The Out About Scotland complete guide to Berwick Law
What’s this attraction all about?
Standing 187m above sea level, Berwick Law dominates the landscape around the popular seaside town of North Berwick. Finding the ancient landmark is an easy task as all you have to do is head towards North Berwick, and as soon as the town is in view you can’t fail to notice the gigantic mound that stands proud in this otherwise relatively flat part of East Lothian. Access to the Law is easy thanks to North Berwick council who have conveniently provided a car park at the foot of the hill, and a gently sloping path leads upwards and winds all the way to the summit.
It’s a nice walk to the top and the views from the summit are lovely, especially on a bright summer day with the sun glinting off the Firth of Forth below. It’s also a really good place to take the dog for a walk so if you’ve got a four-legged friend you could do a lot worse than take them for a wander to the top of Berwick Law.Read more...
The history of the attraction
The law is actually a volcanic plug that erupted from the landscape over 300 million years ago, and after millennia of erosion the tough rock that we now see is all that remains to remind us that East Lothian was once an area of intense geological activity.
Berwick Law has a long history as a naval lookout post, with records indicating that it had been used for such a purpose as far back as 1544 when fires would be lit to raise the alarm if French ships tried to enter the Firth of Forth. At the summit of Berwick Law you’ll find the remains of a stone building that was built around 1800 as a watch-house during the Napoleonic wars, while a much later World War II lookout post can be seen near the top, forever scanning the horizon of the Forth for German ships.
You’ll also likely be surprised by the white object sitting right at the very top of the Law which looks a bit out of place until you work out what it is. This is actually a replica of the whale bones that were first placed there in 1709 when Scotland had an active whaling industry, although the current ones are of a much more modern (and ecologically friendly) fibreglass construction.
What can you do there?
From the top of Berwick Law you can take in some very nice views of the East Lothian countryside, with the town of North Berwick stretching out in front of you and rolling fields heading out in all other directions. Northwards, the shimmering waves of the Firth of Forth can be seen with the gannet-covered Bass Rock clearly visible just a short distance away.
If you make the walk to the summit you should be aware that in wet weather the grassy trail can become slippery with mud, and when the North Sea winds blow it can make the ascent a little uncomfortable. But on a clear sunny day, the route to the top is nothing short of spectacular.
What I liked about this attraction
- The views from the top of Berwick Law are beautiful
- It’s a great walk to the top
- You can easily combine a walk up the law with a visit to North Berwick
What I didn’t like about this attraction
- I haven’t got any negative comments about this attraction
Grid ref: NT 556 842
- Telephone: 01620827459 (Countryside officer)
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Countryside officer)
- Website: East Lothian.gov
Prices and opening times
Berwick Law is free to visit and open year-round