You can download PDF versions of these leaflets for free from the links below, or by opening the interactive map on the right. The leaflets are handy to have for reference on your phone or tablet when you are visiting the sites. Where printed versions are available, you can order these within the UK for a nominal charge to cover postage.
Welcome to visitors from the virtual Festival of Geology 2020. Lothian and Borders GeoConservation would like to invite you to explore the wonderful geology of south-east Scotland. In this area, you’ll find a great variety of interesting rocks and landscapes, including volcanoes such as Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh and the Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth. There is also a range of Carboniferous sedimentary rock, including Edinburgh’s sandstone and fossil-rich limestone at Barns Ness near Dunbar. Browse our leaflets below!
Edinburgh’s Local Geodiversity SitesFree Download (2.84 MB)In Edinburgh, 20 sites of local geological interest have been designated as Local Nature Conservation Sites by City of Edinburgh Council in partnership with Lothian and Borders GeoConservation and included in the City Local Development Plan.
Around Castle RockFree Download (763 kB)Edinburgh Castle Rock developed as part of a volcano hundreds of millions of years before human occupation. Today it provides a spectacular backdrop to the centre of the City of Edinburgh. This booklet describes the geological processes which created the landscape of the city centre and a selection of stone-constructed buildings and monuments which form part of the city’s built heritage.
Auchinoon BraeFree Download (540 KB)Auchinoon Brae is a prominent feature of the A70 road about 12 miles east of Edinburgh, and affords a beautiful vantage point to the Pentland Hills. Published by West Lothian Council.
Barns Ness FossilsFree Download (853 KB)Guide to the fossils found along the shore at Barns Ness, near Dunbar in East Lothian.
Blackford HillFree Download (374 KB)Blackford Hill is one of Edinburgh’s Seven Hills. It is a Local Nature Reserve, the site of the Royal Observatory and a great vantage point. The geology walk described in this leaflet follows a circular route around Blackford Hill, through the Hermitage of Braid and to the summit of the hill, taking in important geological sites including Agassiz Rock.
Binny CraigFree Download (350 KB)Binny Craig, West Lothian – A prominent landmark, and an example of landform shaping , a legacy from the last Ice Age. This is a crag and tail landform with many surrounding features associated with glacial retreat. Published by West Lothian Council.
Bathgate HillsFree Download (843 KB)The Bathgate Hills are rich in geological and cultural history, situated between the towns of Bathgate and Linlithgow. Over the millennia, the region has been home to many communities of people as far back as Neolithic times. Many of the nearby towns were once mining communities who exploited the opportunity provided by the area’s rich geological history. Published by West Lothian Council.
Building Stones of Edinburgh’s South SideFree Download (1.0 MB)The Building Stones of Edinburgh’s South Side.
A walking tour of 38 buildings, walls and monuments of central Edinburgh, from George Square through the old town to the High Street.
Calton HillFree Download (2.9 MB)Calton Hill, central Edinburgh – A fragment of the Arthur’s Seat volcano, just beyond the east end of Princes Street. In addition to the extensive views around the city, the leaflet pinpoints interesting buildings and monuments in the surrounding area.
Canongate WallFree Download (1.5 MB)The Canongate Wall of the Scottish Parliament is embellished by a selection of Scottish rocks, some of which have Scottish texts carved into the face.
Corstorphine HillFree Download (3.1 MB)Corstorphine Hill, west Edinburgh – this scenic site contains geology (dolerite sill with sedimentary exposures), walks with panoramic views and some archeology thrown in!
Craigleith QuarryFree Download (1.6 MB)Craigleith Quarry – Edinburgh’s largest quarry is mostly filled in, but this leaflet guides you to the remains of the quarry face.
Craiglockhart and Edinburgh’s Seven HillsFree Download (1.4 MB)Craiglockhart and Edinburgh’s Seven Hills
Cramond - Geological HistoryFree Download (509 KB)Cramond village is located near the mouth of the River Almond in northwest Edinburgh. The village is well known for its rich history dating back to prehistoric times. Less well known is Cramond’s geological history which has shaped the landscape we see today. Written by Lisa Randall, as an outreach project while a student in the School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh.
