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Excursion title:

Joppa Shore

Date & time:

Sunday 18 October 2020, 10.30am

Finish time:



Robert Gatliff, Edinburgh Geological Society

Excursion aims and description:

This field excursion is an introductory trip, but open to all. The section at Joppa extends from the Upper Limestone Formation, through the Passage Formation and into the Lower Coal Measures (Carboniferous). The excellent exposures allow for study of the sedimentology in a fluvio-deltaic system (sandstones, siltstones, mudstones, ironstones, coals) with marine transgressions (limestones and shales). Evidence for palaeosols is widespread. The sequence dips to the east into the Midlothian syncline with several well-exposed faults with some evidence of syn-sedimentary earthquakes.

Meeting point:

Joppa Pumping Station at the eastern end of Portobello Beach (Grid Reference 317735)

Excursion route:

About 600 m along the shore and then return on footpath back to start to see overview of the section

Terrain, walking distance, height gain:

There is an easy ramp or steps down to the beach. The entire walk along the coast is over rocks, boulders and sand. The rocks and boulders can be slippery if wet. There will be some scrambling but nothing difficult. There are steps up (a few metres) to the road at Eastfield (324735). Easy walk along footpath and grass back to start.

Specific or Medium- / High-Risk Hazards:

Rough scrambling over rocks and boulders.

The section is tide-dependent: low tide is in the afternoon.

Control measures required to mitigate against any Hazards referred to above:

Walking boots preferred, although sensible outdoor footwear would be sufficient.

Hard hats or Hi-viz clothing needed:


May dogs be brought on the excursion?


Toilet information:


Geological map sheet:

BGS 1:50k Edinburgh 32E

OS map sheet:

Edinburgh Landranger 66


Lothian and Borders GeoConservation Joppa Rocks leaflet

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

Edinburgh Geology – an Excursion Guide (Edinburgh Geological Society) Edited by Mitchell, Walton and Grant. Published by Oliver and Boyd. This book id out of print. The Joppa section is not featured in the more recent Lothians Guide.