Smailholm - Mellerstain Circular
About This Route
Smailholm is at the junction of the B6361 to Melrose with the B6397 (Kelso to Earlston). There is ample car parking at the village hall,
which is situated on the north side of the B6361, some 150m from Smailholm Church. The village can also be reached from the A68 by turning eastwards at Leaderfoot and then left onto the B6361 for 5.6km.
1. Smailholm Village Hall. From the car park turn right for about 25m, then left (signposted Smailholm Tower). NB on the right is the village pond and wildlife area. Follow the road for 2.4km and turn right at drive to Smailholm Tower. Please take care as this route now passes through a working farm and there may be moving vehicles or livestock.
2. Pass through the gate at the Tower, following the track down to “Westfield”, on the B6361 (this was the blacksmith’s workshop until the mid 1960s).
3. Turn right at the road, continue for 300m and then turn left. The track passes to the rear of the cottages at the top of this road and then swings right alongside fields. Again, please take care as you pass through a working farm and there may be moving vehicles or livestock. Climb to a magnificent viewpoint offering panoramic views, south (Jedburgh), west (Eildons and Blackhill) and north (Lammermuir Hills).
4. Continue on the track downhill, which, at the lower end, becomes undefined and passes through long grass and then meets a wide farm track. Turn right here (crossing a drainage burn at this point) and pass a wooded area on your left.
5. At the top of this track you join the B6397 for some 400m then continue straight ahead bearing off the main road, onto the side road, towards Mellerstain House. It is possible to see buzzards and roe deer on this section of the route and you may see evidence of badgers. NB. Mellerstain House, grounds and café have limited opening hours. Please check their brochure before visiting.
6. Approximately 100m before Mellerstain gateway (opposite Mellerstain Animal Welfare Centre), turn right on to a farm track. Continue for 1.3km until reaching the tarmac road where you turn right for 400m, passing over a small bridge, then turn left on to the second farm track (Spur Path).
7. At the top, pass through the gate and turn left. The wooded area on your right is covered in wild garlic and yellow aconites in the spring and hosts a variety of wildlife throughout the year. Continue down the track to where it bears right, over a drainage ditch, on to a stony section alongside a field. Here, looking eastwards, are stunning views over the Eden Water and to the Hundy Mundy ruins (originally built as a folly but now used as a natural burial site).
8. Follow the track as it bears right, pass through the wooden gate and proceed along the farm track. This section overgrows in the spring and early summer as it is home to many ground-nesting birds. Pass through the double iron gates to meet the road (B6397).
9. Turn right onto the road and follow it past Smailholm Church. Where the cherry trees now stand, there used to be a row of cottages which were demolished in the 1950s. Turn left on to the B6361 and back to the hall. The Pottery, on your left, is open most days between 9.00am and 5.00pm.