Because we are better together
About our communities
Abbey St Bathans, Bonkyl and Preston are in East Berwickshire, a rural part of the Scottish Borders about 50 miles south of Edinburgh and 80 miles north of Newcastle. The closest town is Duns, and if you want to take the train you have to cross the border to Berwick-Upon-Tweed or trabel to the Scottish Borders capital Galashiels about an hour drive away.
Our main industries are farming and tourism. The Borders is a popular holiday destination, especially with walkers and nature-lovers, offering quiet roads and beautiful countryside.AbbeyStBathansBonkylandPreston
Abbey St. Bathans
Abbey St. Bathans is a small village in a wooded valley, with a characterful popular old hall that is available to hire. Sadly, almost all trace of the Priory (there has never been an Abbey despite the name) has disappeared, but this is still a popular place with visitors, especially walkers. It is on both the Southern Upland Way, Scotland’s coast-to-coast route, and the Sir Walter Scott Way, which runs between Moffat and Cockburnspath. The River Whiteadder runs through Abbey St. Bathans, offering excellent brown trout fishing. Nearby is Edin’s Hall Broch, one of the few Iron Age brochs (hollow-walled drystone structures) in lowland Scotland.
Bonkyl (also known, over the years, as Boncle, Bonkil, Buncle and Bunkle) is thought to have been a settlement since the early 13th century. However, little remains now except some traces of the castle and the pretty Church of Scotland kirk, which dates back to the 1820s. Services are still held there, and it is a popular venue for weddings.
Preston, the biggest village in our community, houses the recently refurbished hall which hosts local activities and is also available to hire. On the right, when approaching from Duns, stands whitewashed Cumledge Mill and Cumledge House, all that remains of the large Laidlaw Blanket Mill which once exported high quality woollen blankets across the globe. It unfortunately ceased trading in 1954 and was later demolished after never quite recovering from both the substantial damage of the August 1948 floods, and the increasing use of quilts and duvets. Opposite Cumledge Mill are the fascinating ruins of the Old Kirk & graveyard, however, the bottom Cemetery is still in use.
Just outside the village on the B6355 road to Chirnside is Neil Logan’s Bridge, spanning Preston Burn, which records date back to 1775. This is now a listed building as it was enclosed to create a jailor cuddy, its toilet being a hole in the floor above the Burn! It is named after the last person to be held there, for the heinous crime of sheep-stealing.
What do we do?
There are over 60 community councils in the Scottish Borders. They represent their local areas, dealing with public sector organisations like Scottish Borders Council (SBC), NHS Borders and the Scottish Government, and utility companies such as ScottishPower, Scottish Water and BT.
Abbey St Bathans, Bonkyl and Preston Community Council meets regularly to discuss matters such as:
- Planning applications (go to the Contact us page to give us your comments on local planning matters)
- Public consultations
- Local services
- Issues raised by groups and individuals in our area
- Award small grants to local projects from Windfarm Community Benefit Payments we receive directly on behalf of the community.
See the Community Funds page to find out more about Community Benefit Payments & applying for grants.
Who are we?
The current members of our Community Council are:
Victoria Dobie, David Morrison, Pip Chandler, Allister Hart, Iva Usalj, Hamish Goldie-Scott, Charlotte Dobie, James Dobie, James Robson and Andy Rosher.
We are currently looking for additional members to be co-opted onto the committee for specific roles or for additional input. Community Councillors are volunteers and are proud to follow the Scottish Borders Council Community Councillor Code of Conduct.
When do we meet?
We usually meet on the fourth Thursday of most months of the year, weather permitting. All of our future meetings are in our diary.
We welcome members of the public who wish to attend. These meetings are usually attended by at least one of our SBC Councillors – John Greenwell, Donald Moffat & Mark Rowley.
To read in detail about our meetings got to the bottom of the page where you will find our latest Minutes.
Our coat of arms
We are very proud of our coat of arms which appears at the top of each page of this website. Valerie Marchand, then aged 11years, designed it, winning a competition we ran with the local primary school. It represents all three of our communities, the fish is the Whiteadder link, the hall shows the communities, and the kirk indicates the original Priory at Abbey St Bathans & the various historical church links, plus the present church links.
Please browse through topics of discussion from our previous meetings.