East Lothian Council

Countryside Sites

John Muir Country Park

Long sandy beach

Information

The Park is named after John Muir, the explorer, naturalist and conservationist who was born in Dunbar in 1838. He lived here until the age of 11, when the Muir family immigrated to the United States, where they settled in Wisconsin.

As an adult, his pioneering conservation work and naturalist publications led to him being dubbed America's founder of National Parks.

John Muir Country Park covers some of the most spectacular East Lothian coastline and is a haven for wildlife and people too. From the Castle Ruins in Dunbar, to the Peffer Burn six kilometres to the north, the Park includes the Cliff Top Trail, with fine views of the sea and the historic Bass Rock; the long sandy sweep of Belhaven Bay; the River Tyne estuary; and extensive areas of grassland, salt-marsh and woodland.

How to Get There

By bicycle / car
Follow the A1. At the Thistly Cross Roundabout, take the turning towards Dunbar/East Linton/North Berwick. Arriving soon after at a second roundabout, turn right (along the A1087, signposted Dunbar). After one kilometre, turn left and follow the signs into Linkfield car park which is clearly signposted.

Parking Charges 

Parking charges may apply to coastal car park.

By train
ScotRail services operate to Dunbar from both Edinburgh and from the south. Virgin trains also run services between the capital and Dunbar. From Dunbar station it is a 15 minute walk to the E end of John Muir Country Park - i.e. Dunbar harbour.

By Bus
East Coast Buses operate service 107 between Edinburgh and Dunbar, ask the driver to drop you off near to John Muir Country Park. 

Facilities

  • A full-time Countryside Ranger co-ordinates the day-to-day management of this site
  • WCs with cold showers are located at Linkfield car park. Additional WCs are at Shore Road
  • two barbecue stoves are available at Linkfield car park. Groups of 20 or more people should book in advance by calling 01368 866001.
  • Large children's play area located at Linkfield car park

Natural History

Plants
To date, around 400 species of plant have been found. Among the most common are thrift and sea aster on the saltmarsh; sea rocket and biting stonecrop on the upper beach; marram grass and birds-foot trefoil on the dunes; with meadow cranesbill and viper's bugloss along the grassy edge to the woodland.

Insects
The meadow brown and common blue butterflies are often seen in July and August, feeding on plants in the shorter grassland. Two of the commonest moths that can be seen are the day flying cinnabar and six-spot burnet moths. In late summer, the yellow and black caterpillars of the cinnabar moth can be seen feeding on ragwort.

Birds
Some breed in the park, such as kittiwake on the castle ruins and eider duck and shelduck in the dunes, others are seasonal visitors. Birds that can be seen in the summer include skylark, meadow pipit and lapwing in the dunes and saltmarsh; ringed plover on the rocky and sandy shores; with gannet and terns offshore. Sand martins swoop above the sand and saltmarsh, and flocks of crossbill can sometimes be glimpsed moving through the plantation at Hedderwick. Winter visitors include wigeon, bar-tailed godwit and whooper swan.

John Muir House Haddington EH41 3HA

Telephone: 01620827459

East Lothian Council, John Muir House Brewery Park Haddington East Lothian EH41 3HA.