Coldingham Priory and Community Garden

A scheme for the conservation and interpretation of Coldingham Priory ruins, and the creation of a community garden within the grounds

This important, and much needed, project was developed by a partnership including Tweed Forum, the Friends of Coldingham Priory, Scottish Borders Council and Archaeology Scotland. Nearly half a million pounds was raised from a range of different sources including the Heritage Lottery fund, Historic Scotland, Scottish Borders Council and SNH. The first stage was the landscaping of the Community Garden in 2009.

The garden reflects its historic setting with planting of flowering shrubs and small, old varieties of fruit trees where the monks would have grown fruit, vegetables, medicinal herbs and kept bees. These areas will attract butterflies and the local primary school will also use it as an eco-resource. A circular stone seat with the cross of St Cuthbert marked out in Caithness stone is a central feature. Coldingham Priory has been called the Cinderella of the Border abbeys and whilst the restored choir is incorporated in the still-used mediaeval church, the ruins around about were in urgent need of consolidation. Whilst a very significant structure in its day there is little to bring its scale and importance alive and the interpretation rectifies this.

The planned conservation measures included the careful consolidation of the ruined structures and the special treatment of the unique and unusual collection of carved stones. A series of educational workshops and other activities for children and adults took place alongside the conservation work.