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Best Melrose Walks: The Eildon Hills Circular

Updated: May 30

Starting from Bowden Common

I am often asked about the best walks in the Melrose area and some of my favourites are the many paths over the Eildon Hills. I admit I am a bit biased as these beautiful walks start right at the doorstep of Bowden House Boutique B&B in our small village of Bowden. I have been walking our dogs over these paths many, many times and still never tire of the views. I am not alone in this opinion, however, as “The Herald” has recently crowned this walk as one of the best in Scotland.

Walking in Melrose

What to expect: Well-maintained paths with spectacular 360° views over the Borders’ landscape, the scent of heather and plenty of wild blueberries in summer. If you are lucky you might also catch a glimpse of the numerous buzzards that cruise around the hills.

Recommendations: You will need good walking boots as the tracks can be muddy and the Eildon Mid Hill ascent and descent are slippery due to loose scree.

Pack a picnic to enjoy the stunning views on the top of each of the Eildon Hills

Walking time: 2.5 hours or up to 6 hours depending on which loop you take.

Walking Route in Melrose

There are many options as the paths weave themselves in figures of 8 around the three Hills and extend into Newstead and Melrose. You can take your pick, and easily find your way back if you get lost like Piglet and Poo, just watch out for the Heffalumps in snow!

You start your way on Bowden Common and follow the signposts for St. Cuthbert’s Way north to Melrose. Climb the steep steps and bear left walking up the path through the woods until you reach a small gate. The landscape to the west opens up, from which you have great views over the surrounding landscape of Selkirk, Galashiels and Bowdenmoor Revervoir. My favourite version of this path leads me right to the top of the smallest Western Eildon Hill with views over Bowden village and the south of the Borders’ countryside. You can turn back on yourself and walk back down passing a little pond nestled in the dip between the peaks (the favourite private swimming spot of my dogs). Taking the first path right (East) and downhill and then left and uphill (North) you reach the saddle between the 2 main Eildons (Eildon Mid Hill and Eildon Hill North). From there the view opens up all the way north to Melrose and far beyond.

Now you have two choices:

1) Looking North you turn left and take the steep ascent with areas of loose scree to the peak of the highest Eildon Mid Hill. You will be rewarded with exceptional views for your efforts! After taking in the spectacular scenery, continue walking down the West side and then turn right around the North side of Mid Hill till you once again reach the saddle.

You can leave out the first option and instead take:

2) The more leisurely option over the Eildon Hill North (to your right if looking North) brings you to views over the famous Leaderfoot Viaduct and further west over Newtown St. Boswells. Make your descent on the east of North Hill and at the foot of the hill you join the forest path turning right (south westwards) back to Bowden.

Instead of walking back to Bowden you can extend your walk north to Newstead via a more northerly path and then along the road or better along the River Tweed to Melrose from where you follow the St. Cuthbert’s Way back south to Bowden.

After this walk it is time for a cup of tea on our terrace to put your feet up and relax. We are looking forward to welcoming you!


Your favourite guest house in the Scottish Borders.


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