The Water of Leith is formed by several burns of Midcalder parish that rise among the Pentlands at altitudes of 420 to 470m above sea-level. Thence it winds 38km north-east, through or along the borders of Midcalder, Kirknewton, Currie, Colinton, St Cuthbert’s, and North and South Leith. Eventually, it falls into the Firth of Forth between the heads of the E and W piers of Leith harbour.

Its chief tributary is Bavelaw Burn, flowing into it at Balerno; and its other tributaries are small but numerous, mostly from the Pentlands. Its volume varies, according to the weather, from the insignificance of a brook to the importance of a considerable river; and its velocity, over most of its course, in times of freshet, is impetuous.

Historically, its water-power, for the driving of corn, paper, and other mills, was said to be “economised by such a multitude of dams as to exceed the water-power of any other stream of its size”. There are a number of serious obstructions to fish migration.

However, the FDSFB holds very little data on the Water of Leith.

Fishing (non migratory) on the Water of Leith (The Water of Leith Conservation Trust) is managed by the Honorary Bailiffs on behalf of City of Edinburgh Council.

River Level Data provided by SEPA for the Water of Leith at Colinton and Water of Leith at Murrayfield

Contact Details

The Water of Leith Conservation Trust Website:

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