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Issue 85 - A Fertile Land

Scotland Magazine Issue 85
February 2016


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A Fertile Land

Keith Fergus visits the granary of Edinburgh

The bustling and attractive Edinburgh suburb of Corstorphine sits about 5 miles west of the city centre. Sir Adam Forrester, a successful Edinburgh merchant (and later Lord Provost of Edinburgh and Sheriff of Lothian), purchased the lands here in 1376 at which point he set about building a chapel and then Corstorphine Castle, which stood until the 18th Century.

The fertile fields that the village was built upon helped it develop through agriculture to such an extent that Corstorphine became known as the granary of Edinburgh. Within St Margaret’s Park stands Corstorphine Dower House, thought to date from the late 16th Century and today home to the excellent Corstorphine Heritage Trust and the Corstorphine Heritage Centre.

The highest point of Corstorphine (and one of Edinburgh’s famed Seven Hills) is Corstorphine Hill Local Nature Reserve, which is the largest of Edinburgh’s public woodlands. It is a wonderful haven of peace and quiet, climbing to 531 feet in height and consequently the view across Edinburgh to Arthur’s Seat and beyond to North Berwick Law is superb.

The woodland is comprised mainly of oak and birch, interspersed with beech, ash and Scots pine. Wildlife includes sparrow hawk, kestrel, tawny owl, great spotted woodpecker, common spotted orchid and small balsam.

Near the summit of Corstorphine Hill is Clermiston Tower, which was built in 1871 by William Mackie of Dreghorn to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Sir Walter Scott’s birth. One hundred and one steps reach the top, resulting in a superb panorama. The tower is open every Sunday throughout the summer.

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