My favourite walk on the pink carpet

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One of my favourite walks in the Borders is up the river Tweed from Peebles. A few weeks ago, I revisited it after a few years’ absence, hoping that it was still as good.

I set off through the recently reseeded Hay Lodge Park towards the river and once over the little burn, you are into the countryside proper.

After a brief scramble over a broom-covered rocky outcrop, the path crosses a flat meadow below the impressive partial ruins of Neidpath Castle.

Here, the spring flowers are in abundance, particularly red campion, Welsh poppy, stitchwort and, of course, buttercups.

On the river, a handful of mallards were feeding amongst some floating froth in an eddy which must have been rich in some sort of food, while a female goosander rested up from her fishing forays on a shingle bank.

After another rocky scramble below the castle, another flat meadow beckons with a well-placed bench where you can sit and enjoy the sights and sounds of the riverside.

You can then cross the river by way of the old railway bridge, or go a bit further to the Old Manor Bridge if you are feeling more energetic.

I chose the former, pausing to admire the Victorian workmanship on the railway bridge, especially from below, where you can see how the arches were built on the twist to allow for the bend in the bridge.

Once across, the return journey is through the riverside woodland and here the path is harder going than I remember (or I am not as agile).

It is quite rocky in places and the many tangled tree roots can become slippery when wet.

It is well worth it for the lovely views across the river to the castle and, if you go at the right time of year, a special treat is in store.

I hit it just right to witness an amazing spectacle in the woodland beside the footpath.

The entire area was carpeted with tiny pink and white flowers, which I have never seen in such abundance before.

They were the delicate blooms of pink purslane.

It was cultivated in Britain by 1768 and was first noted in the wild in 1838.

It has spread rapidly since 1930; in Cornwall, for example, it was not recorded until the 1930s, but is now known in almost every 10km square.

It can quickly colonise woodland, suppressing other vegetation by its lush mass of spring foliage which then flops over nearby plants. Nonetheless, it is a spectacular sight when seen en masse like this.