Councillors agree action plan to enhance Calton Hill

The City of Edinburgh Council’s Culture and Communities Committee has agreed a management plan for one of the Capital’s top beauty spots.

Councillors welcomed a report this week (Tuesday 19 June) which outlines a series of ideas which could help safeguard and enhance Calton Hill.

A unique public park of national significance, Calton Hill is one of Edinburgh’s famous ‘seven hills’ and is especially admired for its architectural heritage and cultural use, with its own art gallery Collective at the top, a 200 year-old William Henry Playfair designed City Observatory which is undergoing major refurbishment, the Council’s visitor attraction the Nelson Monument and the famously unfinished National Monument.

The new management plan has been produced in partnership with Edinburgh World Heritage and highlights a number of areas to be explored, including improving lighting and facilities and accessibility for walkers and those less mobile.

Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener, has been appointed to the Calton Hill Management Forum which will drive forward the objectives and actions of the plan. He said: “This is a big step forward for access to what is one of Edinburgh’s greatest outdoor spaces.

“For hundreds of years, Calton Hill has been a cherished place for walkers and star gazers and a symbol of the Edinburgh Enlightenment. It was Robert Louis Stevenson who claimed it to be the best vantage point in all of the city, with its panoramic views of the Firth of Forth, Arthur’s Seat and Edinburgh Castle. It certainly remains a great place to admire the Capital, particularly from the top of Nelson Monument, and when work to restore the Observatory is complete later this year it will also feature an incredible new art gallery.

“The restoration will allow the Observatory to become an icon everyone Edinburgh can be proud of and the project has received significant investment from the Council. Still, it is important we keep looking to the future and ensure the whole hill remains well-kept, well-loved and well-conserved. This new management plan for the hill will help us to do just that. It highlights a number of actions which could be explored to optimise access, facilities and the natural heritage of Calton Hill.”

Adam Wilkinson, Edinburgh World Heritage, said: "Calton Hill is a place of exceptional significance due to its picturesque setting, fine buildings and monuments, and remarkable views. It is also associated with many prominent individuals from Scotland’s history such as David Hume, Robert Burns and William Henry Playfair. 

"The Calton Hill Management Plan, commissioned by Edinburgh World Heritage and with the support of City of Edinburgh Council, articulates a vision for its future and recommends a new partnership approach for its management, all of which is welcome.”

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