Roxburgh Castle
Castle Kelso Borders

Roxburgh Castle

Castle In Kelso, Borders

Ruin near Kelso overlooking the River Tweed, in the grounds of Floors Castle.

On our recent trip to the borders we did our usual scouring of maps to find out where to visit, and Roxburgh Castle popped up. There didn't seem an awful lot there but when we were in the Kelso area, we visited as part of a longer walk. When we arrived, we found there was no obvious path and no information boards, but access to the castle is permitted. That's if you want to!

The castle is on a very steep, near vertical hill and as we got closer to the top we were surrounded by chest high nettles, slippy surfaces and had no real idea where to go. The only parts we could fathom were the gateway to the castle and an archway that overlooked the Teviot, after that most of the piles of stones were unidentifiable really. There were also sheer drops on either side, though you will see fantastic views of Floors Castle to the north if you head up to the highest point. The castle is probably worth seeing just for it's history, but I was glad to get back to the riverside without tumbling down the hill into the old moat.

So, here is a condensed version of the history of Roxburgh to see what all the fuss is about. The castle was originally founded by King David I of Scotland in around 1128 as a wooden castle. The site was chosen for it's position on a hill, overlooking both the River Tweed and the River Teviot. It was expanded and modified by subsequent generations of kings over many years.

The castle changed hands several times over the next few centuries, during the skirmishes between the English and the Scots. Throughout the 14th century, it was hard to keep up with who the castle belonged to, as it swapped hands 6 times.

It was the 15th century when some of the most significant moments in history happened at the castle. At the end of the 14th century, the English had control over the castle again and there were a number of unsuccessful attempts by the Scots to regain power there. In 1417 King Henry V made extensive repairs to the castle, which probably had a few holes in at this point.

In 1460, there was another siege on the castle by the Scots. King James II of Scotland tried to regain control again, however, a cannon used to destroy the castle walls exploded close to him and he was killed. His son James III was quickly made king and the Scots attacked Roxburgh again. This time the entire English garrison was killed. Presumably both sides were exhausted at fighting over the castle at this point, and the castle was slighted (deliberately destroyed).

The castle was then left to ruin for nearly 90 years. The English later reoccupied the castle, but in 1551 at the Treaty of Norham, a clause stated that the rebuilt castle should be demolished. After 1560 it was never rebuilt.

So, if you're feeling brave and want to earn yourself 4 points on the Fab North leaderboard, take a trip to Roxburgh Castle. Good walking boots are definitely recommended! Roxburgh is actually in the grounds of Floors Castle, which is also well worth a visit and far easier to get around.

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How To Find Roxburgh Castle

Where Is Roxburgh Castle?

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Lat / Long

55.597361, -2.455207

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Where To Park For Roxburgh Castle?

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Lat / Long

55.595125, 55.595125

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There is space for a couple of cars in a layby on the A699. The castle is just a short walk through a field, though there is no official entrance into the castle.

Contributed by Sandra Clemens

I love the great outdoors and have been a National Trust & English Heritage member for years. I also love going off the beaten track and finding places like Sharp's Folly or Rothley Castle which are hidden gems in Northumberland. My favourite recent hike was climbing Red Screes in the Lake District on a whim, not fully grasping how high 776m was. It was still an achievement to conquer a Wainwright walk and I hope to do more one day.

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Sandra Clemens

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Roxburgh Castle was listed in Castle // Borders // Kelso