell, New Mexico. The latter perhaps best known for the July 1947 Roswell Incident, involving a claimed wrecked US Army Air force weather balloon, an alleged flying saucer complete with alien crew, a conspiracy theory and a cover up by the US government. The former, an ex-mining village that grew up around Whitehill Colliery from 1856 onwards. Nothing very exciting there, and I’m not going to mention any of the strange goings on I’ve encountered at night in the surrounding countryside. Official Secrets Act and all that!
Our turf tour of Roswell, oops, Rosewell, is best undertaken during the day, for reasons I cannot expand on other than to say the similarities between the two names are not mere coincidence. Some say that more than building sand is being excavated at the sand quarry to the east of the village. Let’s just leave it at that, shall we. There are 14 turf zones in Rosewell, around half of them in the village itself with the remainder in the countryside in and around Whitehill House.
I tend to start my turf tour of Roswell, damn, done it again, Rosewell, at the Penicuik to Dalkeith cycleway, mainly because that’s the direction I’d come when cycling or kick scooting from my home in Bonnyrigg. There is also parking here if you should arrive by infernal combustion vehicle. Our entry ticket to the turf tour of Rosewell begins at zone ExitRosewell, just to confuse things a little and keep you on your toes. It’s located a few meters east along the cycle way.
The next zone is HolyStMatthew, located in the village itself. You can reach the zone by following the street – which I’ve been unable to find a name for – towards the village, then hang right. However, if you hang right into Fairlie Grove, you can miss out a section of the main road. Always quieter and the surface is smoother. The church is a few meters along the pavement.
Now we head into the countryside and our first stop is zone EnterWhitehill. The zone is at the entrance gates to the estate and I’ve sometimes found it tricky to get a good GPS fix here, but generally it’s to the left of the road and you may have to venture a little into the woods for a decent signal. This has probably nothing to do with the suggestion of unusual activities in the nearby sand quarry at night. If visiting at night, you may see lights in the vicinity of the quarry, which I reckon is most definitely odd. Next on the list, zone WhitehillGolf. Continue along the road into the estate, the golf club house is on the left and the zone is usually easy to take. Again, once or twice, I’ve have had the same issues here with the GPS signal, as previously mentioned.
Continuing along the road into the estate, our next stop is near Whitehill House. The zone, ExitWhitehill, has moved recently and is now in a small dark spooky graveyard, well, it is at night. Go past the house, through the gate and right along the path. The gate to the graveyard is on the right. The house was once run as St. Joseph’s Hospital for children with learning disabilities by nuns of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul and many of the graves are associated with the hospital. Local folklore has ghostly nuns and the sounds of crying children at the site. Probably just the locals having fun, but you never know. The place does have a very sad atmosphere to it.
Our next zone is NoHorseFires. Not quite sure about this name, yes its located outside livery stables but cannot work out how “Fires” are involved. Could be a spelling mistake, perhaps NoHorseFlies? Anyway, it’s reached along a rough gravel road so if you’re riding a road bike with 20 mm wide tyres, you’re out of luck and can either walk or enjoy a teeth-chattering butt-battering ascent. Note horse riders can be encountered just about anywhere in this area.
The next two zones are located along the Shiel Burn, back towards Rosewell. So, first an easy downhill on tarmac to ShielBurnOne, located beside the concrete blocks. For historical interest, a gas works once stood where you see the buildings across the burn. The best route for ShielBurnTwo, is to take the dirt path a few meters back the way you have just been, off to the left. It’s a fairly good surface and takes you through “The Glen” and joins a wider dirt road with an ever-increasing number of pot holes. The zone is at the bridge.
The next zone, RosePark, is a favoured picnic spot for our Sunday walk, the benches make for a very pleasant spot to stop for lunch. We often walk up from Bonnyrigg along the cycle path, then do a loop round the zones on the Whitehill estate. If approaching the zone from ShielBurnTwo, to miss the steps and save some time, ride across the grass on the right. Same when leaving for the gate, keep to the right.
Zone LouisaGorton is straight on through the park gate and across the road. There’s a handy shop on the corner here is you’re in need of supplies. The zone is located through an almost hidden alley leading to the rear of some houses. There’s a few steps and beware of the dog, it’s perfected the knack of the surprise bark. Caught me unawares once.
The next two zones, RosewellPath and AbdenCircus, are on the new housing estate built on the site of Whitehill Colliery and are easy to reach and take. Then you have an easy ride along a nice tarmac path to EnterRosewell, across the other side of the roundabout. The final zone is HalfwayPath, back on the cycle path leading down to Bonnyrigg.
And there we are ladies and gentlemen. I hope you’ve enjoyed your turf tour of Rosewell, haven’t had any close encounters with visitors from distant realms and hope you will join me again for another turf tour. Donations in the hat please.
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