Priorwood Garden teacher information

​Priorwood Garden has a fine orchard, woodland garden, herb garden and flower borders.

The orchard contains many different apple trees (all labelled), ranging from heritage to present-day varieties. These grow alongside other trees that have historical associations with the local area, including mulberry, medlar, crabs, scroggs, plums, gages and pears.

The new woodland garden allows pupils to learn about evergreens and deciduous woody plants. Younger pupils may investigate leaf shapes, textures and colour. 

The herb garden is a reminder of Melrose Abbey – the Cistercian monks used herbs for medicinal and culinary purposes.

Harmony and Priorwood Gardens are 300 metres from each other, and are cared for by the same Trust staff. A class can visit both gardens within half a day. 

The school visit offers opportunities for cross-curricular work and engaging with the Curriculum for Excellence:

  • Particular topics can be arranged for the garden, orchard, woodland and herb garden.
  • We offer a variety of activities, including studying plants, looking at trees, and investigating shapes and textures.
  • We have a unique collection of apple trees at Priorwood – celebrate Apple Day with us in October.
  • There are horticultural experts on site – pupils and teachers can learn all they need to know about creating or caring for a school garden.

Possible topics  

  • Studying plants and trees
  • Gardening

Resources for schools

  • Interpretive panels within the garden
  • Illustrated guidebook
  • Children’s trail 

Planning your class visit

  • To book: please contact us on 01896 209504 or email priorwood@nts.org.uk.
  • Book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • Priorwood Garden is open for school visits all year round.
  • Maximum class size: 30 pupils, with a ratio of 1 teacher/adult helper to 10 pupils
  • Some activities will be led by Trust staff and some will be teacher-led. This can be discussed when booking your visit.
  • Access: there is full access to and in the garden, although some paths are gravelled and grassy areas may be difficult for wheelchair users.
  • Toilets: there are accessible public toilets about 150 metres away from the garden entrance.
  • Parking: there is a large public car/coach park opposite Priorwood Garden, in the centre of Melrose.
  • Refreshments: the garden is ideal for picnics, with both grassy areas and picnic tables. It’s a safe enclosed area.
  • Clothing: pupils should be dressed appropriately for the outdoors.
  • The site has been risk assessed. Teachers should prepare their own risk assessment for the visit.
  • Further information about planning your class visit can be found on our School visits page.

Charges

  • There’s no admission charge for schools with Trust educational membership.
  • Non-member schools are welcome but there’s an admission charge of £1 per pupil.
  • Accompanying adults are admitted free.
  • All class teachers are encouraged to make a free preparatory visit.

During your class visit

  • On arrival: please bring your pupils to the garden entrance where you’ll be met by a member of our team.
  • A garden tour can take up to 45 minutes. If your pupils are doing a walk and an activity, then please allow at least 1 hour. If you’re also going to Harmony Garden, then allow 1½–2 hours for your visit. Exact times can be discussed when booking your visit.
  • A class will be split into 2 groups for some activities. The groups may be led by Trust staff – or one group may be teacher-led (depending on staff availability). Please discuss this when booking your visit.
  • Teachers are responsible for their pupils and their behaviour.
  • Pupils are welcome to take photos/films.
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