Walkerburn District

Scheme information

Walkerburn is a village situated on the A72 about 8 miles east of Peebles and 10 miles west of Galashiels, in the scenic Tweed Valley. The village is set partially on the south- facing slope of the valley’s north side and partly on the flat land by the flood plain of the River Tweed. It was founded in 1854 to house the mill workers for Caberston mill, owned by Henry Ballantyne. The village was originally called Caberston after the mill and pre- existing farmstead but was later renamed Walkerburn after the fast-flowing Walker Burn which cuts into the steep valley side. The name may have been derived from the process of “waulking” the woollen cloth, indicating that woollen textile manufacture existed as a cottage industry in the Tweed Valley long before it was reproduced on an industrial scale in Walkerburn. Walkerburn was an expanding industrial village of 1,200 people, providing hundreds of jobs, and served by a railway station as well as shops, a church, a school, a village hall and a rugby club, which still survives. The village gradually lost all of its textile mills, its railway service and its church. By the 1990s the village was one of the most deprived localities in Scottish Borders, suffering from multiple deprivation, particularly income, employment and health deprivation, and poor connectivity to Galashiels, Peebles and Edinburgh. Gradual improvements to the A72 have benefited Walkerburn by improving safety and reducing travel times along the Tweed Valley. Walkerburn was designated as a Regeneration Area and underwent a 3 year programme to transform it into a thriving destination. The village was rebranded as a desirable and convenient place for families to live, with its scenic rural location in the Tweed Valley Forest Park, yet situated less than 40 miles’ commuting distance from Edinburgh. The popularity of outdoor activities in the Tweed Valley, particularly mountain biking, wildlife tourism, fishing, walking and horse- riding, has benefited Walkerburn’s regeneration. Additionally, Walkerburn retains many features which add historical interest to the village’s architectural and social heritage. The proximity of Walkerburn to the luxury-end housing markets in Innerleithen and Cardrona have counted greatly in the village’s favour and there is now sufficient demand for housing in Walkerburn for the Scottish Borders Structure Plan to recommend the village as an area suitable for redevelopment, particularly around the old mill and Caberston Farm. The 2011 Census showed that the trend towards an ageing population is now being reversed, with a higher proportion of working-age people than previously registered in the village. The school roll in 75-pupil capacity Walkerburn Primary School was 34 in 2010 and had dropped to 32 by September 2013. However, this is projected to increase to an estimated 45 by 2019 as new families are expected to move into the village. The village benefits from the development of Innerleithen and Glentress as popular cycling and walking resorts, and is very keen to expand multi-purpose outdoor trails in the scenic woodlands to the north of Walkerburn. The village welcomes an increasing proportion of seasonal residents in the interests of economic regeneration but retains its strong sense of community identity and is opposed to being identified as a “City Region” satellite of Edinburgh. The village is prone to flooding at the southern end in the Tweed valley flood plain and to flash-flooding around the Walker Burn. The A72 Galashiels Road is also prone to flooding and to hazards caused by surface water.

Scheme website