Updated on 29 June, 2015

Self-Guided Walks

Walks around Corstorphine Hill

The 'woods' is the local name for the hill, the almost total tree-cover of its upper parts indicated by the darker green on the map. It is criss-crossed by numerous formal tracks and informal paths, the main ones are shown on the map. Recently the Friends arranged the installation of 10 waymarkers at strategic points on the Hill to help visitors find their way around the many paths. The locations of the waymarkers are shown on a waymarker map of 'Corstorphine Hill' Local Nature Reserve, viewed here as a pdf file (1MB). Walks are arranged by the Rangers Service and the Friends of Corstorphine Hill, mainly in the summer (see notice-boards).

In April 2014 the coast to coast John Muir Way for walkers and cyclists opened. It is waymarked along its entire length and the Corstorphine Hill Section is waymarked from the Balgreen Road entrance, to Rest and Be Thankful viewpoint, to the Tower, and then down to Clermiston Road past the Walled Garden.

North End of Corstorphine Hill

Along the west side of the hill, the slopes form very fine glaciated pavements on the top of the dolerite sill. Several small quarries show all the features of the dolerite: hard igneous rock, crystalline nature, cracks (joints), westerly dip. (There is nothing in the two large privately owned quarries which cannot be seen in the small quarries. Old wells, now fenced off for safety, tapped water in the cracked rock in valleys through the ridge. Take in the view-point to the west. The steeper eastern slopes, conceal the sedimentary rocks under the dolerite. They are well-seen in the Pavement Quarry, where flaggy siltstones dip west. These were baked by the heat of the intrusion making them ideal for use as flagstones. Other quarries show sandstones. Look for fossil shells and plant stems in the loose debris.


The ridge on the east side of Corstorphine Hill trends west to east. This is because the dolerite intrusion changes direction. The top slope of the sill forms the Zoo, and glaciated pavement on the top of the ridge. Access is restricted to a path between the Zoo and Murrayfield Golf Course. Look out for zebras, ostriches and antelopes in the African Plains enclosure of the Zoo. Closely spaced are fine view points to the north, east and south, the latter known as Rest-and-be-thankful, where travellers paused to take in their first glimpse of Edinburgh and before the last leg of their journey.

Corstorphine Hill Tower

Public access from the Clerwood bus terminus. Go left, north, along Clermiston Road, for 100 metres, cross and take the gated track, uphill past the old walled garden on the right to the Tower on top of the hill. The Tower can also be reached easily from the Cairnmuir Road / Kaimes Road carpark.