The Historic Battlefield

Prestonpans Battlefield is registered by Historic Environment Scotland as a site of national significance on the Inventory of Historic Battlefields. Since its foundation the Trust has sought to increase access and interpretation across the battlefield area, and to campaign for its protection from insensitive development. This aspect of the Trust’s work will continue.

The battlefield possesses a number of important heritage assets, including five stone monuments. The earliest of these is a large obelisk erected in honour of Colonel James Gardiner in 1853, and the most recent are two memorial tables dedicated to the fallen soldiers of each army in 2018.
The Trust has installed a number of interpretation panels around the battlefield, with directional signage in both English and Gaelic.

A downloadable mobile app facilitates self-guided exploration across the site and the associated historic waggonway route. An artificial pyramid – known as the Battle Bing – serves as the central viewpoint.

The Trust currently operates leases on the viewpoint summit, the Colonel Gardiner Monument, and the doocot at Bankton House. The latter was reopened in 2017 to feature an audio-visual display using a bespoke animated short film narrating the life of Colonel Gardiner, who once owned the adjacent house. It operates as an unmanned visitor facility and is free to access.

The Trust also runs walking tours, school visits and special events on the battlefield. As part of the Trust’s future vision, activities on the battlefield will be increased as we aim to train a team of volunteer guides to offer walks around the battlefield.

Once open, the living history centre will serve as a hub for such activities, providing essential support facilities for groups and visitors (which are currently lacking in the battlefield area). The centre will be carefully designed to interact appropriately with the historic battlefield, using views and access routes as appropriate to facilitate access and understanding. It will remain possible to visit the battlefield and doocot independently of the living history centre.