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FOCUS ON THE KELSO AREA Beverley Brown highlights the many lifestyle attractions on offer in and around Kelso and Jedburgh
Overlooking Kelso from the Millenium Viewpoint
Lying in a fertile valley between the Lammermuir Hills and the Cheviots, only a few miles from the English border, Kelso is a historic town with more than its fair share of ancient monuments alluding to past centuries when the town, like many others in the region, was involved in Border wars and skirmishes. The 18th century cobbled market square, once the main hub of activity for what continues to be a largely agricultural community, is now a conservation area and starting point for the Town Trail, which gives a fascinating insight into local buildings of historic and architectural interest, including the Town Hall, which stands on the site of the old Tolbooth, and the Cross Keys Hotel, a former coaching inn built in 1761.
The diversity of architecture in this part of the Borders is a major attraction. On the outskirts of Kelso is the magnificent 18 th century Floors Castle. Designed by William Adam in 1721, it’s Scotland’s largest inhabited house and the ancestral home of the Duke of Roxburghe. Other outstanding buildings include Mellerstain House, a Georgian stately home to the north of the town designed by William and Robert Adam which is open to the public; the well preserved 15th century Smailholm Tower; and the remains of the 12th century Kelso Abbey. Modern Kelso is an attractive place to live; Sir Walter Scott once described it as ‘the most beautiful if not the most romantic village in Scotland’.
While no longer a village, Kelso has retained its appearance along with its character and cultural heritage. Here, the local property market spans everything from modern flats, luxury apartments and one-off houses, to traditional flats and terraced styles, picturesque rural cottages and larger stone-built houses from the Georgian and Victorian eras. In addition to its mix of house styles to suit all age groups and prices ranges, Kelso has an outstanding range of facilities and amenities, including primary and secondary schools, shops, restaurants, sports facilities – including a 25-metre swimming pool - and clubs for everything from gliding and curling to arts and bridge.
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Being in the Borders this is rugby country, but the town also lists parks and riverside walkways, athletics, badminton, cricket, tennis, cycling, hockey, trout and salmon fishing, football, swimming and golf as just some of the leisure opportunities available. Unique among Border towns, Kelso also has an ice rink and a racecourse, home of National Hunt racing and a well-known venue for steeple chasing and point-to-point races. For these reasons – and many more besides – the town and surrounding villages offer a lifestyle much favoured by house buyers. According to BSPC executive member Ron Hastings, of Hastings Property Shop in Kelso, ‘location, location, location’ may be an old cliche but it remains the key factor when it comes to that all-important decision and for many this area still ticks all the boxes.
The River Tweed, Kelso
Kelso Abbey and Memorial
“The Borders is a desirable area with Kelso and Jedburgh both rightly considered the jewel in the Crown – and even more so in the summer months when the sun comes out and everything looks at its best,” he says. “This year has been no exception and the better weather has brought a welcome increase in activity in the property market from buyers who discover the Borders - and the Kelso and Jedburgh area in particular – is a great place to live.” He adds: “While sales on average are taking longer to complete than they did a few years ago, patient sellers will be rewarded - and can be reassured the problem is generally not the property or local conditions but wider economic factors affecting buyers who may be willing, but not able, to buy until they sell elsewhere.
As to the future, we don’t expect a new price boom or bust. Overall, conditions are not likely to change much for a few years but we are confident that when it does occur and pent-up demand is set free, the ‘prophets of doom’ will be proved wrong.” Predictably, given its variety of attractions, Kelso currently offers a good choice of new build property and local housebuilder M&J Ballantyne has several high profile developments available in the town. Just off Shedden Park, in the centre of the town, Sutherland Gardens is a small niche development of only eight, individually designed and traditionally styled four and five bedroom detached houses, each with its own character and features.
