Water of Leith Walkway

Water of Leith Walkway

Water of Leith Walkway


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.


Points of interest

Waverley Railway Station
Water of Leith Visitor Centre and Cafe
Discover the work of the Water of Leith Conservation Trust, with free interactive exhibition, volunteer-run cafe, gift shop & toilets. Open 7 days, 10am-4pm.
South Gyle Railway Station
Lauriston Castle
A beautiful 16th-century castle. You can view its furnished interior exactly as it was when it was left to the City of Edinburgh by its last private owner in 1926.
Haymarket Railway Station
Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is one of the most exciting historic sites in Western Europe. Set in the heart of Scotland's capital city it is sure to capture your imagination. The scenery will take your breath away.
Eagle Rock, Cramond
A weather-worn carving of an eagle, thought to date to the Roman occupation of Cramond.
Dalmeny Railway Station
Dalmeny House
Completed in 1817 and home to the 7th Earl and Countess of Rosebery, guided tours of the interior and art collections are available in June & July, Sun-Wed.
Cramond Island
If you’re feeling adventurous, a short walk along the causeway from Cramond village will take you to this tidal island. Used as a defensive site for centuries, there are WWII military barracks and evidence of a Roman fort on the island. Be aware of tide times before setting out on your journey!
Craiglockhart Hill Local Nature Reserve
Easter Craiglockhart Hill rises dramatically through cliff-faces and steeply wooded slopes to a plateau of rabbit-cropped turf, featuring views out over the Forth, the Trossachs, the Pentlands and East Lothian.
Corstorphine Hill Local Nature Reserve
Corstorphine Hill is only 531 feet (161 metres) high. However, from all angles it presents a long low wood-covered ridge, rising above the western suburbs of Edinburgh: Corstorphine, Blackhall Murrayfield and Balgreen.


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