Finding Granton’s lost Castle Garden

A groundswell of opinion is rising in favour of saving Granton’s secret garden from a luxury housing development! Positive feedback on making the garden accessible and productive once more. Survey of Friends Group Ideas will be open until midsummer. Thankyou to all those who’ve filled in the questionnaire so far, it has been useful to read your ideas, opinions and comments. Results published in July.

Local people have been busy spreading the story of this inaccessible and relatively unknown ‘green jewel’ on the wateEdinburgh Life Issue-39rfront. We have recently had articles published in Edinburgh Life’s May/June edition, and made presentations at Edinburgh university and our local council.

Gardens and Enclosures conferenceFriends Group members have spoken to over 70 people walking along the waterfront beside the walled garden over the last two weekends, to poll opinion on the garden’s future. Great chatting to everyone in the sunshine and hearing the enthusiasm and support for making the garden accessible as a destination point for local residents, visitors, walkers and cyclists alike.

Many people  were surprised that the historic garden was even there, its great age and survival story in such an unexpected spot.

The B-listed late-medieval garden dating from ~1479 according to some references, is now acknowledged to be one of the oldest undeveloped walled gardens in Edinburgh by experts from Historic Environment Scotland.

Next Friends Group meeting date and venue at the end of June tba. Please get in touch if you want to come along or have any questions. Last meeting notes can be found on the link below.

Friends Group meeting April 28th 2016

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Meeting Notes 2015

The Friends Group meets monthly whenever possible and last years AGM report and previous meeting details are listed below. Get in touch if you want to come along –

2015 AGM Report  Inaugural AGM Nov 2015

view over the garden 1 Oct 2015

Walled Garden from above – Oct 2015

Action Note 21.10.2015

Condition Report Walled Garden – Oct 2015

10th Sept 2015 Friends Group Public meeting notes

Special Committee meeting 18.08.2015

6th August 2015 Friends Group Notes

25th June 2015 friends Group minutes

21st May 2015 Friends Group Minutes

23rd April 2015 Friends Group minutes

12th March 2015 Friends of Granton Castle Walled Garden

5th Feb 2015 Friends of Granton Castle Walled Garden

8th Jan 2015 Friends of Granton Castle Walled Garden public meeting!

Meeting notes from 2014 and earlier are available too, under the archive category ‘Meetings notes & Discussions’.

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Survey of Ideas and Plans so far…

The group have been looking to prioritise the many ideas generated by local gardeners and historians, and look at how these could be funded and sustained in the future. Please if you can take 5 minutes to look at the questionnaire and send us your opinions, or add more ideas! Survey of Friends Group Ideas

Granton Castle Walled Garden is a truly unique heritage environment in Edinburgh with continuous horticultural use from the late medieval period. Digital record for Granton Castle – pics and references  Historic Environment Scotland have re-opened the review of the listed garden’s status this spring, with possible addition to the Inventory of Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes!

Granton Castle & Walled Garden in 1920

Granton Castle Walled Garden in the early 1900’s, full of fruit & flowers

Our Friends Group is excited about this news and hope it will encourage the developers to re-think their townhouse plans; looking instead to work with local people keen to restore the neglected historic walled garden and make it accessible! Local councillors, officials and politicians from all parties seem to be supportive, as the benefits to community health, wellbeing and the environment would be significant. 29th Jan 2016 Friends Group meeting with Lesley Hinds

Jan 21st 2016 Friends Group Meeting notes More news and views to follow soon, our committee has been active this month raising awareness & the response to the survey so far has been very positive. Thankyou to everyone that has completed it so far.

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Friends Group to ‘Adopt a Monument’ & re-open Granton’s ‘secret’ Garden?

January has been a very busy  month for the Urban Detectives amongst the Friends Group. Latest find previously unrecorded ‘ancient monument files’ detailing the story of how the late-medieval castle came to be demolished in 1921. Documents sealed from public viewing for 50 years…the full tale will be coming soon.

Could the Friends Group Adopt a Monument under the Archaeology Scotland scheme?

Granton castle and the rock it stood on quarried to build Granton Harbour

Granton castle and the rock it stood on quarried to make concrete

While we were busy researching and recording the details with Historic Environment Scotland, some very unexpected news reached us in mid-January. Waterfront Edinburgh Limited finally decided to withdraw their 2003 planning application to build houses in the historic garden! The story is spreading – Hopes that granton castle garden can be kept for community…

So what does this mean for our Friends Group? Our ideas went to the developers last year for discussion. We want to re-open the garden and begin working towards sustainable community use. Friends ideas survey

First on the to-do list is a new door, steps and a wheelchair accessible footpath to reach it. – diagram below.


Wooden steps and footpath, leading to the new door through steel shuttering.

Then onwards into the garden to make sure it is safe to visit. More training and survey workshops with expert guidance from Historic Environment Scotland! Scotland’s Urban Past We hope to work in partnership with the city council, local & national organisations to re-open and restore the last of Scotland’s Lost Gardens!

