SIR Walter Scott’s famous Borders home has been saved by a £224,200 grant.

Abbotsford House, near Melrose, was forced to close to visitors on March 20 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

But fears over the property’s future have been soothed after an emergency grant from the National Lottery Heritage Emergency Fund.

The Abbotsford Trust’s chief executive Giles Ingram said: “Although we still anticipate there may be tough times ahead for us, the Heritage Emergency Fund grant is helping us to look to the future with more confidence.”

The money will help to pay for essential day-to-day costs – including salaries, utilities, garden upkeep and security.

The trust had feared that the absence of visitor income could mean losses of £350,000 or more this year alone.

At least 70,000 people visited the Category A-listed property last year.

It is renowned internationally as the prototype of Scots Baronial architecture.

Mr Ingram said: “Abbotsford is not only one of Scotland’s most significant heritage icons, it is also a crucial linchpin to supporting the local and regional economy across the whole of the South of Scotland.”

He added: “We can’t wait to welcome our visitors, friends and neighbours back again and are carefully following announcements from the Scottish Government for guidance on when we can reopen.”