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Kelso Abbey Community Orchard

Kelso Abbey Community Orchard occupies a small area of land at near the river at Mayfield, Kelso. It is within the boundary of the old Abbey.

It is planted with over a dozen apple and pear trees, and from February 2022, is marked with a magnificent carved stone depicting a monk collecting apples, with the crests of King David I and Malcolm IV on the opposite side.

The Orchard Stone

During the spring 2020 ‘lockdown’ staff at Mayfield Garden Centre planted bulbs round the trees and along the borders of the site. At present we have a magnificent display of Gladioli and we look forward to a wonderful display of crocus, daffodils and lilies in the spring. That is if the rabbits don’t eat them all first!!

Grass Cutting is being carried out by Graham of G’s Garden Services who originally volunteered during the ‘lockdown’ to cut the grass and is now more than happy to continue. Thank you Graham

Looking to the future

We plan to form a group –‘Friends of Kelso Abbey Community Orchard’

For a small annual fee or volunteering in-kind the friends could

  • Promote the Orchard
  • Fund Raise
  • Help to Organise Events
  • Do a little weeding etc.
  • Prune the trees
  • Generally look out for the Orchard

A membership form will appear on this page in the near future

How the Orchard was created

In 2019 Kelso Heritage Society began formal discussions with Scottish Borders Council to lease a piece of land at Mayfield to create a community heritage orchard on ground which formed part of the old Kelso Abbey Orchard. We planned to develop this area and plant heritage varieties of fruit trees of the sort that might have been planted by the monks who founded the Abbey. We have maps of the area from 1823, which show an orchard still existed at that time, although the Abbey itself was by then in ruins.

Our orchard project will be of great benefit to the community. People will learn about the heritage of Kelso Abbey Orchard and we will maintain open access for recreation purposes.

Part of the negotiations process with Scottish Borders Council required us to consult widely with the local community. As a result of the consultation we have offers from a number of volunteers to help plan, plant and maintain the orchard, including pruning the trees, and we will link to other community orchards and heritage gardens across the Borders.

The longer term plans involve organising family days, fruit picking and pressing days, with all fruit picked being sold to raise funds for the maintenance of the area.

The piece of land is within the scheduled monument of Kelso Abbey and Historic Environment Scotland requested some archaeological investigation before they would grant permission to develop the area. Further details of the archaeological work are on a separate page.

Grateful thanks to The Heritage Lottery Fund for providing a Grant of £8,900.00 to enable the investigations to take place.

The project has been successfully completed with 16 Heritage Apple and Pear Trees being planted in early February 2020 by the Students from Borders Agricultural College assisted by children from Broomlands, Edenside, Ednam and Sprouston Primary Schools. We have more details of the planting work, and details of the trees planted on separate pages.

Going forward volunteers will maintain the orchard with fundraising taking place for the purchase of materials etc. The children have adopted all of the Trees and have assured us they will come back to watch their growth.