In 2002, Alchemy began a partnership with Scottish Borders Council’s Learning Disabilities Service, collaborating with a group of adults with additional support needs on Within These Walls (2022), a short film about their everyday lives in Hawick during lockdown. During this project, the group renamed themselves to New Film Group (NFG). 

Last year, Alchemy began to collaborate with NFG on a new project exploring the mental health benefits of being outside, and to develop a new walking route in partnership with Town of 1000 Trails, a user interactive online platform and app for walking, cycling, running and horse-riding routes in Hawick and the surrounding area. 

The new route was shaped by the needs and priorities of NFG members, including: road crossings with dropped kerbs; no steep hills; relatively quiet and free of traffic; places to rest (‘and watch the world go by’); an accessible bathroom; somewhere to get a drink; somewhere to be beside the river; somewhere with nature – wildflowers, trees, animals – though, as one participant put it, ‘nowhere near sheep as I am scared of them.’ 

The route is circular and designed to be as inclusive as possible. It proceeds from Heart of Hawick’s café to our town’s very beautiful Wilton Lodge Park and back again – with a shorter and longer option to choose from. We encourage you to follow this route during your festival visit – be it a lunchtime break or, even better, a morning stroll before the day’s film programme has commenced. 

Participants agree you should leave yourself an hour to enjoy the shorter option and 90 minutes for the longer one. A full walk-though, with directions and a map, can be found on this webpage.


Allow 1 hour minimum for the short route and 1½ hours for the longer route. Either way, best to take your time and enjoy yourself!

Meet at the Heart of Hawick café bar. Exit via the side door onto Civic Space. 

Turn right to face the wee pub (The Exchange Bar) and the white church on the hill (St. Mary’s Old Parish Church) and move in that direction. 

Just before you get to the pub, turn right down the little road called Silver Street. 

Head past the Damascus Drum café and keep going until you get to the main road. 

Don’t cross the main road, but turn left and make your way down the hill, past the printer’s shop, cross Howegate, past the sandwich shop, past the roundabout and follow the pavement railings onto Buccleuch Road. 

Head along Buccleuch Road past a few shops and the Peter Scott Knitwear building until you reach some traffic lights and a pelican crossing. Cross the road here when it is safe to do so and then continue in the same direction. 

Keep going past the high school until you get to some sports pitches. You will pass a bowling club and Borders College building on the opposite side of the road to you. 

You will arrive at a small car park with signs on either side that read ‘Volunteer Park’ and ‘Wilton Lodge Park’. Turn right here and go all the way to the end. Watch out for cars! You can cross at the entrance and stay on the pavement between the car park and the astroturf sports pitch. 

Now you should see the River Teviot and Hawick Museum on the other side. If you follow the path towards the river there is a long ramp that leads to a footbridge (McLaren Bridge), go up there and cross the river Teviot.

You will arrive at a wooden building. This is the Pavilion Café so you can pause here for a drink and there are public toilets here if you need them.

There is a ramp down from the bridge and café area. Once you are back onto the tarmac turn to face the play-park. 

Here you have a choice: the longer way is towards the more open area on the left hand side of the park. The shorter way is right, towards the bushes and the museum. 

Both routes join up so if some people would like to go each way then you can.


Turn right towards the nearest bushes and trees. Follow the path around the play park. You will come to a statue. Who is it?  What are they known for? 

Past the statue is a small bridge across a stream. Cross this bridge and walk towards the fountain ahead of you. 

You can explore this area if you like. There is a war memorial, various sculptures, and Hawick Museum to look at and visit. There are also various benches. You can wait in front of the Museum for anyone that has gone on the long route.


Walk towards the open spaces. Depending on the time of year, you may pass a small trailer selling coffee and serving as the office for the new putting green – feel free to have a go if you have time. 

Follow the path nearest the river. You will have lots of big trees on your left and the open space on the right. When you reach another bridge over the river (Langlands Bridge), turn right. You will see a water fountain and beyond that is the Elliot Bandstand. (At this point you can keep going straight and explore the park further if you like.) 

Head towards the bandstand. There are benches here if you would like a wee sit down. This is the halfway point. Once you are fully rested continue away from the river past a small shelter. You could rest here if it is raining. 

Pass the small shelter and keep going around the open field in the middle. You should now be heading back towards the play-park and the museum. Follow the path past the putting green and then past the tall hedge around the back of the play-park. 

You should pass a statue on your way here. Who is this? What are they known for?

After you cross a bridge over a small stream you will pass the war memorial and arrive at the front of Hawick Museum. If your group has split, you can meet up in front of the museum.


Continue along the path under the big trees. You will pass a small wooden shelter. This is called the Henderson Shelter.

The paths all join together at this point, and you pass a turning to another bridge (the Laurie Bridge). Don’t cross the river; instead, keep walking up the slight hill. After walking along the avenue for a short while, you will arrive at the gates to the park, next to a small gatehouse. 

Exit the park and walk along the road for a short distance. On your right, there is a path that heads away from the road down towards a grassy area. Follow the path towards this grassy area. If you get to the massive carpark you have gone too far but don’t worry – you can just follow the edge of the carpark and arrive at the same place. 

You will come to Lawson footbridge. This can also be accessed from the carpark. Cross the Teviot River here.

You will arrive onto St. George’s Lane. Continue away from the river.

Once you get to the main road (Buccleuch Road) you will see the traffic lights and crossing that you used before on your right. Head back to it and cross the road when it is safe to do so. 

Retrace your route back past the Peter Scott Building and the various shops. Pass the railings and the roundabout and cross Howegate. 

Turn slightly right up the small lane, Silver Street, and head towards the pub at the end. When you reach the end, turn left, away from the church. 

Arrive back at the Heart of Hawick café and the route is finished!