Dalkeith’s Building StonesFree Download (373 kB)
Dunbar Geology WalkFree Download (335 KB)What makes Dunbar special? Why was this a good place for a town?
Dunbar owes its location to the local geology.
Explore the rocky coastline in this 4km long coastal walk.
East Kirkton QuarryFree Download (582 KB)East Kirkton Quarry, West Lothian
A small, disused limestone quarry and a SSSI near Bathgate. Unusual in that the deposit favoured fossilisation of land animals rather than those that lived in water. Collecting not allowed without permission. Published by West Lothian Council.
Esk ValleyFree Download (550 KB)This leaflet introduces the story of coal and volcanoes, the varied rocks exposed along the River Esk and how the bedrock has been modified by ice and meltwater. Written by Nicola Coffin, as an outreach project while a student in the School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh.
See also Cycling around the geology and geomorphology of Midlothian prepared by Dr Mikaël Attal, School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh
Hopetoun ForeshoreFree Download (560 kB)
Hopetoun Foreshore. This walk from Society Point to Abercorn Point explores
two very different stories: the original formation of the rocks during the Carboniferous Period and changes that have happened during the current Quaternary Ice Age. Written by Tom FitzPatrick, as an outreach project while a student in the School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh. Published by West Lothian Council.
James HuttonFree Download (2.4 MB)James Hutton, a man ahead of his time. James Hutton’s life (1726-1797) spanned the period of the Scottish Enlightenment and he made a considerable contribution to our understanding of Earth processes and of the immensity of ‘deep time’. Explore sites in and around Edinburgh associated with Hutton and his legacy.
Joppa ShoreFree Download (335 KB)The rocks at Joppa Shore, Edinburgh, were laid down as soft sediment 300-320 million years ago, and include sandstone, mudstone, coal and limestone. Written by Lindsay Wilson as a final year project of her geology degree at Edinburgh University.
North Berwick VolcanoesFree Download (474 KB)North Berwick’s scenery is formed from a variety of volcanic rock types formed around 340 million years ago. Written by Neil van Beinum, as an outreach project while a student in the School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh.
Pentland RocksFree Download (693 KB)A guide to the volcanic rocks of the Pentland Hills.
Petershill Wildlife ReserveFree Download (525 KB)Petershill Wildlife Reserve, West Lothian – A limestone reef and a SSSI near Bathgate. This was a lime quarry in the mid 18th C, later a drinking water reservoir. Published by West Lothian Council.
Siccar PointFree Download (410 KB)Siccar Point, the world’s most important geological site.
James Hutton, father of modern geology, visited Siccar Point by boat in 1788, an event which led to a profound change in the way the history of the Earth was understood.
St Abbs HeadFree Download (1.9 MB)St Abb’s Head is a National Nature Reserve managed by the National Trust for Scotland, with spectacular cliffs, a small loch and many nesting seabirds during the summer. The headland is formed mostly of volcanic rock, erupted about 400 million years ago.
Stones of ScotlandFree Download (1.7 MB)An introduction to the Stones of Scotland sculpture in Regent Road Park, Edinburgh, made of stones from each of Scotland’s 32 Local Authorities
Water of Leith - The GeologyFree Download (1.9 MB)The Geology of the Water of Leith, Edinburgh. Written by Emma Skelley as a final year project of her geology degree at Edinburgh University.
Water of Leith - RedhallFree Download (242 KB)Guide to the Water of Leith at Redhall, Edinburgh, including local sandstone quarries.
Water of Leith - StockbridgeFree Download (363 KB)Guide to the Water of Leith at Stockbridge, Edinburgh.
Witch Craig WallFree Download (1.9 MB)Witch Craig Wall, West Lothian – a viewpoint near Bathgate, constructed with representative Scottish stone, labelled and with a display panel on the landforms visible on a really good day! Published by West Lothian Council.
Callander Geodiversity TrailFree Download (1.54 MB)
Callander Geodiversity Trail – Stories in the Landscape, produced by Callander’s Countryside, an associated organisation of Callander Community Development Trust.