Midlothian Trust receives historic piece of land at Roslin Glen known as ‘The Hewan Bog’ from late Professor

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Midlothian land donated to local Trust

Land in Midlothian belonging to a late Professor has been given to the Esk Valley Trust, which owns adjacent land at the historic site.

The area of land at the northern end of Roslin Glen known as ‘The Hewan Bog’ sits next to woodland already owned by the Trust, the Hewan Wood, which sits by the North Esk River near to Polton.

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This most generous gift is from the estate of the late Professor David Baird, who died in February 2022. David established the University of Edinburgh as a world centre for the study of reproduction, and was a passionate advocate for the rights and health of women and for women in medicine.

John Oldham, Esk Valley Trust chairman, said: “We are delighted to receive the gift of this land. It is a place of beauty and natural tranquillity and reflects the generous spirit of a truly outstanding man. We thank Professor Baird’s family for their kindness in making this gift.”

The Esk Valley Trust is delighted to receive an area of land at the northern end of Roslin Glen known as ‘The Hewan Bog’, from the family of late Professor David Baird (inset).The Esk Valley Trust is delighted to receive an area of land at the northern end of Roslin Glen known as ‘The Hewan Bog’, from the family of late Professor David Baird (inset).
The Esk Valley Trust is delighted to receive an area of land at the northern end of Roslin Glen known as ‘The Hewan Bog’, from the family of late Professor David Baird (inset). | Sub

Professor Baird had a lifelong love of Scottish mountains and the great outdoors and bought the Hewan Bog in 1998, letting it to the University for sheep grazing and also keeping half a dozen pet Herdwick sheep of his own there. Each April he would take them to the family cottage in Strath Tummel and then bring them back to Roslin for the winter. 

David’s wife, Professor Anna Glasier, said: “David loved spending time at Roslin where he kept some of his own sheep. We often used to take a picnic when we went to check up on the sheep and sit in the sun drinking in the view and counting the variety of birds that inhabited the field.

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“David would be very happy to know that the Esk Valley Trust has taken over the Hewan Bog, and his sons and I hope that others will enjoy it as much as he did.”

The name ‘Hewan’ derives from the bloody events of the Battle of Roslin in 1303, part of which took place on this area of land. As the Ballad of the Battle of Roslin says: “An farmers tae this very day, when they’re at the ploo-in, still find shinbanes in the clay, at the place they call ‘The Hewin.”

Until 1978 both the Hewan Bog and the Hewan Wood formed part of the land associated with Hawthornden Castle. The two parcels of land were sold separately at that time. This gift allows them to be brought together again under the same ownership.

In line with its broad purpose of stimulating public interest and care for the beauty, history and character of the valleys of the Esk Rivers, the Esk Valley Trust said it will take care to manage this land to sustain and, if possible, to “enhance its natural value and keep it for visitors to enjoy”.

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