Abbeys Walk

The 64.5 mile / 103 Km walk was developed around the four ruined Border Abbeys and the location of an even earlier but short lived Tironsian Abbey in Selkirk. Although all four are now in ruin they are beautiful monuments to the many Cistercian and Augustinian monks who lived here in the 12th to 16th centuries.

Kelso Abbey

Founder in 1128 when Prince David granted the land to the Tyronensian Cistercian monks, this was seen as a more appropriate site to the earlier Abbey of 1113 set up in Selkirk.
This was perhaps the largest of the Border Abbeys although its distruction in 1545 left very limited remains.

Kelso Abbey
Jedburgh Abbey

Jedburgh Abbey

This was first established as a Priory for the Augustinian Canons but in 1154 King David I granted it Abbey status.
This Abbey was used for the Royal Concecration of Alexander III's marriage in 1285. Like Kelso Abbey it was burnt by the Earl of Hertford in 1545.

Melrose Abbey

King David granted the land and charter in 1136 to the Cistercian monks from Rievaulx.
This was to become a very wealthy monastery but it was completely destroyed by Richard II in 1385. What now exists was the 15th Century Gothic Abbey that replaced the earlier monastery.

Melrose Abbey
Dryburgh Abbey

Dryburgh Abbey

Established in 1150 for the Augustinian Monks from Premonstre in France this was a smaller Abbey to the others.
Its fate was similar with it being burnt in 1322 by Edward II and in 1385 by Richard II. It was finally attacked and abandoned in 1544.

Link to the History and Interest section for a fuller understanding of the history of the Border Abbeys.

The following table provides details of the recommended day sections, although it is recognised that some walkers may want to extend the distances and hence reduce the walk from five days to four.
With the re-opening of the Border Railway even further options are now available with the potential to start and end the route at the Tweedbank Railway Station, only a few hundred yards from the waymarked route.
Tweedbank Station

Click on the above image to access information on what support can be offered to walkers thinking of using the railways as a means of accessing the Borders Abbeys Way.


Distance Miles/KM

Start & End Elevation

Highest points



134 & 280 ft

390 ft



280 & 344 ft

985 & 563 ft



344 & 564 ft

999 & 1113 ft



564 & 320 ft

880 ft



320 & 134 ft

485 ft



1113 ft

For alternative options including the Tweedbank starting point and fuller details on walking terrain link to the Walker's Details section.

This is a fully waymarked route, however we would recommend that it is walked with appropriate Ordnance Survey maps. If you are looking for detailed directions for all key junctions Walking Support is able to provide a detailed junction by junction grid referenced instruction for a nominal sum of £3.99. Simply click on the Buy Now button and once on line payment has been confirmed Walking Support will send you by an e-mail attachment the O/S grid reference data.

For a detailed look at each of the sections click on the appropriate section of the map or on the section links below.

Kelso-Jedburgh / Jedburgh-Hawick / Hawick-Selkirk / Selkirk-Melrose / Melrose-Kelso

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