1. Kelso Abbey Community Orchard – Glebe Lane
Kelso Heritage Society, is in the final stages of negotiations with Scottish Borders Council, for an Asset Transfer Agreement, to create and manage a small plot of ground, as a community orchard, within the Scheduled Site of Kelso Abbey. The proposed Orchard is to be planted at the foot of Glebe Lane (opposite the entrance to Mayfield Garden Centre). An archaeological survey will take place over the coming months, which we hope schools may wish to become involved with.
We will be working with other community focussed organisations, to develop this area and plant heritage varieties of fruit trees that would have been planted in the vicinity, by the monks who tended the Abbey Gardens. We have maps of the area from 1823, which show an orchard on the site, at that time.
Our proposed orchard project will be of benefit to the community and we will maintain open access for recreational purposes.
2. Kelso Museum, Heritage & Visitor Centre
A key aim of Kelso Heritage Society, is to explore the creation of a Heritage Centre in the Town. The provision of such a Centre, would create a focal point for visitors to the area. It would provide information and displays on the rich and diverse historic, cultural and environmental heritage of Kelso and surrounding area.
Setting up such a Centre, will require a long term management plan and funding stream. The need for such a facility has been recognised, following the withdrawal of Visit Scotland’s presence from the Town.
3. Tree Coppicing at Kelso Bridge
In 1857, a cartographer working for the Ordnance Survey was in Kelso, to map the town. He recorded in his mapping book that ‘Kelso, must be one of the most beautiful towns, of its size, anywhere in Europe’. That is quite an accolade. He was not alone in his appreciation of the beauties of Kelso. Many visitors before and since, have written eloquently of the magnificent setting, in which Kelso lies.
Not long after Kelso Bridge was built in 1802, an Italian visitor stated that, if in Britain, it was worth making a trip to Kelso alone, to view the beautiful bridge there. Visitors today, struggle to see John Rennie’s masterpiece, the first bridge to be built with elliptical arches. Over the last 40 years, trees have slowly grown up obscuring the view. More worrying perhaps, is the damage that some of these trees could be doing to the bridge structure, as some trees are actually in direct contact with the bridge itself. Hopefully soon, funds will be found to coppice some of the trees, closest to the bridge.
4. Kelso’s Historic Features
A walk over survey, carried out by two of the Heritage Society Trustees, identified a significant number of historic features, old building details and old street signs, which would benefit from conservation or restoration. The list of potential conservation works generated is extensive, and in order to progress such a programme, will require to be broken down into manageable stages. This will allow phased applications for funding. In many instances, progress will be dependent on establishing the ownership of buildings and property and on negotiations with the property owners. This project will link closely with the proposed update and expansion of the Kelso Town Trail Booklet.
5. Kelso Town Trail Booklet & Map
A Kelso Town Trail, with historic information plaques and leaflets, was established over 30 years ago, in conjunction with Scottish Borders Council and a number of community based organisations in town. The trail is in urgent need of an upgrade. Kelso Heritage Society, plans to work with local organisations who have an interest in promoting the town. A new town trail booklet and map are proposed. The use of social media to tell Kelso’s story, will also be explored.