Explore Melrose Walk

A walk around Melrose Town and across to the River Tweed

An Introduction to Melrose

Melrose is situated in the heart of the Scottish Borders. The town lies close to the River Tweed and at the foot of the triple peaks of the Eildon Hills. The area around Melrose has been inhabited for thousands of years, originally by native tribes followed by the Romans who established a fort, ‘Trimontium’, to the east of the Eildon Hills. But, the town primarily owes its existence to the foundation of the Abbey in 1136 by King David 1, who invited Cistercian monks to build a new monastery and, choosing a site of flat land close to the river, the settlement of Melrose gradually grew up around what became one of the finest ecclesiastical buildings in Scotland.

After the decline in importance of the Abbey, following the wars with the English in the 14th and 16th centuries, Melrose became a thriving market town with the status of a Burgh having a market cross in early C17th. The arrival of the railway in the C19th brought with it more visitors, and many of its inhabitants (including Sir Walter Scott) have left a legacy of fine buildings in and around the Town.

Today Melrose is one of the most visited small towns in Scotland. Its central location in the Borders, alongside its heritage and the facilities the town offers, have all contributed to its popularity and development into a focal point for a number of ‘Scotland’s Great walking Trails‘, in particular the St Cuthbert’s Way and Borders Abbeys Way.

About the Melrose Trail

This short trail is intended for visitors, locals, and especially families who might like to discover a bit more about Melrose; the town, its gardens and the river which makes it such an attractive place to come and visit. As you go around there is a small quiz to help you discover more.

It starts and finishes at the historic Market Square at the top of the High Street and is approx 3km (2miles) long. It is mostly on tarmac paths and quiet roads.

Melrose walk map
Old Sketch of Melrose Market Place
The Market Place early C.19. Credit: Melrose Historical Association
Melrose Abbey Gardens
Abbey Gardens
Melrose Old Fire station
The old fire station
Melrose Abbey Lade
Abbey Lade

Further information about Melrose in the Scottish Borders

It is possible to discover more about the heritage of Melrose by visiting Melrose Abbey and Trimontium Museum.

Annual Events in Melrose, Scotland

  • An international Rugby 7’s tournament held in April
  • The Borders Book Festival, held in Harmony Garden each June – with over over 100 events that attract some of the most well known persons in contemporary literature and current affairs
  • The Town’s Festival Week, held in the 3rd week of June – a week of fun and celebration.

Melrose Paths Group

We are a small group of volunteers who promote and help maintain the path network around Melrose. Please see our ‘Paths around Melrose’ booklet which is available at a number of places in the Town where you see our logo displayed.