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Walks in the Scottish Borders - St. Cuthbert’s Way – stages worthwhile exploring for a day’s hike

Updated: May 30

On coming back from completing the St. Cuthbert’s Way, I have to admit it is one of the most enjoyable and scenic walks I have ever done. Exploring the beautiful landscape of the Scottish Borders and Northumberland does not get any better.

However, not everyone has 4-6 days to discover the whole variety of landscapes on offer. Being avid hikers, my daughters and I walked some of the St. Cuthbert’s stretches in daily excursions and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Here are two suggestions for lovely daily walks on the St. Cuthbert’s Way while you are on your holidays in the Scottish Borders.

Melrose to Maxton Walk: 4-5 hours, approx. 9 miles

Spectacular views over the Scottish Borders on top of the Eildon Hills and gentle walking along the river Tweed.

St. Cuthbert’s Way starts at the gates of the magnificent 12th century Melrose Abbey in the lively Borders town of Melrose. From Melrose, an invigorating climb takes you over the iconic Eildon Hills whose triple peaks are one of the best loved landmarks in the Scottish Borders. As you pause to catch your breath, there are panoramic views in every direction: Melrose, the Moorfoot and Lammermuir Hills to the north, and the mighty Cheviot range to the east.

After dropping back down to the village of Bowden, nestling in the lee of the Eildons, the route winds its way through gentle farmland and woodland to Newtown St Boswells. The next section leads along the tranquil banks of the River Tweed and offers glimpses of Dryburgh Abbey and Dryburgh Estate. The walk along the river passes by St. Boswells Golf Course to Mertoun Bridge and straight on past the Crystal Well to Maxton Church and into Maxton village.

From there you can take a bus or taxi back to Melrose.

Maxton village to Harestanes Walk: 3+ hours, approx. 7 miles

This easy, almost flat walk starts on a quiet country lane from Maxton village to the start of ‘Dere Street’, the old Roman Road. Follow ‘Dere Street’, a tree-lined grassy track that opens up to wide stretches of Borders countryside. You will pass Lady Lilliard’s Tomb and enjoy brilliant views of the Waterloo Monument, two local follies and Baron’s loch. If you are feeling energetic you might fancy a detour to Peniel Heugh and the Waterloo Monument (calculate at least 2 hours).

The final stretch of the path will take you past Woodside Nursery with its beautiful café and yummy cakes for a treat close to the end of your route. The last 10 minutes lead you to Harestanes Estate and Countryside Visitor Centre where you can hop on a bus to Maxton or grab a taxi.

Bowden House Boutique B&B is looking forward to welcoming you and our hearty breakfasts will set you up perfectly for a day's walking in the Scottish Borders. We are happy to provide you with tasty packed lunches for your daily hikes. Book your stay now.


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