Short local and historical walks around Melrose

This page provides useful information for the walker and visitor to Melrose.
  1. Riverside Walk – 1km
  2. Riverside Walk to Lowood Bridge and return – 4km
  3. Circular walk to Newstead (riverside) – 3.5km
  4. Melrose Town Trail – varied
  5. Trimontium Walk
  6. Old Melrose Woodland Walk
1. Riverside walk. 1km
This is a short circular walk to view the river Tweed at the suspension bridge and the cauld. From the Town centre follow Abbey Street down past the Abbey buildings. Continue onto Annay Road and at the corner bear left along the lane to the Chain Bridge. Continue by following the tarmaced path to a view overlooking the cauld and then turn left away from the river passing the Milennnium cairn and The Greenyards Rugby ground back to the Town centre. Distance 1km

2. Riverside walk to Lowood Bridge and return. 4km
Walk 1 can be extended at the cauld by following the riverside path, on the Southern Upland Way (SUW) over the Scaurs and along the river meadows to join the road near Lowood Bridge. Cross over the bridge and return along the roadside pavement before joining the SUW again along the river to Gattonside bridge (see Paths around Melrose Route 2). Distance 4km

3. Riverside Walk to Newstead and return by Priorswalk.
As for Walk 1 go past the Abbey onto Annay Road and at the corner bear left along the lane. Go through the second gate on the right (fingerpost) down the field to the metal gate at the river. Turn right and follow path to reach the Battery Dyke. Take the new path behind the wall to reach the gate and across the stile to the riverside haughs. (It is also possible to walk along the top of the wall to reach the stile).
Continue along the riverside and on to the raised boardwalk. Leave the river and head up the track to Newstead village. Turn right and at the road junction bear left and take the waymarked path (Borders Abbeys Way) along Priorswalk back to the Abbey in Melrose. Distance 4km. (The map shows alternative routes back into Melrose)

Newstead Circular

4. Melrose Town Trail
This is an excellent way to discover the town providing an added dimension of local history and a flavour of its development through time. The trail starts and finishes at the Visitor Information Centre in Abbey House opposite the Abbey.
The full trail takes about 2 hours to complete. (see map on back page of the Paths booklet)

Map of Town Trail

By clicking on the number you will link to the building description.

Abbey House (1)
VisitScotland Information Centre is located here in a typically Scottish late C18th building.

Harmony Hall (2)
Built in 1807 as home for Robert Waugh a local joiner who had this house built and named after his plantation in Jamaica. Now owned by The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) and gardens are open to the public.

Abbey Mill (3)
The Abbey Mill shop sits on the site of the former Abbey Corn Mill. The mill was built beside a lade which diverted water from the River Tweed to power the mill wheel.

Melrose Abbey (4)
The abbey was founded in 1136 by King David I who brought in Cistercian monks from Rievaulx near York. It was frequently damaged in cross-border raids in C14th; rebuilt in the C15th and again damaged in 1545. Finally restored in 1822 with assistance from Sir Walter Scott and the Duke of Buccleuch, the town owes its existence to the Abbey. As a centre of pilgrimage, houses would have been set up close to the main gate of the precincts for the use of visitors and pilgrims. Now in the care of Historic Scotland.

Priorwood Gardens (5)
The gardens are located immediately adjacent to the NTS shop and once belonged to the Curle family who owned Priorwood House which became the Youth Hostel. Within the gardens are many apple trees some of which are direct descendants of those grown by the monks of the Abbey.

Melrose Town House (6)
Gifted to the Town by the Duke of Buccleuch in 1896

Mercat Cross
Traditionally a symbol of the trading rites of Scottish market towns and villages. This cross was originally the one that had been at the entrance to the Abbey precinct at ‘The Bow’ now Abbey Street. The importance of Melrose as a visitor centre and market town is reflected in the number of hotels located around the square.

East Port (7)
The narrow street by the Ship Inn is East Port, the historic eastern entrance gate to the town.

Former Railway Station (8)
An elegant building which presents a Jacobean facade to the town centre. The station, on a stretch of the famous Waverley Line between Edinburgh and Carlisle, opened in 1849.The railway which once brought visitors and commerce to Melrose was closed in the late 1960’s.

