The Estate

The 19th century saw Sir Walter Scott establishing an international reputation as Scotland’s most prolific and successful writer, but his abiding interest – the one that gave him most pleasure – was tree-planting.

At Abbotsford Scott assembled an extensive woodland estate specifically adapted to its setting along the banks of the River Tweed. The landscape that Scott developed, laid out across expanses of previously unimproved land, was unique in scenic and horticultural terms.

Today, the Abbotsford Trust looks after 120 acres of land beside the Tweed, made up of meadow and native woodland, planted by Scott and his factotum Tom Purdie. Scott's own accounts of the Herculean efforts put into establishing his plantations are of significant value to the historical and sylvicultural nature of the countryside around Abbotsford, especially because at its highpoint, the estate spanned 1400 acres. The sumptuous, rolling landscape and speckled woodlands you find in this area are still irrevocably Scott's own.

Free and open to all, the Abbotsford Estate has a diverse mix of habitat, supporting a richness of species, from orchids and butterflies on the Haugh to badgers and bats in the woodland. Relax and enjoy a walk around the Abbotsford estate with our way-marked paths through Scott’s woodlands or along the banks of the River Tweed. You may even be lucky enough to encounter some of our more shy residents including otters in the River Tweed and red squirrels in the woodland; do let us know if you see them. Throughout the spring and summer the estate is full of bird song with goldfinch, nuthatch, chiff-chaff and swallows to name just a few. You might also hear the woodpeckers and tawny owls! Special mention though, should be reserved for the trees that have inhabited the Abbotsford estate since Sir Walter Scott’s time at Abbotsford.

Please note that work is now finished and the woodlands open again. However, signage and benches are still being installed.

Restoring Scott's Landscape

The Abbotsford Trust is responsibe for extending Scott's legacy of this beautiful designed landscape for the next 200 years and has thus recently begun a major restoration of Sir Walter Scott's woodlands and paths. The programme is funded by WIAT (Woodlands In And Around Towns) and a private foundation.

The following work will be carried out over the course of 2017: Old paths will be opened up and improved, new signage and benches will be put in place, old views will be restored, the woodlands will be thinned and spaces created so that the replanting of native trees can thrive. The trees selected for felling hold in balance three priorities, namely the designed landscape, the biodiversity and the public's enjoyment of the estate at Abbotsford. Abbotsford will update visitors regularly if access to routes might be restricted with the above map. Further information is also available at our visitor centre information board and a bigger version of the map can be found in the downloads below.

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