History of the Braid Hills

Background

The Braid Hills is a large semi-natural green space in the south of Edinburgh around 3.5 miles from the centre of the city. The hills rise to a height of 675 feet and offer the best views of the city with spectacular panoramic views across Edinburgh and beyond. They are partially covered with whin and patches of bramble.

 

The Hills are mainly used by walkers and golfers using the 18-hole and 9-hole courses. It is also the only park in the city where horse riding is permitted. There is a network of paths, trails and bridal paths, but some of these have deteriorated with use or have become inaccessible due to the spread of gorse. The Friends group are working on improving accessability.

 

In 1995, a stone cairn was erected on the highest point of the hills with a circular viewfinder. This maps the distance of a number of landmarks that can be seen in all directions from the top of the hills. It was designed and funded by local residents, George Russell and John Bartholomew. The original viewfinder was damaged and the Friends group recently organised its replacement.

 

Geology

The Braid Hills are composed of Devonian volcanic rocks, similar to those in the Pentland Hills to the south. These differ from the Carboniferous plugs and intrusions which form all of the city's other hills, with the exception of Blackford Hill.

 

There are the remains of several quarries around the north eastern and west edges of the Braid Hills, where stone such as claystone and feldspar was extracted.

 

History and heritage

The Braids were purchased by the Edinburgh Corporation in 1890 with authorisation from the Edinburgh and Police Extension Act “to be used in all time coming for the purpose of a public park and pleasure and recreation ground for the use of the inhabitants of Edinburgh”. At that time the transaction did not include the whole of the Braids as we know them today and some 22 acres along the Liberton Road were leased.

 

Click on the buttons below for memories and stories or pictures of the Braid Hills and the surrounding area