Vogrie Country Park is 105 hectares of beautifully landscaped grounds with lovely vistas, ancient woods and walks along the banks of the River Tyne and Vogrie Burn.
There are about 11 miles of signed paths to suit all ages and interests, from easy short flat paths, up to a 13 mile loop of Midlothian countryside.
The grounds were purchased by James Dewar in 1719 and his descendant Lt Col Alexander Cumming Dewar commissioned Andrew Heiton to build the Victorian baronial style Vogrie House in 1876.
In 1891 there were 10 gardeners and stable staff looking after the Victorian parkland estate, grounds and horses. Later, the house had several uses and in the 1950s was taken over by the local government and in 1982 was designated as Scotland’s second country park. It is now managed by Midlothian Council.
In the autumn and early winter there is much to interest the naturalist.
Lots of trees provide splendid autumn colour and the pure white trunks of birches and the grey bark of ancient beeches are lovely in the winter sunshine.
There are lots of large old holly and yew trees, which are laden with red berries, providing a food bonanza for noisy, squabbling mistle thrushes, redwings and blackbirds.
Many of the trees are old with dead and decaying branches, here a home is provided for many insects which in turn are searched for by nuthatches, woodpeckers and several species of tit.
As well as the River Tyne and Vogrie Burn there are small ponds which are home to moorhens.
In the spring look out for frogs and toads and in the summer this is an ideal spot to study damselflies and dragonflies.
In the spring there are fine displays of primroses and wood anemones and there is a colony of that locally great rarity, herb paris.
Autumn is the best time to look for fungi and Vogrie is an excellent place for a foray with its wide variety of ancient deciduous and coniferous trees. Many trees have dead boughs and in the woods fallen trees are left to rot and decay, ideal for a range of fungi.
The Edinburgh Natural History Society occasionally hold field meetings at Vogrie and their most recent meeting was a workshop to study and identify fungi and mosses.
The park is situated on the B6372 between Gorebridge and Pathhead and is open 365 days a year from dawn until dusk.
There is a SWT meeting tonight, Thursday, December 4, in Duns Parish Church Hall at 7.30pm when Robert Coleman from the RSPB will talk about the RSPB Central Scotland Reserves.