The Solway landscape is ancient. Thousands of years ago, melting glaciers scoured the land, creating a series of humps and hollows on this otherwise low lying land in which, over time, lowland bogs began to form. Eventually, settlers began to gradually farm this hostile area, until in 1150 the Cistercian monks of Melrose Abbey decided to build an abbey at Holme Cultram and transformed this land through their economic activities. After the dissolution of the monasteries, farming, economic activity and settlement continued, practices which shaped the land and culture and created the distinctive heritage of the Solway that we see today.

The legacy of this history is all around us: it’s in the names of the villages, the stories local people can tell and under the ground beneath our feet.

Find out more about our programme of archaeology, some of the special landscape features of the Solway and discover the secrets of Holme Cultram Abbey