Much to talk about at our upcoming action group meeting next week. Notes from our November public meeting – Inaugural AGM Nov 2015 Please get in touch if you want to come along, or have any questions.



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Urban Detectives take up case of Granton’s ‘forgotten’ Garden

Historic Environment Scotland’s expert staff are continuing to work with Friends Group members as part of their Scotland’s Urban Past project. Granton’s wonky walled garden is still a mystery to most people we meet who haven’t heard of it, and can’t imagine it being in the middle of an industrial estate; but we hope to change this. The Last of Scotland’s Lost Gardens has been found! Latest views of the garden from above – Oct 2015

23rd Surveying the wall

Now where was that castle?

  • After a visit to the RCAHMS archives, 14 of our group members were given free training in field archaeology and cartography skills in October. This was great fun and inspired us to do more!

Next date for some Scotland’s Urban Past action will be the 8th of December, 2-5pm at North Edinburgh Arts, 15a Pennywell Court, EH4 4TZ. Come along and join in, help the Friends Group reveal the hidden history of Granton’s Waterfront & this forgotten garden. We will be in the gallery off the café, with a couple of the expert staff from Historic Environment Scotland on hand to answer questions.

  • Short slideshow of event outside of the walled garden on the 23rd Oct from SUP’s staff, and a discussion of what we found on the day.
  • Beginning a National Record for Granton Castle Walled Garden
  • Documentary filmmaking training – storyboarding to help the Friends Group tell the story of the garden, and use some of our lovely historic maps and images gathered.
  • Ideas for working together in the future?

We shall have hot water and cups for teas and coffees provided by North Edinburgh Arts, but bring a tea bag or two and some snacks to keep you going through the afternoon. Free training day and open to all Friends Group members and supporters. Membership is free, and we will have forms to fill in at the event if anyone wants to join on the day. Online version coming soon!

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Friends Group AGM, 26th Nov – A ‘taste of the past’

2015 has been an eventful year for the Friends Group, and much has happened since we first registered. The growing season drawing to a close seemed an appropriate time to report back on this years events and highlights to everyone, recent news, funds & plans for the future! 2015 AGM Report


Friends Of Granton Castle Garden 1st AGM will be held on the 26th Nov, between 6 and 8pm. Agenda so far.

  • Historic Environment Scotland supported project, Scotland’s Urban Past
  • Eve’s Apple Shack will be providing us with some apple samples and a few surprises to help inspire ideas for the future, & discussion of what we could grow.
  • Planning Issues… Leaving this until last as there is important news.

Intrigued? Come along and find out more about Granton’s ‘forgotten’ Walled Garden. Help support local people trying to safeguard and restore this once productive kitchen garden: dating back to the late-medieval period & the Jacobean era in its heyday.

Some of the Friends Group Members

Some of the Friends Group Members this October, surveying the land and historic walls.

Take a look at some of the historic photographs group members have accessed recently, thanks to a training day with staff at the RCAHMS search rooms. Granton Castle

Please come along to the AGM, get in touch if you have any questions, or ideas you want to add. This is your chance to help local people protect this historic walled garden from a luxury townhouse development!

Hope to see you there!


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Roman find beside the Walled Garden? 23rd Oct 2-5pm

Tomorrow the Friends group are meeting outside of the garden for surveying & mapping training with Historic Environment Scotland (green bit on the plan below)  We will be there from 2-5pm wandering about with maps & GPS equipment trying to identify where the 2nd century Roman pottery was found, & where Granton Castle once stood.

Scotland’s Urban Past team members are providing support to our Friends Group to help with the historic research and understanding of this newly B-listed walled garden. Local people have helped gather lots of evidence to share!

Walled Garden - Roman find map

Walled Garden – Roman find

23rd Surveying the wall

Where was Granton Castle?

Please come along if you have time on the 23rd, even for 10 minutes to chat, ask questions, add ideas.

This is our second session with the knowledgeable and helpful staff from Historic Environment Scotland, and we hope to be doing a lot more soon!

A few new finds after a visit to the search rooms on the 15th.

Caroline Park estate and Granton Castle Garden in 1811

Caroline Park estate and Granton Castle Garden in 1811

We looked at old and new images of Granton’s coast, ranging from Georgian estate plans to Luftwaffe aerial reconnaissance shots from the second war.

A lovely plan of Caroline Park Estate and it’s ‘Oyster scalp’ was dated 1811 on the day; when oysters & salmon were so plentiful in the Forth they were ‘poor man’s’ food.

We would love to see this garden restored & opened to local people, full of fruit, veggies, herbs and flowers growing organically in the fertile soil. The oldest undeveloped walled garden in Edinburgh could be of benefit to many people, and the environment.

Get in touch if you want out find out more, or just come along!

10th Sept 2015 Friends Group Public meeting notes

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October Meeting – Blossoming Ideas, and Scotland’s Urban Past

Two years ago Friends Group members first became interested in the walled garden because of the orchard remains & old glasshouses, the space and possibilities!

Victorian cooker Grenadier laden with apples

Victorian cooker ‘Grenadier’ laden with ripening fruit

The 1930's glasshouse, still salvageable?

