Walk: Towpath, tunnel & Colinton Dell

City of Edinburgh | Slateford | Short walk | ★★★

[Colinton Dell]

The southwestern suburbs of Edinburgh conceal a true wee gem. Colinton Dell is one of the most intimate and scenic sections of the Water of Leith, carved deep into the bedrock between Slateford and Colinton. Loved by locals, it's well worth a quick trip out by bus for visitors staying in the city centre. This intricate circuit by canal towpath, dismantled railway (featuring a tunnel covered in eye-catching murals) and riverside path explores the water course on two vertical levels, with options for refreshments at the halfway point in Colinton Village - from where we feature a longer extension to Torduff Reservoir and Bonaly Country Park.

[Colinton Tunnel]

Location & info

📌 Walk: Towpath, tunnel & Colinton Dell ★★★
Start / finish at Water of Leith Visitor Centre (street parking available to west), Lanark Road (A70), Slateford, 3 mi southwest of Edinburgh Waverley station, G.R.: NT 221707 ///tree.pulled.judges
🚆🚌 Train to Slateford or local buses.

▶ 5 km / 3 mi | ▲ 150 m | ⌚ Short | Easy
Features: Water of Leith Visitor Centre; Union Canal; Colinton Tunnel; Colinton Village, Colinton Dell / Water of Leith
Terrain: Wide paths - steps at the start, with some ascent and descent on the return route.

Route: Start & Water of Leith Visitor Centre - join Union Canal by steps to north - Colinton Tunnel by dismantled railway line - Colinton Village - Colinton Dell / Water of Leith riverside path - start. Section after Colinton Village closed at time of update in April 2021.

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On our visit

Wildlife: Treecreepers, tits, other woodland birds; mallard with ducklings in the Water of Leith.
Weather: Mostly sunny, about 10°C, light winds.

Chronological photo guide

[Water of Leith Visitor Centre]

[Aqueduct and railway bridge over the Water of Leith]

[On the aqueduct]

[Union Canal]

[Following the dismantled railway line south through Colinton Dell]

[Following the old railway line]

[Colinton Tunnel]

[Colinton Village]

[Colinton Village]

[Colinton Parish Church]

[Return through Colinton Dell]

[Colinton Dell]

[Colinton Dell]



  1. How long is this walk please?

    1. Hi Jenny. This route is approximately 3 miles long (probably 1.5-2 hours at an average walking pace). You can find info such as route length, ascent and difficulty in the info above!


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