Borders Abbeys Way

The Borders Abbeys Way links four of Britain’s most magnificent ruined medieval abbeys; Melrose, Dryburgh, Kelso and Jedburgh. The abbeys along with a host of historical sites paint a picture of the conflicts between the kingdoms of Scotland and England that raged throughout the Borderlands from the mid-12th to early 17th centuries.

Well waymarked and good under foot, the walking is a pleasure. The gradients are for the most part gentle, yet the views are at times breathtakingly beautiful. Riverside paths following the Tweed and the Teviot, old drove roads and disused railway lines along with forest tracks and open moorland combine to guide you on a spectacular 68 mile circuit of the Scottish Borders countryside that will delight even the most seasoned walker.

Founded in the first half of the 12th century on the command of King David I of Scotland the abbeys are testament to the supremacy and prosperity of medieval Anglo Norman monasticism. However, for four centuries the abbeys and the Borders folk fell victim to the lawlessness and violence that engulfed the region. Never more so than during Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century, when Scotland, led by Robert the Bruce emerged victorious with the re-establishment of an independent Scottish monarchy. The ruins that remain today are largely the result of military campaigns by the Earl of Hertford in 1544 and 1545 on behalf of King Henry VIII of England. Further destruction came from repeated vandalism by cross border militias known as Reivers and later Moss Troopers, during a period when the Borders was a perilous and lawless frontier.

Those days are past now and what remains is a place of peacefulness, a gentle countryside where historic towns and picturesque villages await you with a warm welcome. Nature lovers will rejoice in the Borders. The Tweed and the Teviot are home to salmon, trout and grayling. As you walk the river banks look for swans, tufted ducks and the great crested grebe. Nearby will be the grey wagtail and the sandmartin. Listen for the curlew, the skylark and from the hawthorn bushes, the song of the yellow hammer. In the meadows common spotted orchid can be found as well as mountain pansy, harebell, wood sorrel and primrose. Woodland gives cover to the redpoll, bullfinch and siskin while providing shelter for roe deer, badgers, fox and great spotted woodpeckers.

Our Holidays

We offer 4 itineraries on the Borders Abbeys Way making a clockwise circuit over 4 to 7 days beginning and ending in the picturesque town of Melrose. This is the traditional way to walk the route. With 4 magnificent abbeys and a history spanning 500 turbulent years, the Borders Abbeys Way is a holiday that really does invite you to factor in a rest day or two to immerse yourself in the story of the lowland Scots.

Please bear in mind that the distances each day are trail distances only. They do not take into account walking to your accommodation. On some days the accommodation might be on or close to the trail but on other days you may need to walk one or two miles to get to your overnight stop.

Read our article: A Brief History of the Borders Abbeys

Borders Abbeys Way

Melrose to Melrose 68 miles/109 km

We offer 4 itineraries on the Borders Abbeys Way. When choosing from 4, 5, 6 or 7 days walking consider how far you’d like to walk each day, as well as how much time you’d like to spend exploring the Abbeys and other historical sites along the way. Our 4 and 5 day itineraries avoid the need for a transfer. Our 6 day itinerary splits the Melrose to Kelso section over 2 days with a transfer. This allows you to ease yourself into the walk, and also gives you more time to explore Dryburgh Abbey. Our 7 day itinerary takes things easier still by splitting the Jedburgh to Hawick section with a night in Denholm.

Code Length Average per day Price range
BA5 4 days walking (5 nights) 17 miles/27 km £617 - £725 Full Info Book
BA6 5 days walking (6 nights) 14 miles/23 km £713 - £848 Full Info Book
BA7 6 days walking (7 nights) 11 miles/18 km £811 - £973 Full Info Book
BA8 7 days walking (8 nights) 10 miles/16 km £907 - £1097 Full Info Book