Waterloo Monument, Nisbet, Scottish Borders

Waterloo Monument Nisbet circular route

The Waterloo Monument, Nisbet is a very prominent feature of the countryside between Jedburgh and Kelso. This circular walk is a little gem and another one that features in the Scottish Borders 40 Favourite Walks book. We did a slight change by starting from Woodside Garden Centre, following a bacon butty from their coffee shop.

Standing in the car park with your back to the garden centre wall you need to take the path to the top left of the car park signposted for St Cuthberts Way. In a few metres you join this long-distance route and turn right, crossing the Nisbet road and keeping straight ahead. Turn left over the bridge, following the St Cuthbert's route until you come to the drive to Monteviot, turn left.  There are some lovely trees in this woodland and, judging by the mewing of young buzzards, quite possibly a buzzard nest.

You soon return to the Nisbet road and need to cross it again going up towards the Gamekeeper's cottage. Before you get to the cottage follow the arrows on the path to the right and then keep to the right of the wood  up the hill.

It is worth turning round to look at the view across towards Hawick, the prominent hill is Ruberslaw. The late summer flowers, meadowsweet, knapweed and rosebay willowherb were looking lovely on the verge and proving very attractive to the pollinators.

Waterloo Monument appears

When you come to a minor road turn right and then into the woods on the left, again following the arrows up the hill. The first time you see the Waterloo Monument through the trees is possibly the best view of it. The path turns left and drops slightly before taking you across a stile and across an upland field to the top of Peniel Heugh, the site of the Waterloo Monument. Close-up the monument is an ugly brute of a building, but the view is immense: with the Cheviots to the south, the Eildons to the west and the Lammermuirs to the north.

From the top drop down quite a steep path towards the woods, enjoying the blue of the harebells and the yellow of the hawkbit. Climb another stile back into the woods, dropping down on a lovely path that is bordered by raspberry canes, at this time of the year just dripping with the fruit. Luckily I had a collecting bag, so brought some home for tea.

The path takes you back to the minor road and a small car park. Peter found a queen bumblebee on the road it was looking a bit lost, so he moved it and put it on some meadowsweet, where it looked much happier! You can take a short-cut back to the start if you walk down the drive from the car park which will take you back to the Gamekeepers cottage. It is worth turning right up the minor road, however, for the full walk as it takes you through some different habitats.

Farmland and a lake

This is a quiet road with excellent flower verges and yellowhammers singing away. You are now in arable country, with the corn well and truly ripening, even in late July. Turning round and looking back gives you another flattering view of the monument.

At the road junction turn left and continue enjoying the butterflies and the wildflowers. To the right of this road look across to the lake, at this time of year it had mute swans and greylag geese, but come winter there may well be some overwintering wildfowl. Pass the lake and eventually you come to the St Cuthberts Way, turn left to follow it through the woods.


This is lovely native woodland and is full of bird life. In summer they are difficult to see, but we managed to enjoy a family of treeecreepers flitting from tree to tree. You wind down through the woods over some footbridges and eventually you return to the signpost sending you back into the car park at Woodside.

Summer walks can  be a bit disappointing, with birds being elusive, the flora past its best the leaf cover on the trees hiding views. This walk therefore was a very pleasant surprise, with a real mix of habitats providing us with plenty of views and wildlife.

It was easy to navigate, using well-used tracks and quiet country roads. It maybe a bit wet through the woods after rain.

View to Ruberslaw
View to Ruberslaw
Rosebay willow herb and rowan berries
Rosebay willow herb and rowan berries
Harebells and hawkbit
Harebells and hawk bit close to the monument
Waterloo monument Nesbit
Looking back to the Waterloo Monument

Distance: 6.3km

Elevation: 225 metres

Difficulty: Medium

Date Walked: 30th July





  • Rowan berries
  • Rosebay willow herb
  • Knapweed
  • treecreepers
  • yellowhammers
  • peacock butterflies