Floors Castle, Kelso
With so few properties available sales here were predictably brisk. As a result only one remains, a five bedroomed Bowring for sale at £483,250, which has the unusual feature of an en suite guest bedroom wing above the double garage. Overlooking the River Tweed on the edge of the town, East Broomlands is another M&J Ballantyne development, now in its second phase of 76 houses. Designed to have widespread appeal for families, there are nine house types available in a choice of three, four and five bedroomed styles including bungalows – the Paxton, a particularly well designed and attractive bungalow with three bedrooms and an integral garage, priced at £299,500. M&J Ballantyne also has a new development of just 20 properties in total at North Broomlands. Bordered to the north by woodland, all the houses on this former estate site will have the advantage of a rural environment, yet it’s only a few minutes walk to Broomlands Primary School and only a short walk to the town centre. Two, three and four bedroom properties are planned for this site in a choice of three styles. Currently available is a Mowbray two bedroomed bungalow at £162,500 – designed with attic trusses to give the option of extending now or at a later stage to make a four bedroomed home at £186,250; a three bedroomed semi-detached Bailey that offers great value for money at £142,750; and a three bedroomed semi-detached Peel style with en suite facilities at £149,950.
The village of Ancrum
Smailholm Tower, Near Kelso
Last but not least, back in the centre of Kelso, only a one-minute walk from the Square, Bowmont Street is a contemporary development of two and three bedroomed apartments. Finished to a high specification, features here include secure residents’ parking and a landscaped inner courtyard. Only seven apartments are available and prices start at £119,200 – a Shared Equity Scheme is available, which makes these flats especially attractive for first time buyers.
To be called Queens Court, this will be a small and select site with only 23 properties in total, made up of three bedroomed semi-detached styles and three, four and five bedroomed detached.
JS Crawford is another long established (third generation) Borders-based housebuilder. Its most popular development to date is Wallaceneuk, an elevated site on the south side of Kelso that offers stunning views across to the abbey, Floors Castle, Kelso Bridge and the famous Junction Pool, where the rivers Tweed and Teviot merge.
Nowadays it’s better known as the birthplace of the Coldstream Guards, which has since been amalgamated into the Royal Regiment of Scotland. Coldstream is well positioned for access to Berwick-upon-Tweed and access to the rail network that links Edinburgh and Newcastle.
Now nearing the end of its final phase, only six properties remain – three built, including one, three bedroomed detached house ready for immediate entry and priced at £174,900; and three still to be built and available off-plan with completion envisaged in six-eight months time. Prices for these remaining properties range from £159,000 for a three bedroomed semi-detached style up to £259,000 for a large four bedroomed detached property.
Also on the border – albeit on opposite banks of the Bowmont River – are the picturesque villages of Town Yetholm and Kirk Yetholm, the latter home to the famous Yetholm Gypsies. A commemorative standing stone on the village green dedicated to the gypsies, that also officially marks the end of the Pennine Way, a challenging long-distance walk that begins in Derbyshire and winds its way through three National Parks before crossing the border into Scotland at Kirk Yetholm.
When the Wallaceneuk site is finally completed, JS Crawford will be starting work on a proposed new development in Kelso, just down from the racecourse.
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North east of Kelso, the town of Coldstream lies on the boundary between Scotland and England and once rivalled Gretna as a base for runaway couples looking to marry under Scotland’s more lenient laws.
Jedburgh Town Centre
Built on either side of the Jed Water, the Royal Burgh of Jedburgh is another popular Borders town with a history that spans many centuries. The famous abbey, founded by King David I in 1138, has the distinction of being the most complete surviving abbey in the Borders – despite having been set on fire nine times. Jedburgh is similar in layout to Edinburgh’s Old Town in that it has a long high street terminating with Jedburgh Castle Jail and Museum at its highest point. The town centre is a conservation area boasting more than 130 listed properties, a number of which are category A (buildings of national or international importance, either architectural or historic, or little-altered examples of a particular period, style or building type). The history of this attractive town is highlighted at a visitor centre based in a fortified house that played host to Mary Queen of Scots in 1566. The A68 cuts a swathe through Jedburgh providing direct access north to Galashiels, Melrose and Edinburgh and south, through Northumberland National Park, where it joins the A69 linking Carlisle and Newcastle. The town itself offers a diverse choice of property, its buildings ranging from historic and quirky to traditional and modern, while the surrounding countryside offers opportunities for one-off houses and rural conversions.
