Borders Abbeys Way

  • Melrose Abbey
  • River Tweed at Dryburgh
  • Jedburgh Abbey
  • River Teviot at Roxburgh Viaduct
  • Dryburgh Abbey
  • Descent towards Selkirk
  • Leyden Memorial, Denholm Green
Distance (km) Ascent (metres) Number of days
109 1300 5 - 6
Start: Melrose or Jedburgh Finish: Melrose or Jedburgh
Linked to other Scotland’s Great Trail(s):
Cross Borders Drove Road Romans and Reivers Route St Cuthbert’s Way Southern Upland Way
Online map

Click the plus sign repeatedly to zoom. Click symbol at right of grey bar to view larger map (opens in new window). Mapping overlay courtesy of Rucksack Readers.


Below we list printed maps and/or guidebooks in ascending order of cover price: click image or title for more info. To add or alter any items in this list, please Contact us.

Borders Abbeys Way

Ranger Service, SBC | Scottish Borders Council - 2007

Borders Abbeys Way

N Mackay | Rucksack Readers - 2017


Route type/direction

Circuit: can be started anywhere, but Melrose is now close to the Borders Railway terminus at Tweedbank. Previously it was more common to start at Jedburgh.

The route is usually walked clockwise, because many people think this direction optimises the views.


A wonderful circuit through historic towns and villages of the Scottish Borders, featuring the magnificent ruined abbeys of Melrose, Dryburgh, Kelso and Jedburgh, and passing Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). The scenery includes some long sections beside the Rivers Tweed and Teviot, as well as more rugged hilly sections, and there are excellent chances of sighting wildlife in these peaceful settings.


  • historical interest of visiting four major ruined abbeys
  • riverside scenery of two fine fishing rivers, the Tweed and the Teviot
  • views from the high ground towards the Cheviots
  • friendly Borders pubs, cafés and B&Bs

Be aware

  • in poor visibility, the section on Black Hill may need map-and-compass competence
  • some sections include tarmac roads and farm tracks, but less than many long routes

The challenge

The route is well waymarked, and generally well-suited to inexperienced walkers. Although it can be walked in five days, the first section (Melrose/Kelso) is long (18 miles/29 km) and most people split it by going slightly off-route to overnight at St Boswells (for a six-day itinerary). The overall altitude gain is moderate (1300m/4265ft) and most of the terrain is sound underfoot. But allow enough time to enjoy the ruined abbeys and other side-trips.


The Way passes through attractive villages with welcoming B&Bs, and most villages have a range of accommodation choices including B&Bs and hotels. However, some are closed out of season, most are busy in season and advance booking is essential. For online information and booking, try VisitScotland or go to one of the three iCentres on the route, at Jedburgh, Hawick or Kelso.

There are camping options, both at commercial and at free campsites (basic or no facilities). Wild camping is legal in Scotland subject to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

Support services

Of the companies listed below, Walking Support provides a dedicated baggage transfer service:

Public transport

Getting to and from the route is simplest by train from Edinburgh Waverley to Tweedbank, near Melrose. Local transport includes buses operated by Borders Buses, Perryman’s Buses and Peter Hogg. Local taxi firms are based in Hawick, Jedburgh,  Kelso, Galashiels and Selkirk: it is normal to charge mileage from their base, so check fares before booking.

For details, visit Traveline Scotland, or, for the entire UK, Traveline. For travel from anywhere to anywhere, try Rome2Rio.

Downloads from the Scottish Borders Council website

Visit this website to download route descriptions for sections of the route. You can also apply for a route completion certificate:

Route completion (apply for certificate) Download
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