The first record of sandstone being worked at Craigleith was in 1615. The quarry finally closed in 1942 and infilling with inert waste ended around 1985. The sandstone formed in the Carboniferous period over 330 million years ago.
In 1993, Sainsbury’s opened their new store on the site. In the preceding two years, Lothian and Borders GeoConservation Group and the National Museum of Scotland negotiated successfully with Sainsbury’s to save the remaining rock face, which is now a Local Geodiversity Site. They helped inspire various artworks on the site including carvings of the leaves of Carboniferous plant fossils found here in Victorian times. These are of the long trunks of Pitys withami, an extinct gymnosperm species of large fern-like trees.
Two new information boards relate the history and geology of this quarry, which supplied high quality building stone for much of Edinburgh’s New Town, and mark the completion of redevelopment of Sainsbury’s store in 2011.
Transport: Bus routes, car parking etc.