Craigmillar Castle and quarry – Al McGowan

Read the Code of Conduct and Safety Guidelines and book your place …

Excursion title:

Craigmillar Castle Park: Geodiversity and geoheritage in disused quarries in the Kinnesswood Formation.

Date & time:

31 May 2017, 7pm

Finish time:



Al McGowan, Hills of Hame

Excursion aims and description:

Sandstone was extracted from several quarries close to Craigmillar Castle from the 14th century and used for building stone around Edinburgh and beyond. This excursion through Craigmillar Castle Park will visit the remaining quarries and examine exposures of the Kinnesswood Formation rocks, from the early Carboniferous. Sedimentary structures and variation in grain size can be observed, suggesting varying depositional energy of different beds. The quarries were worked only intermittently in the late 19th and 20th centuries, and give good examples of how old quarries are expressed in the landscape after they fall into disuse. A new Lothian and Borders Geoconservation leaflet is planned for this area.


Lothian Bus 33 service to Old Dalkeith Road. Numerous buses to Cameron Toll. Innocent Railway and other cycle routes to Craigmillar. Car parking is available.


Entrance to Craigmillar Castle Park, beside Old Dalkeith Road Community Recycling Centre, Old Dalkeith Road, Craigmillar, Edinburgh EH16 4TB

Excursion route:

From the Old Dalkeith Road we will proceed across Craigmillar Castle Park to the Hawkhill Wood quarry area to examine the 3D exposures there. Return to arc of quarries to north of Craigmillar Castle and then cross into woodland path to examine exposures beside steps.

Proceed down steps to rejoin path on southern edge of Recycling Centre then final locality near the pedestrian entrance to the park from Old Dalkeith Road. Return by paths to start point.

Geological map:


OS map:

Landranger 66 or Explorer 350

Terrain, walking distance, height gain:

Metalled and grassy paths and slightly uneven ground beside paths on quarry sites. Approx 2.25 km walk with 44m ascent.

Specific Hazards:

Road crossing on Craigmillar Castle Road.

Control measures:

Use pedestrian crossing on cycle route.

Hard hats or Hi-viz clothing needed?


May dogs be brought on the excursion?


Toilet information:

Public toilet at Cameron Toll.


– Edinburgh & West Lothian – a landscape fashioned by geology (SNH and BGS)

– Building Stones of Edinburgh, 2nd edition (EGS); Available via:

– Historic Land use:

– Archaeological and built heritage: