East Lothian Council

Byre's Hill and Hopetoun Monument

Information and what to look for

hopetoun monumentGetting there

By Car

From Haddington, take the A6137 towards Aberlady. After approximately 2km, turn right onto the B1343 towards Athelstaneford. The entrance to the car park is about 100m on the right, at a sharp bend.

By Bus

Eve coaches operate  bus service number 128 between Haddington and Aberlady/Musselburgh. A copy of bus routes and timetable is available at Eve Coaches


No facilities on site. The area is managed by the Countryside Ranger Service.

Natural History

Stone spiral staircaseByres Hill sits 2km to the north of Haddington. Its most obvious feature is the Hopetoun Monument, which dominates the skyline for miles around. A path runs from a small car park at the base of the hill, winding up steeply through wooded slopes, and a corridor of gorse, before coming out onto the open hilltop. The views can be superb: The Firth of Forth and Fife; Edinburgh and the Pentland Hills to the west; and The Lammermuir Hills to the South. On a clear day, it is even possible to glimpse the Cairngorms far away to the North.

Visitors are welcome to then climb the 132 steps up the Hopetoun Monument for an even more dramatic view. Be aware, however, that this climb is not for the faint-hearted and you will need a torch.

There has been woodland covering the slopes of Byre's Hill for many years. Amongst the trees, plants such as enchanter's nightshade, dog's mercury, wood sage and lesser celandine are all found. The woodland holds a good mixture of tree species. The largest of these are the old beech trees, but there are also specimens of oak, birch, ash, holly, hawthorn, elder, Scots pine and sycamore. There is also a sweet chestnut to the left of the path near the summit, with its characteristic spiral-shaped trunk.

The wood attracts a variety of animal life. Great-spotted woodpeckers have bred here and green woodpeckers are occasionally seen. Look out also for buzzards soaring along the edge of the hills. If you are really lucky you can stand on the hilltop and look down on one as it passes slowly beneath you. And the really observant may spot a dinosaur! Not a real one, but a large brontosaurus painted on a barn door of a nearby farm!

Block C, Brewery Park, Haddington, EH41 3HA

Telephone: 01620 827279

Fax: 01620 827456

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