The walkway passes through many areas of interest, including: Colinton Village and Dell, the Union Canal, Saughton Winter Gardens, Murrayfield Stadium, the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, Dean Village, Stockbridge, the Royal Botanic Garden and Leith. Ideal for family walks, the walkway is a delightful afternoon’s stroll, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The route is suitable for cycling and is accessible in part by wheelchairs and even by horseback.
The power provided by the rapid flow of the river was harnessed to drive waterwheels in mills at over 70 sites along the river, establishing a string of villages. The mills produced a variety of goods for Edinburgh and further afield including, paper, flour, woollen and linen cloths, spices and snuff. The people of Edinburgh have, for centuries, had close links with the Water of Leith. In the past, the river played a crucial role in developing Edinburgh as an industrial city. Long before the construction of an artificial harbour, the tidal mouth of the river provided a haven for ships, allowing the Port of Leith to flourish as a focus for shipping. Notable imports and exports through Leith included timber, wine, esparto grass for paper and, of course, whisky.
The Port also became a focus for shipbuilding and whaling. During these industrial times, the river was grossly polluted. However, as the mills closed and sewers were constructed, the river was able to regenerate and recover. Now, the only remaining relics are weirs, lade streams, millstones and mill buildings scattered along the river valley.
There is an excellent 20 part audio trail which you can download in sections to listen to as you walk or ride.