Nearby Morebattle, seven miles south of Kelso and on the banks of the River Kale, is typical of many Border villages, with a picturesque main street, village hall, primary school and shops.
Horse Racing at Kelso Races
Ancrum is another popular village within easy reach of Jedburgh. Here, Duke’s Field is a popular rural development of traditionally built three and four bedroomed semi and detached house styles and larger five and six bedroomed houses. Of the 43 houses built here, only four detached houses remain in a choice of four, five and six bedroomed styles priced at £185,000, £199,000 and £235,000 respectively. Some plots may also be available on this development. Jedburgh offers a wide choice of sports and outdoor activities, from golf, horseriding, angling and cycling, to unique attractions like Harestanes Countryside Centre and Jedforest Deer and Farm Park. Other facilities include pre-school, primary and Jedburgh Grammar School, local shops and restaurants, healthcare – all the necessities of life with the added benefit of scenic rural surroundings. Although Jedburgh and Kelso are both less than 50 miles from Edinburgh, which can be easily reached via the A68 and the city bypass, the planned reinstatement of the Waverley rail line extending from Edinburgh to Tweedbank will make this part of the Borders more widely accessible and increase its desirability with city commuters.
Superior homes in the Kelso Area by M&J Ballantyne
The village name means ‘the dwelling on the lake’, which refers to a sizeable loch that used to exist between Morebattle and the village of Linton. St Cuthbert’s Way, another long-distance route popular with walkers, passes through Morebattle on its way from Melrose to Lindisfarne.
Mary Queen of Scots House, Jedburgh
LOCAL BSPC MEMBER FIRMS Charles & R.B. Anderson W.S. Royal Bank Buildings, 38 High Street, Jedburgh, TD8 6AG Tel. 01835 863202 Fax. 01835 864016 Email. email@example.com Website. www.charlesrbanderson.co.uk
Hastings & Co. 15 The Square, Kelso, TD5 7HH Tel. 01573 226999 Fax. 01573 229219 Email. firstname.lastname@example.org Website. www.hastingslegal.co.uk
Hastings Property Shop, Kelso 28 The Square, Kelso, TD5 7HH Tel. 01573 225999 Fax. 01573 229888 Email. email@example.com Website. www.hastingslegal.co.uk
Borders Country Lets 30 Woodmarket, Kelso, TD5 7AX Tel. 01573 229887 Fax. 01573 229888 Email. firstname.lastname@example.org Website. www.hastingslegal.co.uk
Lindsays 26 High Street, Jedburgh, TD8 6AE Tel. 01835 862391 Fax. 01835 862017 Email. email@example.com Website. www.lindsays.co.uk
Stormonth Darling W.S.
Sutherland Gardens, Kelso See page 15
East Broomlands, Kelso See page 25 Kirk Yetholm
North Broomlands, Kelso
Bank of Scotland Building, The Square, Kelso, TD5 7HQ Tel. 01573 224143 Fax. 01573 225706 Email. firstname.lastname@example.org Website. www.stormonthdarling.co.uk
TAITS 10 The Square, Kelso, TD5 7HJ Tel: 01573 224311 Fax: 01573 225858 Email: email@example.com Website. www.taitskelso.co.uk
See page 49
Bowmont Street, Kelso See page 59
Telephone: 01573 224255 www.mjballantyne.co.uk Overlooking the Town of Jedburgh
The Championship Roxburghe Golf Course
Images courtesy of Visit Scotland Borders, Scottish Viewpoint - www.scottishviewpoint.com, Hastings & Co, Kelso and Digital Image
Published on Jul 5, 2011
A lifestyle location for all reasons and seasons. BSPC highlights the many lifestyle attractions on offer in and around Kelso and Jedburgh i...