fiachra summit craiglockhart hill
Edinburgh,  Hikes & Walks,  Scotland

Craiglockhart Hills – Quick Guide To A Short Walk In Edinburgh

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Last Updated On 6th February 2024 By Lauren | Wild Lovely World

This post is a quick guide to the Craiglockhart Hills in Edinburgh. The post explains: how to get to Craiglockhart Hill; the short walk at Craiglockhart including Easter and Wester peak; highlights including Craiglockhart woods and pond; and the story behind Craighouse, a historical building in Craiglockhart.

Craiglockhart is one of the suburbs of Edinburgh and home to Craiglockhart Hill. Craiglockhart Hill is actually made up of two peaks – Easter Craiglockhart Hill and Wester Craiglockhart Hill – but together are generally referred to as the Craiglockhart Hill or Hills. The peaks are small – Easter Craiglockhart Hill is only 158m high, while Wester Craiglockhart is the higher of the two at 175m high. The valley between the two summits is called Glenlockhart.

In 2004 the area was designated a local nature reserve. There is a wide range of habitats in the area, including a marsh, Craiglockhart Pond and woodland.

Craiglockhart Hill is one of the Seven Hills of Edinburgh. For Edinburgh locals, the Craiglockhart Hills provide wonderful access to nature within the city. There are many walking tracks on and around the Craiglockhart Hills that make for enjoyable and easy short walks. From both summits, you will get nice views across the city of Edinburgh.

The suburb of Craiglockhart is today a middle-class area of Edinburgh. It is mostly residential, but there are some commercial properties. Edinburgh Napier University has a large campus at Craiglockhart. Within the campus is the ruined tower house of the historic Craiglockhart Castle. The castle was built in the 15th century. Along with the castle, there are many historical buildings in the Craiglockhart area. This includes Craighouse, which is now also part of the Edinburgh Napier University campus.

Let’s take a closer look at these interesting spots at Craiglockhart Hill in this post!

Craiglockhart Hill is No. 7 in our Quick Guide to The Seven Hills of Edinburgh series. Check out the full series here: The Seven Hills Of Edinburgh: A Quick Guide

Quick Guide To Craiglockhart Hills In Edinburgh

Edinburgh Travel Inspiration:

Where Are The Craiglockhart Hills?

The Edinburgh suburb of Craiglockhart is located southwest of Edinburgh city centre. Wester Craiglockhart Hill is located south of the Glenlockhart Valley and Easter Craiglockhart Hill is located north of the Glenlockhart Valley. Within the valley is Glenlockhart Road. To the west of Wester Craiglockhart Hill is the Edinburgh Napier University campus. Craiglockhart Pond and woodland is located north of Easter Craiglockhart Hill.

Short Walks & Trails At Craiglockhart Hill

When I climbed the Craiglockhart Hills, it was the final of all the Seven Hills of Edinburgh to be ticked off my walking list! I am not sure why I left it so long to climb the Craiglockhart Hills because I lived in Haymarket which is only a short way up the road from Craiglockhart. I was literally in the area so much as I used to ride my bike down the canal from Fountainbridge to Craiglockhart a lot. Well, that always seems to be the way! It seems easy to miss doing the things that are right on your doorstep! Once I had ventured up the hill I was glad that I did and I have done it several times since that first walk. The area has something magical about it, especially the pond and woodland area which I go into more detail about below.

As for the walking trails, there are several paths that you can take around both of the hills. You can do both of them in one go or do each one separately. Bear in mind that if you go straight up either hill, then it will only take you around 20 minutes to climb up! However, you can extend this walk by doing a loop of both hills and taking a look at the sights to be seen along the way. The highlights include the woodland, Craiglockhart Pond and the historic and modern buildings of Edinburgh Napier University.

Loop Walk Of Both Easter & Wester Craiglockhart Hills

The best route to take is to follow this walking route, detailed on WalkHighlands. This walk begins at Craiglockhart Pond. From there, you will ascend and descend Easter Craiglockhart Hill through the wonderful Craiglockhart Woods. Crossing over Glenlockhart Road, you can take a loop walk up and down Wester Craiglockhart Hill. The trail returns back to the starting point near the pond through the nature reserve. Along the way, you can see the mix of architecture at the Edinburgh Napier Craiglockhart Campus. The trail also passes by Craighouse. From the summits of both Easter and Wester Craiglockhart Hills, you will see beautiful views across Edinburgh city, including Edinburgh Castle and the Firth Of Forth.

If you do the full walk, then it will take around 1.5 to 2 hours to complete at a moderate pace. The total distance is 4.5 km.

What To Wear & Take To Walk The Craiglockhart Hills

The trails are well-maintained and comprised of gravel paths, steps and grassy paths.

You can wear walking/hiking shoes/boots or you can wear trainers to do this walk. From my experience the path at Wester Craiglockhart Hill can be quite steep and muddy in places, so be careful!

I would take a warm jacket and windbreaker as the summits can be quite chilly in Edinburgh, even in summer!

There are picnic benches located at the top of the hills, so if you wanted to take a snack or a packed lunch to enjoy with the view then that sounds delightful!

