Water of Leith NCN Path Upgrade

Water of Leith NCN Path Upgrade

Improved access along a strategic route to enable people of all abilities to be more active.

ELGT have upgraded the National Cycle Network (NCN 75) path along the Water of Leith from the Union Canal to Balerno. These improvements were identified within the Water of Leith Management Plan 2020-2030 and have been funded by Sustrans and Transport for Scotland as part of improving the National Cycle Network for Scotland.

The project has been developed following consultation with various stakeholders including The Water of Leith Conservation Trust and the City of Edinburgh Council Natural Heritage Service. Through this it identified the need to upgrade sections of the path to enable all users to be able to use it as many sections were very muddy and difficult to navigate along. The route has seen many improvements along the Water of Leith, including new bridges, and a 1 km section of path which was upgraded by ELGT at Currie Kirkgate four years ago.

The construction has taken place over several phases using a multi-use surface, that provides a smooth and durable pathway and will allow different users access during winter months and adverse weather conditions.

Sustainability was another core focus of the project. By incorporating a new rubber crumb surface and utilising 49,867 of recycled tires, an impressive carbon footprint reduction of 1,097,087kg was

The upgraded 6.7km section will result in less maintenance requirements and along with drainage and other associated works will result in a surface that will allow better access for all abilities. This surface has been recommended by Sustrans when a sealed surface is not feasible, or desirable.

The NCN route 75 links Scotland’s two largest cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow via the towns of Currie, Bathgate and Livingston. It is 158km long which runs from the Port of Leith to Gourock. Part of the route includes the UK’s largest continuous mural at the Colinton Tunnel which has led to an increase in the use of the route. Go to Sustrans page on the project.

The path upgrades will enable people of all abilities to use the path which runs along the unique Water of Leith beautiful green corridor. The path goes past several cultural and historical elements including old mills. It will improve the links to the path network in the area to enable people to explore the city and beyond.


Water of Leith National Cycle Network Path Opening – Thu 28 September 2023 (© photographer – Andy Catlin www.andycatlin.com)

The Water of Leith walkway is much-loved route for people walking, wheeling and cycling but as a regular user I know it can be muddy and less accessible in places. These upgrades will be transformative, helping even more people to enjoy the path as part of our excellent network of off-road routes spanning the city or perhaps just to visit the fantastic Colinton Tunnel mural. Once the walkway improvements are complete, lighting will be installed on the Spylaw Park section by the Council’s Parks and Green space team to encourage people in west Colinton to use this walking route into the village. Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport & Environment Convenor of the City of Edinburgh Council

Funded by: Sustrans, Transport Scotland


  • Upgrade a 6.7km section of path along the NCN 75 in south west Edinburgh
  • Drainage & Tree works



  • enable people of all abilities to use the path.
  • provide a safe surface all year round.
  • encourage people to be more active.