About the Trail

A brief description about the Duns Town Trail and what to expect from the walk

The full Town Trail is approximately 5.5 km (3 miles) and should take about 2 hours to complete. Of course, this can be shortened by referring to the Town map.

The Trail is marked by black plaques, which correspond to the information on this app. As you follow the Trail you will also pass buildings that are not in the app, but will also add to your enjoyment. As some of the plaques are on private houses, we would ask you to respect the owners privacy.

Included in the “app” are links to additional information about some of the buildings and subjects.

The Town of Duns

Duns — A Turbulent History

Being so close to the border with England, Duns has seen many armies pass through from as early as 1315, when King Robert the Bruce and his army were in 'The Park of Duns'.

In 1377 an English army invaded Scotland and camped in Duns. Local people are said to have shaken rattles, which caused the English horses to bolt. It may be from this event that the town derives its motto Duns Dings A, ding meaning to ‘deal' blows, or ‘beat or strike’. This usage dates from the 14th century according to the Scots Dictionary.

Duns was razed to the ground on three occasions, two of which were a part of Henry VIII’s 'Rough Wooing'.

Covenanting armies led by General Leslie were encamped on Duns Law in 1639 and 1640, then in 1650 Oliver Cromwell placed a garrison in Duns after the battle of Dunbar.

The Covenanters' Stone marking the spot where they camped is still on Duns Law.

Duns grew up as a market town, serving the increasingly prosperous local agricultural community in the 18th and 19th centuries. Located at the centre of the Merse — the rich, fertile lowland area between the Lammermuirs and the Cheviots — it attracted many rich merchants to the area to build grand houses and estates.

As with other Border towns, Duns has its annual Summer Festival. Each July a young man and woman are chosen to be the Reiver and the Reiver’s Lass.

The titles come from the Border Reivers, who were raiders along the Anglo-Scottish border from the late 13th century to the beginning of the 17th century.

You start your Town Trail in the Market Square

Start The Trail