Highlights At The Craiglockhart Hills

Craiglockhart Woods

What I loved most about this walk was the Craiglockhart Woods. Within the woodland, there are beautiful trees, wild mushrooms and plenty of wildlife to enjoy. Being in such a built-up, residential area of Edinburgh, it really feels like a world away from city life.

craiglockhart wester hill
View towards Edinburgh from Wester Craiglockhart Hill. Edinburgh Castle (left) and Arthur’s Seat (center) and Blackford Hill (right) are visible, as well as Easter Craiglockhart Hill (foreground left). – Ⓒ Wild Lovely World

Craiglockhart Pond

Nearby to Easter Craiglockhart Hill is the Craiglockhart Pond. The pond is within the area of the nature reserve. The pond offers the opportunity to see lots of birds, including moorhens, coots, swans, mallards and herons.

There are a few benches dotted around the pond to sit and enjoy the view or have a picnic.

Also, interestingly, we found a small circle of tiny wooden chairs in the woodland nearby the pond which offered hilarity. It looked like the perfect place for gnomes and fairies to have their afternoon tea!

Craighouse

Craighouse is an interesting building on the Easter Craiglockhart side. It is a historic, listed building and has had many uses over its lifetime. It was the home to many different families. In the 1880s it became an asylum and hospital. Craighouse was owned by Edinburgh Napier University in the 1990s and it was part of their campus. Now, it is being redeveloped into residential apartments.

craiglockhart wester hill
Craiglockhart Wester Hill – Ⓒ Wild Lovely World

How To Get To Craiglockhart Hill

Getting To Craiglockhart Hill By Bus

To get there, take the Lothian Bus service 4, 10, 27 or 45 to Colinton Road. You can get off at either of the two locations. The first is the (area known as) Happy Valley stop in front of the shops opposite the Edinburgh Leisure/Tennis Centre (the number 4 bus doesn’t stop here). The second is outside Edinburgh Napier University’s Craiglockhart Campus (the number 4 does stop here, as well as the other buses).

From The Happy Valley Bus Stop

From Happy Valley, walk down Lockharton Cresent to the Craiglockhart Pond and Local Nature Reserve. Beginning at the pond are paths leading to Easter Craiglockhart Hill and Wester Craiglockhart Hill.

To get to Easter Craiglockhart, take the path walking around the pond to the right and passing the sports centre. From there, the path climbs gently. When you get to the fork at the wall turn left and go up the stairs through the wood.

To get to Wester Craiglockhart, when you get to the fork at the wall turn right and go through the alleyway to Glenlockhart Road. Cross over the road and there is a small opening in the wall/fence into the trees. Follow the path around to the left and up.

From The Edinburgh Napier Craiglockhart Campus

From the Edinburgh Napier Craiglockhart Campus, walk down Glenlockhart Road.

To get to Easter Craiglockhart Hill, when you see the sign on the left side by the alleyway before the little stone house, go down the alley to the end of the wall. Then turn right and go up the stairs through the woods.

To get to Wester Craiglockhart Hill, on Glenlockhart Road you’ll come to a small opening in the wall/fence on the right side of the road. Follow the path through the trees around to the left and up the hill.

Quick Guide To Craiglockhart Hills In Edinburgh – Thanks For Reading!

In this post, we have looked at Easter and Wester Craiglockhart Hills, which together form the Craiglockhart Hills. You will discover many magical gems at the Craiglockhart Hills, including the woodland, nature reserve and wildlife, and heritage buildings. Both summits also offer wonderful views of Edinburgh and a different perspective of the city. The trails at Craiglockhart Hill can be enjoyed for a short walk lasting from 20 minutes to 2 hours. I hope that this post has been useful and helped you to discover a new area of Edinburgh! – Lauren x

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Thanks for reading! 🙂 – © Wild Lovely World

Craiglockhart Hill is No. 7 in our Quick Guide to The Seven Hills of Edinburgh series. Check out the full series here: The Seven Hills Of Edinburgh: A Quick Guide

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Lauren is a coffee and cat obsessed travel writer from the U.K., specialising in solo female, couple travel and budget backpacking. She has previously lived in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, England and Scotland. Follow her adventures around the world on her blog WildLovelyWorld.com

4 Comments

  • Barbara Ireland

    A few notable points on my mystery valley earlier were; it had a giant castle or church Spowarts I believe, quality used furniture, looking like a spiky thing on a Halloween sweetie pack, a long road up to this, scattered resort-like structures as if a beauty spot mostly white some chalets. A touristy tall cream tower stood above most things and there were valley crossings as platforms, corridors, bridges and the like as steep or rocky terrain lay below, at the top of this hill was a road and crash barrier.

  • Barbara Ireland

    Hi, it’s Barbara here. My family are from Fife and we used to regularly go south or east to what Fifers call “toon”.The place was a strange and wonderful combination of shops and holiday houses, some towers, others like cottages; sadly this bit of a city valley has gone now, nothing like it since my childhood – 1970-80s. In the early 90s it was rebuilt on a side and road lower on the valley. My dad had to drive past lots of hills as did buses to get there.Now I find it is not Fife and they are not around to make answer!- can you help me to locate this please? It may be Corstorphine or Pentlands, thanks.

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