Dreams of a ‘Heritage Gateway’ to the Waterfront in Granton

September was a busy month for the Friends Group preparing for a presentation to the owners of Granton Castle’s historic garden. We had a small gathering and press-release of the Friends Group plans on the 5th of October. Nourish Scotland tweet

Ideas proposed by local people to restore the B-listed walled garden were opened for discussion earlier this year, Survey Monkey Questionnaire. The results were really positive and comments constructive, so we began the design process with help from a local landscape architect taking on board everyone’s suggestions. We hope this could be the start of something very special; community management of a heritage asset to benefit people, the environment and the local economy. Living Landscapes


How the garden could look if restored and opened to community use – graphic design by Ellie Clarke

Our Friends Group has had great support and encouragement from owners EDI Group ltd and architects 7N in drawing together community ideas for the walled garden which could be incorporated into the new Masterplan for Granton’s shoreline. We hope to cherish and tend to this historic garden, sheltered, fertile and ideally suited to growing the best of old and new varieties in Scotland’s sometimes harsh climate.

The community plans (pictured below) were presented on the 5th of October to EDI’s senior management team: as an alternative to housing within Granton’s secret garden.

How the ideas could fit into the walled garden.

How the growing ideas could fit into the walled garden, regenerating the land for everyone to enjoy

Ways to join in this autumn.

  • Community Gardens. Although the walled garden is still closed there are some great community growing initiatives in North Edinburgh, with regular drop-in gardening days. Granton Community Gardeners and Pilton Community Gardeners.
  • Scotland’s Urban Past: 29th November, 1pm-4ish. A field archaeology training day with expert tuition from Historic Environment Scotland staff. Mapping the historic footprint of Granton’s Lost Castle, are there any traces?

Please get in touch if you would like to attend this training event, it is free but numbers are limited to 20. Last autumn we learned loads from the archaeologists about the ancient walls themselves, piecing together stories, historic maps and images. Any findings on the walled garden will be added to the digital National Record being compiled by HES. Granton Castle Record


How old are the walls of the old castle garden beside Caroline  Park House? 1500’s -1600’s with a minor extension ~ early 1900’s.

The Friends Group has had an offer of funding to help make the garden accessible again, with improvements to the footpath and cycletrack leading to the shore at Royston Beach. We wait eagerly to hear from the owners following our meeting on the 5th October. Will post news soon if an agreement can be reached, and when people can visit the garden!

Our next Friends Group meeting will be at the beginning of November when we hope to have news from the owners of the garden about its future. Please get in touch for more details if you would like to attend and haven’t before.

e-mail : grantoncastlegardengroup@gmail.com

Friends Group Plans for the walled garden will be displayed for comment in the Community Shop, 57 Pennywell Road, EH4 4TY from the start of November. Please let us know what you think of the ideas, or add more! 

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Community Plans for the Garden – almost 700 sign council petition!


Meeting with MSP Andy Wightman outside Granton’s ‘secret’ garden

The Friends Group were overjoyed by news that we have reached the target number of signatures needed for a hearing at the city chambers. Thankyou to everyone who signed and shared ‘Save Granton Castle Walled Garden’, we got to 694 in the end. Council Petition Page

What now?

On Thursday the 8th Sept three of our members will attend the Petitions Committee meeting at the city chambers: to plead the case for protection of the lost castle’s late-medieval walled garden from unnecessary development.

Dreams and Ideas for the garden’s restoration: raising awareness

Friends Group Draft Plans were drawn up to help developers understand our ideas, and show how the garden could be retained in the new Masterplan for Granton’s Waterfront.


Members have been busy over August with another article published ‘Last Days of Granton Castle’ in Scottish Local History, meetings with architects and developers to convey the community aspirations for regeneration of the historic garden. We feel its potential for health and wellbeing benefits are great, being ideally placed on the waterfront to form a green jewel in the network of openspaces and wildlife corridors essential to healthy living in North Edinburgh.


Hidden Gems of North Edinburgh health walk

A big thankyou to all the supporters and members working hard to safeguard a little piece of paradise and Scotland’s history for future generations to enjoy. Our draft plans for the gardens restoration and supporting documents are to be presented to the owners Waterfront Edinburgh Limited on the 5th October, as will repeated plans for housing… Waterfront Edinburgh Limited’s senior management team will then decide on the future use of the walled garden in their upcoming outline planning application.

Housing Development or Openspace?  Fertile land to grow food sustainably is incredibly rare on the waterfront’s industrialised area, making the historic environment of the B-listed walled garden even more precious. A great example of good land stewardship and regeneration of neglected greenspaces is being set locally by associate group Granton Community Gardeners. Social inclusion, civic pride, increased biodiversity, skillsharing and simple joy can be the outcomes of community growing, not just a bag of tatties.


Small copper butterfly on golden marjoram

Get in touch if you want to join the Friends Group, attend monthly meetings or even do a bit of gardening.

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Botanical inspiration and June meeting news

The newly opened and very beautiful Botanic cottage was the venue for our June Friends Group meeting. Thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of group members over past months many positive steps have been taken to raise awareness of Granton’s lost Castle Garden, and its potential if restored. Responses and comments on the Ideas Survey have brought up some good points to help focus our ‘action group’.

botanics cottage meeting 4 28th June

Meeting at Botanic Cottage

Plans for July include gathering signatures for the Edinburgh City Council Petition to safeguard the walled garden’s future, and make it accessible. You must be over 16 and resident in Edinburgh to take part.

Please sign and share if you agree, we need to gather 500 signatures by the 25th August to be heard at the city chambers.

Click on the council web-link below to read the petition Save Granton Castle Walled Garden

Gardening drop-in once a week at https://northedinburgharts.co.uk/  Our shared plot has been transformed over the last two years into a little haven for wildlife, plants and people.

Our plotNEAC plot June 2016

Mondays 1-2pm – join in designing, planting and maintaining a ‘mini forest garden’, combining the best of old and new varieties of fruits, flowers & herbs. From Snow White strawberries to medieval damsons & exotic honeyberries, there is something to whet the appetite and appeal to the senses at our wee plot.

Archaeology news & more to follow soon…., latest notes 19th May Friends Group Public Meeting approved


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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 – grantoncastlegardengroup@gmail.com

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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