High Cross Avenue (9)
A short distance along on the left is High Cross Church built for the United Presbyterian Church in 1866 but became a Roman Catholic church from 1984. Almost opposite is Holy Trinity Episcopal Church designed in the mid 1840’s by the famous architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott.

Tweed Cottage(10)
This was the residence of the pumpman for the Waverley Hydropathic Hotel 500m to the west. The spring water for the hotel originally came from St Helen’s Well one of the holy wells - named after saints - which supplied Melrose with drinking water. The cottage built of concrete was originally called ‘concrete cottage’.

The Scaurs
From this path known locally as The Scaurs you can gain a fine view of the River Tweed with The Chain Bridge to the east and Gattonside village on the north side of the river. You are now following the Southern Upland Way and at the bottom of the steps you come to The Cauld where care should be taken as the wall is low and water is fast flowing. Built here across the river by the monks at the Abbey the cauld was used to divert water into the lade to power the mill.

Chain Bridge and Toll House (11)
Opened in 1826, the suspension Bridge crosses the River Tweed to the village of Gattonside. There was also a ford crossing just downstream for horse drawn vehicles.

Melrose Parish Kirk (12); built between 1808-10 and dedicated to St Cuthbert. It replaced the Abbey as a place of worship.

The Greenyards (13)
Originally a marsh which the monks drained and used as a grazing ground for sheep. Nowadays the home ground of Melrose Rugby Football Club.

St Mary’s School (14)
Dating from 1820, the school is built on the grounds of Abbey Park.

Masonic Lodge (15)
The lodge of Melrose St John is reputed to be the joint oldest such institution in Scotland. Founded by Masons in Newstead

Ormiston Institute (16)
Bequeathed to the town for recreational purposes by Charles Ormiston. Inside is the Trimontium Exhibition, run by the local Trimontium Trust, which features a variety of finds from the site of the Roman fort and camps nearby. Open from April to October; also guided walks are organised and led by members of the Trust.

To download full Melrose Town Trail leaflet click on this link.

5. Trimontium Walk.
Trimontium means the Place of the Three Hills and was the site of the largest Roman fort in Scotland. Explore the Roman fort site from Newstead village (see Paths around Melrose Route 8). Accessible by local bus from Melrose.

There are also guided walks (The Roman Way) from Melrose each Thursday from April to October starting from the Roman Heritage Centre. Start 1.30pm; return 5.30pm
Cost (tea included) - £4 adults, £10 family, dogs welcome,.
Also on Tuesdays In July and August.
For more information visit the Roman Heritage Centre opposite the Town Square, see

6. Old Melrose Walk
Visit the area of St Cuthbert’s Chapel and the restored summerhouse at Ravenswood; woodland walks. Park at Old Melrose tearoom at the end of a single track road off the A68, just south of Leaderfoot roundabout at end of the Melrose bypass.

Guided ‘Old Melrose Monastic Walks’ take place on the first Monday of the month (May – October). Start 1.30pm (2 hours) from Old Melrose tearoom.
Information from the Roman Heritage Centre in Melrose.
For more information on the history of this 7th century monastic centre link to the St Cuthbert's Way website.

Easy Access Viewpoints near Melrose
These sites are easily accessible and suitable for some wheelchair users.

Gattonside Suspension Bridge
Limited parking available adjacent to the bridge. The Chain Bridge is ramped and affords views of the river and wildlife. Continue by following the tarmaced path to a view overlooking the cauld.

Rhymers Stone near Melrose
Parking nearby on the road or adjacent to viewpoint by opening the gate.
Seat: Area is cobbled with ridges but may be accessible to some wheelchair users with assistance. Extensive views to Leaderfoot, Black Hill of Earlston, Eildon North Hill and Galashiels. Thomas the Rhymer is quoted on plaque.

Leaderfoot Bridges
A parking area leads from A68 adjacent to the old bridge and sandstone sculpture.
Accessible path across old bridge for dramatic views of historic Leaderfoot Viaduct and the River Tweed.

Historic Viewpoint - Scotts View, near Melrose
Panoramic viewpoint of the River Tweed and the Eildon Hills, also the Black Hill of Earlston. A different perspective each season of the year. Sir Walter Scott stopped here on his carriage journeys to and from nearby Abbotsford House. It is said that this was his favourite view. His horse always stopped there on the way past. Information plaques are suitable to be read from wheelchair height.

Views from around Melrose

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