Melrose To Jedburgh
ROUTE LENGTH: 13 MILES
Leave Melrose on the A6091 eastwards, and turn south on the A68, stopping at the car park if you would like to walk to Old Melrose. Follow the A68 to Jedburgh.
Leave Melrose going along the river through Newstead. Cross the river beside the A68, and take the road through Leaderfoot. Turn right for Scott’s View. After pausing to enjoy this favourite spot of Scott’s, continue to Dryburgh Abbey. From the Abbey follow NCN 1 down the hill to cross The Tweed. You will need to go a short way along the A68 to reach St Boswells. Leave St Boswells on the A699, and at Maxton turn right on to a minor road. Turn right at the T junction for Harestanes. Walkers have the shorter route from here. By bike, go east and south on the B6400. Turn west on the A698. As you approach the River Jed turn left on to a minor road to go along the east side of the river. Join the A68 for the last half mile into Jedburgh.
Walkers can follow The St Cuthbert’s Way.
The St Cuthbert’s Way does not go right in to Jedburgh. Divert on to The Borders Abbey Way to go the 2.5 miles off the route to Jedburgh.
If looking for a short walk in this section, stop at the lay by on the A68 outside Melrose to walk to Old Melrose – the original site of the monastery. On the way you pass a bookshop and cafe.
By Public Transport
There are bus services between Melrose and Jedburgh. The Galashiels to Lauder service stops in Melrose and at Leaderfoot, close to the juction of the A6091 and the A68, from where you can walk to Old Melrose.
To check times go to Traveline Scotland and click on Plan your Journey on left side of page.
We begin from the Cistercian Abbey of Melrose, beside the town. It has its own Abbot Saint- Waltheof- and its own rich heritage, including the heart of Robert the Bruce. The heart’s recently discovered resting place was a consolation after it failed to reach Jerusalem on a crusade that was Bruce’s dying wish. But Cuthbert’s journey takes him, and us, from Old Melrose downriver to become Prior of Lindisfarne. You can walk this route on St Cuthbert’s Way via the Eildons, or use a variety of transport via Old Melrose, Newstead and St Boswell’s, touching Dryburgh again by bridge from the near side of the Tweed.
Roman remains coincide on this route with the old British Christianity of saints like Mungo, Ninian and Modan, who may have founded the first place of retreat at Dryburgh. South of Dryburgh, there are medieval churches associated with Boisil. While St Cuthbert’s Way turns east, we continue to Jedburgh with its magnificent ruined Abbey.
St Margaret’s son, King David, is the moving spirit behind the great Border Abbeys at Melrose, Kelso, Dryburgh and Jedburgh. When the fortunes of Scotland’s Catholic rulers declined under English pressure in the reign of Mary Queen of Scots, these huge complexes began their career as romantic ruins. A circular Borders Abbey Way takes in all the resonant locations.
These however are not Cuthbert’s personal places. His instinct is for the hills and valleys and ultimately for remote rocky islands. So we resume in his footsteps. During Cuthbert’s last months at Old Melrose, Boisil, who knew he was dying of the plague, read to Cuthbert from a Commentary on John’s Gospel. This deeply mystical inspiration, combined with a very practical mindset, was to guide the younger man throughout his life. Cuthbert was buried with a copy of John’s Gospel by his side.