22nd March 2018

A family day of fun-filled festivity is being held at Abbotsford, home of Sir Walter Scott, on Easter Sunday, to celebrate the completion of the estate’s £300,000 woodland restoration project - and families are invited to bring their dogs along too.

Visitors are being encouraged to walk in Scott’s footsteps and explore more than 5km of woodland paths, which are more accessible for buggies and some wheelchair users, with new signage and artisan crafted benches. Views of the Tweed, once enjoyed by Scott, have been revealed, and there is a new play area for younger children.

To add to the family friendly atmosphere, the estate’s Visitor Centre and Ochiltree’s cafe are also now open to canine visitors. The only areas off limits to dogs are the house and children’s play areas, with the walled gardens restricted to dogs on short leads.

Easter Sunday’s activities, which run from 10am to 3pm, will include a woodland Easter egg hunt, woodland crafts by the Forestry Commission, face painting, dog activities and pet show, with Borders Pet Rescue on site to talk about their Adopt-a-Dog scheme. The admission price to the house and garden includes free access to all the events.

Giles Ingram, Chief Executive at Abbotsford, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming visitors to Abbotsford to explore our new woodland paths, which were originally created by Scott, and share the views of the Tweed that he enjoyed.

“We have also opened Ochiltree’s cafe to dogs, making it easier for families to bring their pet and enjoy a full day out.”

The woodland restoration was funded by the Forestry Commission’s “Woodlands In and Around Towns’ (WIAT) programme, which focuses on the location, accessibility and management of urban woodlands, to encourage more use from local people. Work started in March 2017, with tree felling completed in August and planting, paths, signage and benches completed in February. Further work is now underway on the area between Abbotsford House and the River Tweed to restore Scott’s original planting plans.

Pippa Coles, Gardens Heritage Development Manager at Abbotsford, said: “There was an enormous amount of planning and research into the woodland work, and managing the project while visitors were on site was a challenge for our teams.

“It has been a major development for Abbotsford and we feel it has now set the estate up for the next 200 years.”