13.31 ha (32.89 acres)

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Explorer 344
OS Landranger 66

Beeslack Wood is a rare haven of tranquillity in an urban backdrop. This beautiful ancient woodland is home to a number of the special plants and flowers that rely on this precious habitat, all under a canopy of mainly native broadleaved trees.

It is located on the valley sides of the River North Esk, with the Loan Burn tributary running through the wood. Look out for the tell-tale bobbing action of the dipper as it stands on a rock in the burn or for herons stalking fish. Enjoy the sights and smells of spring thanks to carpets of bluebells and wild garlic, and listen for the drumming of the greater spotted woodpecker in the tree tops.


  • Parking nearby
  • Public access
  • Spring flowers
  • Broadleaved woodland

How to get to Beeslack Wood

Made up of 13.31 hectares, Beeslack Wood is a small wood situated within the town of Penicuik, Mid Lothian off the A701 trunk road. Penicuik is located midway between Edinburgh and Peebles.

When travelling from Peebles join the A703 Edinburgh road. Continue onto the A701 Peebles road towards Penicuik, then at the roundabout take the second exit to continue on the A701 through Penicuik. Turn right at Beeslack High School and continue towards Aaron House Care Home to the tarmacked access track where parking is available.

When travelling from Edinburgh follow the A702 and continue for just under 9 miles. At the roundabout take the second exit onto Mauricewood Road. At the junction turn left onto the A701, then turn right at Beeslack High School.

The nearest train stations are in Edinburgh approximately 9 miles away.

There are regular bus services on the Edinburgh - Penicuik route which stop at the entrance to Beeslack High School. From there follow the Edinburgh Road footway for 200m towards Penicuik to reach the entrance to the wood. A flight of steps takes you from here to the Loan Burn.

Further information about public transport is available from Traveline Scotland at

Facilities and access

There is good access to the wood through 16 entrances and a path network of 3.5km in total.

The paths are mainly unsurfaced with some steep sections and can be muddy during winter. There are several sets of steps throughout the wood, some directly from key entrances to the site. There is also a footbridge which crosses the Loan Burn.

There are links from the wood to other local routes including direct links to the Penicuik – Auchendinny footpath. The wood also has links to the Penicuik – Dalkeith cycle path.

There is no Woodland Trust car parking available on site.

Car parking is available on the tarmacked access track past Beeslack Community High School heading east towards Aaron House Care Home. There are approximately 10 spaces.

The nearest public toilets are located at Bank Street in Penicuik. These toilets have disabled access and are approximately 1 mile from the wood.

Wildlife and habitats


There's a chance you might encounter a number of secretive species on a visit to Beeslack. Stay quiet and you might spot a shy roe deer or hear great spotted woodpeckers drumming in the tree tops. Otters and kingfishers are also present on the River North Esk and are thought to use the Loan Burn, as well as grey wagtails, grey herons and hunting pipistrelle bats. If you are lucky you might see a dipper standing on a rock in the burn - look out for their white bellies and unique bobbing action.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

The mature broadleaved woodland here supports a diverse range of ancient woodland ground flora and provides a feast for the senses. Carpets of bluebells sweeping down steep wooded banks are a visual spectacle in spring, coupled with the pungent aroma of wild garlic. Also look out for bugle, wood sorrel, butterbur, opposite-leaved golden saxifrage, moschatel, sanicle, water avens, woundwort, wood rush and buckler ferns. 

Standing and fallen deadwood supports weird and wonderful fungi and lichens which cling to the bark of trees. Species to look out for include chicken of the woods, hoof fungus and birch polypore.

Look out for:


The variety of habitats found at Beeslack Wood support a diversity of interesting species. Much of the woodland is classified as ancient semi-natural woodland and is managed with its special conditions in mind, including encouraging the natural regeneration of native trees.

The Loan Burn also runs from west to east through the centre of the site, joining the River North Esk to the east. This provides habitat for species such as the dipper, often seen perching on stones along the burn near its mini waterfalls. The damp surrounding soils create rich riparian habitat perfect for butterbur and water avens.

There is also an area of unimproved grassland to the centre of the site which is being allowed to rewild for biodiversity, particularly for invertebrates and meadow plants.


About Beeslack Wood


Beeslack Wood was gifted to the Woodland Trust in July 1995 by Lothian Regional Council.

Prior to council ownership the wood was part of a larger farming estate. There is evidence to indicate that some areas of the site have had continuous woodland coverage, however it is likely that some of the more accessible slopes would have been periodically cleared to allow for grazing.

The wood once formed part of the grounds of Beeslack House, and much of the present tree cover is due to planting carried out by the house in the mid to late 19th century.

Things to do at Beeslack Wood


While there are no waymarked trails on site, the wood is well served by a network of 3.5km footpaths to explore. Make your way to the more secluded northern section of the wood in particular for a quieter visit. For a longer walk, the path connects to the Railway Walk at the eastern end of the site - a key cycle path for the Penicuik area. 


Beeslack Wood Management Plan

PDF  (847 KB)