The 1930’s glasshouse, still salvageable?








We felt they still had a lot of life left and could be restored by local people like ourselves, interested in growing and sharing food.

Many more ideas have blossomed since then as community food growers, ecologists, landscape architects, garden historians and others have become involved with the Friends Group. The time has come to start work with Historic Environment Scotland!

FG meeting 10th Sept

Chiara explaining how they could help

Initially two training days are planned for Friends Group members in October, provided through Scotlands Urban Past

Ideas from the ‘Meanwhile Use’ proposal, presented to EDI group ltd in August are bulleted below.  The Friends Group members will be discussing how to progress these initial ideas, and a few others, at the next ‘Action group’ meeting in October.

  • Heritage Orchard Restoration – Apples to try from  Eve’s Apple Shack – ‘taste of the past’ & discussion of what we could grow. Not just apples!
  • Annual crop production – veggies, wheat? read more at Scotland the Bread info flier – an incredible sustainable heritage crops initiative.
  • Access Creation – Funding application to start the process, some signage & documenting the group’s activities to help raise awareness.
  • Beekeeping in the garden – a talk from Luisa the sustainable beekeeper, about her hives and training she could provide. (dependant on dates and Luisa’s availability, members of community gardening groups keen too)

Hope to have more good news by the end of October. The chance for folk to add ideas to the growing ‘wishlist’ for the restoration and re-use of this historic garden at the November AGM!

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Walled Garden Group Take Steps! – Public Meeting 10th Sept

Our upcoming General Meeting is open to all – hope you can make it!

Thursday 10th September, 6-7.30pm, Royston Wardieburn Community Centre, 11 Pilton Drive North.

Agenda so far…

  • Stairway to the garden door! When could we start, initial funding?
  • Community Shares Scotland guest speaker – presentation & questions answered on how this could work. A short film was forwarded to explain the basics Community Shares animation
  • Ideas for the first couple of years, if we get in! Archaeological digs? CSA? Heritage Orchard project? Glasshouse restoration? Arts and crafts? Nursery? Beekeeping?

Please get in touch if you are coming along, seating for 20, or send in any questions or ideas if you can’t make it.

Earlier this month seven of the ‘Action Group’ got together outside the walled garden for some serious discussions, following on from the recent positive meeting with developers EDI Ltd

Site meeting Aug 11th (1)

How to get steps up this steep slope & understanding where the castle used to be!

Many trees have covered the quarry site where Granton Castle stood until 1926, and the ground level is a lot lower than it used to be.

What we chatted about at this site visit:
  • Possible temporary access point to the walled garden back door, still in working order but at the top of a wooded embankment.
  • Access and horticultural use proposal, ‘Heads of terms’, is to be put forward to EDI on behalf of the Friends of Granton Castle Walled Garden.
  • We hope to begin work in earnest with the RCAHMS through ‘Scotland’s Urban Past’ by the end of October at the latest. Scotland’s Lost Gardens

Surveys of the listed walls & garden are needed urgently, before any clearance work and restoration could begin. Finally a Thankyou to Anne Hamilton of Lothian Life for publishing an awareness-raising article on our behalf. See Granton’s Secret Garden

Castle doocot with chimney and pump, gardeners bothy in Cockburn's time

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Sharing Granton’s secret Garden

You may have heard of Granton Castle Walled Garden, but still not know where it is: that it is kept locked up and no-one can enter, or that it is still at risk from a luxury housing development!

At the end of this month the Friends Group campaign to safeguard and restore the walled garden will reach a crucial point.

  • On the 29th of July council planners will make a final decision on the 2004 Waterfront Edinburgh Limited application; ‘minded to grant’ since 2004 for demolition of parts of the walled garden to make way for 17 townhouses.

Friends of Granton Castle Walled Garden hope planners decide to refuse the 2004 WEL application, instead allowing a chance of the listed garden’s restoration for community use.

Hundreds of local people have made their views known through petitions, representations and deputations to the city council, community councils and other organisations over the last year. Earlier this spring some of our group members recorded their reasons for getting involved & trying to Save our secret Garden! Click on the link below to view the 5 min film.

‘Save our Secret Garden’ Film – Friends Group members explain.

Historic Scotland visited the walled garden this spring and after reviewing the research compiled, concluded that it merits B-listing. Much older than previously thought, infact the oldest undeveloped walled garden in Edinburgh!

So what will happen if the council decide in favour of the historic garden being protected and restored at the end of this month?

  • Raising funds for a future community buyout was discussed at our last two Friends Group meetings.
  • Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill news is good for community groups like ours, interested in taking on the responsibility for a bit of our historic environment on the waterfront.

Community shares? – One idea to let local people own a bit of the walled garden and take part in planning and decisions on its future.

One share = one vote

Would you want to help raise funds & save the garden if we could buy it?

Buy a share in the garden at £10 per share?

Get in touch or come along to a Friends Group Meeting if you want to hear more, ask questions or get involved. Next meeting on ‘Ideas for the Garden’, mid-August date & venue to be confirmed.

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