Parks and gardens - Blackford Hill and Pond

Name Blackford Hill and Pond
Telephone 0131 529 2401
Email naturalheritageservice@edinburgh.gov.uk
Facilities Natural Heritage OfficerOrienteering course
QR Trail
Pond
Woodland walks
Wildlife
Background Blackford Hill is one of the largest - and one of the finest - open spaces controlled by the Council. The views across the city in all directions can hold visitors and locals spellbound as the Blackford panoramas extend over the Forth to the distant Lomond Hills.
History and heritage Blackford Hill came into the hands of the old Edinburgh Corporation in 1884, purchased for the sum of £8000 from Lt. Colonel Henry Trotter of Mortonhall. A few years later, the Observatory on Calton Hill required to be moved from the city-centre glare and three and a half acres were sold for the building of a new National Observatory on Blackford Hill, where it has been sited ever since. Several other smaller parcels of ground were bought later, including in 1906 the area known as Egyptfield, which contained Blackford Pond.
Wildlife Blackford Hill is wild and wind-blown, a large slice of countryside within the city. It is an important part of Edinburgh's natural heritage, and along with neighbouring Hermitage of Braid is classified a Local Nature Reserve.
Blackford Pond and the surrounding wetland are important for water birds such as swan, little grebe, heron, pochard, mallard and tufted duck. Moorhen and coot nest at the edge of the pond amongst the reeds.
Scrub, grassland and cliff faces around Blackford Hill provide food and shelter all year round. Look for linnets, skylark and meadow pipit in the gorse bushes on the hill.
Geology Blackford Hill was created from the oldest rocks in the city, when lava flowed across a red sandstone desert 400 million years ago. The hill is classically 'crag-and-tail' shaped, formed from a vast ice-sheet moving eastwards, scratching, scarifying, exposing the rocks into escarpments, gouging hollows and valleys.
Orienteering There is a permanent orienteering course here, which is accessible at all times. Map packs can be bought for £2.00 from the Hermitage Visitor Centre in the Hermitage of Braid, or through the website of Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club (www.esoc.org.uk)
Visitor information On Lothian Bus route 38.
Organise an event Find out how to organise an event in Edinburgh's parks
Getting involved Friends of Hermitage of Braid and Blackford Hill
Green Flag Yes
Why don't you? Take a stroll around the pond on a summer evening and watch for bats.
Location map