5 of the best dog walking routes in Edinburgh

EDINBURGH is a great city for dog owners. There is a whole variety of parks, nature reserves and beaches for dogs and owners to visit.
The Hermitage of Braid is a popular dog-walking spot. Picture: Jon Savage/TSPLThe Hermitage of Braid is a popular dog-walking spot. Picture: Jon Savage/TSPL
The Hermitage of Braid is a popular dog-walking spot. Picture: Jon Savage/TSPL

In order to find out which places are the best, we asked a professional dog walker, Andrea Beveridge of Four Seasons Dog Walking, to name her favourites.

Here is her selection of idyllic locations where you and your dog can enjoy a walk together.

The Hermitage of Braid

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This lovely park takes its name from the Old Hermitage House, and has been designated as a local nature reserve. There are plenty of paths for you and your dog to explore, through woodland, scrubland and grassland. The Braid Burn is particularly picturesque on a sunny day, and a gentle stroll to the observatory is always pleasant.

You may spot some of the local wildlife on your walk – green woodpeckers, herons, kestrels and kingfishers are all known to inhabit the Hermitage.

The woodland is a fantastic place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. There have been trees on this site for over three hundred years, with some of the older trees reaching a height of forty metres. Local species abound, including beech, ash and sycamore.

The Hermitage is also home to Blackford Hill, which offers some stunning views of the city and the surrounding countryside.

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Calton Hill

This is one of Edinburgh’s most photographed spots, and is a part of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hill is dominated by an unfinished building, originally known as the “National Monument”, which was initiated in 1816, a year after Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo. The monument was supposed to be a replica of the Parthenon in Athens, but funds soon ran out and the project was never completed. The monument became known as “Edinburgh’s shame”, but despite being incomplete it is still rather impressive.

From the grass-covered slopes of the hill, you can see all across the city, and up towards Arthur’s Seat. The hill can be easily accessed from the centre of town, and is not near any main roads, so you can let your dog off the lead if you wish.

Colinton Dell

This steep-sided gorge is sheltered from the worst of the elements, making it an excellent habitat for Scottish wildlife. The path through the Dell goes alongside the Water of Leith, between Colinton Parish Church and Slateford. Colinton used to be a country village, before it was swallowed by the expanding city of Edinburgh.

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The Dell covers an area of 25 acres, encompassing mature and ancient woodland. Many birds and animals call the Dell their home, including amphibians, voles, stoats and, from time to time, roe deer.

The walkways go past the Redhall Mill and Kate’s mill, where people say Scotland’s first bank notes were made.

Colinton Dell is ideal for dog-walking, as you are likely to come across the same friendly faces each time you visit.

Cammo Estate

Just on the edge of the city, there are 85 acres of woodland and grassland just waiting to be discovered. The Cammo Estate was given to the National Trust for Scotland in 1975, after the House’s final resident, Percival Maitland-Tennent, passed away. However, there was a fire in 1977, which only left the outer walls of the house intact.

Trees and plants have been growing here for centuries. Botanists will be interested to know that there are some plants here that have limited distribution in Scotland, making the estate a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation. There are also some badger setts on the estate, so if you are lucky you may spot one.

Local residents are very fond of the estate, and enjoy the chance to experience the changing of the seasons, which the city does not always offer.

Currie Reservoirs

Edinburgh’s reservoirs are located in the Pentland Hills Regional Park, which provides an excellent place to walk your dog. As well as a network of well-used paths, there is also a handy coffee van for refreshments.

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If you begin at the Harlaw House Visitor Centre, and follow the squirrel way-markers, you can follow a route around the Harlaw Reservoir. You can see the glinting waters of the reservoir through the trees, and take in some incredible views of the surrounding landscape.

For a longer route, you can take the past to Black Springs along the side of Threipmuir Reservoir, which loops back into the woodland.

Keep an eye out for the stoats and voles who live in the park, and the interesting rock formations underfoot.